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Transitioning from head halter to standard collar

4886 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Gnostic Dog
For the past couple months ive been using a head halter to aid in leash training my dog and the change has been night and day. Shes done great. I still have a bit to go but today i ran into a problem. I took her jogging and i dont like using the halter when we jog as it keeps her mouth slightly closed and i want her to be able to pant properly if need be. So i used her leash and standard collor and she immediately went back to night. She was pulling every which way, wasnt paying attention to me like she does with the halter on.

So my question is, when the time comes, how do i transition away from the head halter to help her maintain and transfer what she learned about leash etiquette. Thanks!

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The way Susan Garrett does it, is as follows (From her book, Shaping Success):

Criteria for Transition Stage 1

1. You have been walking your dog in many distracting environments for at least two months and used reinforcement and the head halter to shape the desired response of loose-leash walking.
2. In the last two weeks you have noticed your dog's behavior has been so perfect while walking, he rarely causes the leash to become tight. It is now time for the dog to learn to give you this good behavior on his usual flat collar.

Transition Stage 1
Take your dog to a low distraction environment to increase the probability for success. Rather than clipping your leash onto your dog's halter, clip it onto his flat collar, but keep the halter in place. As you walk allow the dog the choice to engage the leash on the flat collar. If he realizes his mistake and moves back beside you (to give you a loose leash), praise him - that was a good choice! If he doesn't move back on his own, say nothing. Resist the urge to say something to help him with words on encouragement. We want him to make the right choice on his own. If he still doesn't move back on his own, unclip the leash and attach it once again to the head halter to help guide him beside you. All behaviors have consequences. We are letting the dog know that if he choose correctly, the consequences will be pleasant. If the dog decides to seek reinforcement by pulling, the handler will put him back on the halter. If your dog engages the leash more than three times in one session, he is telling you it is too early to attempt the transition to walking on a flat collar. Continue to use your head halter until you see good choices more consistently from him.

Criteria for Transition Stage 2

1. You have been walking your dog in more distracting environments and have not needed to clip the leash back onto the head halter for two weeks.

Transition Stage 2
Take the head halter off the dog's head and clip it to the handle of your leash. You will continue training as you did in Stage 1, allowing the dog choices as you walk. Now if your dog does not choose correctly you will put the head halter on and clip the leash to it immediately and train as above. Keep your head halter attached to your leash for at least a year past the time you think you are done training. With it close by you will be able to deal swiftly with any distractions that may unexpectedly pop up.
Remember all behaviors have a consequence. We are teaching your dog that it is always more rewarding to walk calmly on a loose lead then it is to pull ahead or lunge at distractions. This is how to create a dog that is a joy to walk on leash around any distraction!
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I am curious if anyone has done what Susan Garrett suggests above and it worked?
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