If you’re a pet parent to a dog that pulls on the leash, a dog head halter may work for you and help you gain control while your dog is out for a walk. These are similar to a horse halter and fit by going over your dog’s nose and neck. They are very different from a muzzle that is used to prevent biting. This review will give you our top 6 picks for the best dog head halters in 2021 for positive dog training.
VCA adds that “Head halters are commonly used as an alternative to neck control collars and have many advantages. Firstly, they make control easier, requiring less physical effort, so you don’t end up battling with your pet or trying to save your shoulders from being pulled out of their sockets when going for a walk like you do when using a flat neck collar.” They also mention that the body follows where your dog’s nose goes when using a head halter.
They go on to explain that “ocular pressure (pressure within the eyes) may increase with pressure against a neck collar, which may prove a risk to dogs with glaucoma. Dogs that pull may also be at greater risk of becoming aggressive to strangers or dogs that they meet on walks if they are punished or choked each time they meet a new person or animal.”
VCA says that some head halters may also give you control over your dog’s mouth, which helps control barking and turn your dog’s head away from stimulus to reduce the risk of your dog biting. They recommend using a muzzle for aggression.
We’ve tested all the best dog head collars and halters and found the best ones on the market to help stop your dog from pulling. Continue down to read our reviews!
In a rush? Here are the Top 3 Picks!
PetSafe is a global brand in high-quality, durable pet products and works closely with pet professionals and pet owners to develop their products. They manufacture popular and innovative pet training and lifestyle products for pets and pet parents. One of their most popular products is this dog head halter.
Their products are sold worldwide and they are based in Knoxville, Tennessee. We like the PetSafe head collar because it painlessly and effectively prevents a dog’s natural tendency to pull. It does so by adding gentle pressure on calming points and eliminating uncomfortable pressure on the throat. Gentle Leader features no cheek straps to keep the muzzle loop positioned, yet it’s one of the best dog halters around.
- Over 7,000 positive reviews
- Priced affordably
- No-pull design
- Vet & trainer recommended
- Comfortable fit
- Easy to fit with adjustable nose loop and quick-snap neck strap
- A padded neoprene nose loop puts pressure on the back of the neck instead of your dog’s throat
- Five sizes & 8 colorways to choose from
- One-year chew damage replacement.
- It comes with a training DVD that shows you how to use this halter safely and effectively.
The GoodBoy dog head collar also features over 5,000 positive reviews. This collar is available in 5 colorways and four sizes. The GoodBoy head halter is crafted with soft neoprene and padded for optimal comfort for your pet.
There’s a one-year warranty for chew damage. This head halter for dogs should not be used as a muzzle but instead used to stop your fur baby from pulling on the leash during walks and other situations that require control. These dog halters should not be used on dogs with short noses and toy breeds like Boxers, Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas. A 2019 customer survey shows that 92% of customers would recommend GoodBoy pet products to a friend. Here’s why we like this dog head collar to prevent pulling:
- Priced well
- Five colors and four sizes
- Strong fabric with reinforced stitching
- Gives complete control when out walking
- Wide soft padding & lockable chin clip
- Crafted with quick-release buckles
- 1-year warranty that covers incorrect sizing and chew damage
With over 7,500 positive reviews, the Halti Head Halter for dogs is crafted from lightweight and strong nylon webbing. Halti Head Halters are manufactured by the Company of Animals and has been around for 40 years. Dr. Roger Mugford, a veterinarian psychologist, founded this brand in 1979.
The Halti head collar for dogs was one of the first head collars designed to prevent dogs from pulling out on a walk. When dogs use a head collar, dogs can still eat, drink, and pant efficiently.
We like this dog head halter because it’s easy to use as an effective training tool and features an excellent sizing chart making it super easy to choose the correct fit for your pup. It’s also very gentle, and its unique design works by gently steering the dog’s head in the direction needed.
- Approved by vets and canine experts worldwide
- Good sizing chart
- Priced well
- Crafted with high-quality nylon webbing
- Unique, patented design
- Cushioned neoprene padded noseband lining
- Most customizable halter for dogs with thicker straps & several sizes for all dog breeds
- Easy to fit
The Canny is one of the best nose harnesses for dogs that is available in 7 sizes and four colorways. The Canny Collar is a gentle dog collar, not a restraining collar, ensuring that your dog can open his mouth and breathe naturally during his walking training.
The Canny Company is a team of dog experts and behaviorists that crafted the Canny Collar. This works by using a ‘pressure and release system. When your dog pulls, he will feel pressure on the bridge of his nose, and when he ceases to pull, there is no pressure.
We like this dog halter because it fastens behind the head rather than under the chin, which results in no yanking your dog’s head to one side or riding up into his eyes. The Canny Collar is a dog training collar rather than a restraining dog collar.
This dog nose harness can be quickly and easily switched into a regular dog collar and leash by alternately flicking the slip line on and off your dog’s nose. When you do this, you’re able to use the collar like a ‘dog training leash,’ eventually training your dog to walk on a conventional flat collar. Here’s the take on this excellent dog halter.
- Seven sizes & four colorways
- Easy to use
- Caribiner clips
- Crafted with a nickel-plated steel buckle and pin fitting for greater security
- It sits higher than a regular collar
- High-quality nylon webbing
- Over 2000 positive reviews
Kurgo is a well-known pet brand located on the new England Coast. They craft innovative, high-quality dog products that pet parents can’t do without. The Kurgo Walk About Head Halter is another excellent training tool for dogs that uses gentle control over their movements. It also stops excessive leash pulling and other unwanted behaviors like lunging, snapping, and barking safely and without inflicting pain.
- Crafted with a printed grosgrain and reflective ribbon
- UTX quick-release buckles for easy and quick use.
- Flexible with a custom fit
- Wide, soft straps that are adjustable and comfortable for daily use
- Easy to use
- 3 colorways
- Lifetime warranty
The Pawaboo gentle leader also allows for stress-free movement and is designed to let your fur baby pant, eat, drink and play anytime. This is an easy-to-wear adjustable halter. There are two sizes (S/M) offered and three colorways.
The Pawaboo head halter is also crafted with neoprene padding for optimal comfort and features a D-ring to attach your leash. We like this head collar because it allows your pup to do anything he usually would like pant, drink, and eat, but when out for a walk, you’ll be able to control him with less physical effort.
- Durable nylon with neoprene padding
- Priced well
- Adjustable and easy to use
- Good sizing chart
- Over 1,600 positive ratings
How Do Dog Head Halters Work?
While head halters also help train against unwanted behaviors like lunging, excessive barking, and jumping, you should use positive training methods to teach your dog to walk correctly on a leash. This is key to ensuring your dog’s safety.
Dog head halters are an excellent training aid for dogs that pull. They’re best used as a training tool to help your pup learn how to walk correctly on a leash. It may take a while for your fur baby to get used to wearing a head halter, so it’s essential to ensure that the head halter is always comfortable and a good fit. It should also always be used correctly and painlessly. You should try to work with a positive dog trainer at first until you get the hang of things to ensure 100% success during training.
Here’s how head halters for dogs work:
- They apply pressure behind the neck and around the muzzle to get the dog to offer the desired response
- When you get the desired response, the tension is released, and you can give your dog a treat, a positive reward so that he’ll keep repeating the required behavior.
- After this, you can start using verbal cues and visit varied environments.
- All in all, your pup will soon respond to a gentle pull and move in the required direction.
- The soft continuous pull is better than a jerk.
- You can use the head halter also to teach your dog to sit during a meet and greet with other dogs or at home to train with positive training methods when guests arrive.
Dog head halters allow for more control over your dog and where he is going. These are beneficial training tools but need to be used correctly. You can ask your veterinarian or your positive dog trainer for tips on how best to use a dog halter. Keep in mind that constant pulling may result in injuries or permanent harm to your dog’s neck if he’s wearing a collar. This could include damage to the thyroid and trachea.
Clicker Training with A Head Halter
Clicker training is today’s positive method of dog training and should be the only method used. Professional dog trainers have promoted the use of the clicker for dog training. Clicking is very similar to how praise works, yet instead of using verbal praise, you get to use the clicker and a treat.
Many dog trainers will use a clicker when using a dog nose harness. When the dog starts to pull, they will use the clicker to get them not to pull. This is one method that could be useful to get your dog to stop pulling the leash.
Benefits of Positive Dog Training
Harnessing your puppy or adult dog’s inattentive behavior and channeling his energy into specific training goals will result in a puppy that’s fun to have at home and on walks.
Positive training with the clicker enables you to get your furry best friend to perform the desired behaviors while rewarding him with treats, food, and toys in return. It means never using physical or verbal punishment on your dogs and not forcing them to perform a particular behavior through force.
Training your dogs should never be stressful. Instead, it should be fun and inspiring for both you and your dog. The benefits of positive training are enormous. Positive training not only strengthens your bond with your furry best friend but also teaches you empathy, patience, and compassion.
Puppy Training with The Clicker
Attempt to focus on one specific training technique at a time. Stop your clicker training session when you see your puppy is getting impatient or perhaps bored. Many positive trainers like shorter training periods with younger dogs.
Always reward your furry best friend with a click and treat and plenty of praise for good behavior. Unlike humans, who don’t need plenty of constant reinforcement, dogs rely on that immediate reward, most especially puppies.
Walking on the Leash with a Head Collar
Leash pulling is one of the most annoying habits. It can easily be fixed with clicker training.
When your dog is on a lead before going out for a walk, make him stand calmly.
As soon as there’s slack in the lead and your pup looks at you, click and reward immediately.
- Begin your walk, repeat the process as soon as there’s tension in the lead; stop, and do not move until the lead is slack. Click and reward.
- Repeat this for 3-5 minutes. Reward and play with your dog. Commence with the training again, but this time with the treats in your pocket. Click as soon as there’s slack in the lead.
- Lead training does not happen overnight, but with consistency in clicker training, your dog will quickly figure out how to get more treats!
To practice, move the treat forwards away from your dog and then down. In this way, your furry best friend will follow the treat with his nose and eyes. As he starts to lie down, give him the command “Down.” Click and reward and praise him immediately. However, if he refuses to lie down, gently lift his front legs into a begging position and then gently lower it down, rewarding your dog for his trying.
While you’re still gently holding the collar, continue moving his food treat forward and down until your dog is lying down completely on the ground. Click and reward with the treat and praise. Don’t praise yourself too much, or your dog will become way too excited and start jumping up on you. Add in the word “down” once you’re sure that your dog is going to lie down.
Paying Attention to Your Dog
Research demonstrates insights into the rich cognitive and complex emotional lives of dogs. Brian Call from the Duke Canine Cognition Center showed how dogs ate less food during an experiment when the experimenter was paying close attention.
Another study from Clever Dog Lab demonstrates that dogs will obey commands faster when the trainer faces them and insight. The study also shows how furry best friends can tell the difference between intentional communication like pointing to food versus accidental pointing and pointing to your watch. We understand that dogs have a strong attachment to humans and pay close attention to us, which means that by exploring your dog’s unique temperament and quirks, you can tailor positive dog training to his needs.
Vetstreet explains that head halters are not suitable for every dog or situation. They add that “Not every dog is a candidate for a head halter, but the devices are valuable in certain training situations.
Dogs with aggression issues are one example where head halters may be recommended. Owners with limited physical ability walking a hard-to-control dog can also better direct the dog with a head halter than with other walking tools.”
Fixing Behaviors by Reinforcing Good Ones
Positive training is easy on dogs; not only does it increase their love of learning, but it gives our pups a better quality of life. They’re not only happier dogs but understand what behaviors you want from them.
Positively trained dogs that are not punished will give you the desired behavior or response so that they can elicit a positive response from you.
Training Your Dog
When preparing your fur baby, you’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll get the desired behavior in a shorter amount of time when using positive teaching methods than punishment. Here’s a simple breakdown of positive training:
- Ignore bad behavior
- Break down the desired behavior into small steps
- Watch your timing
- Be sure to know exactly what behaviors you want from your pup
- Always stop destructive behaviors before they become a habit
- Never punish your dog for anything so that your dog can offer behaviors without fear of punishment.
- Positive training should always be fun for both you and your pup.
Walking Your Dog
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) adds, “Walking helps preserve your pet’s muscle tone and joint movement. If your pet is overweight or obese, walking can be a great way to shed those extra pounds.”
We also know that walking provides tons of mental stimulation and that your pup can make neighborhood friends when out on walks. The key to a safe and enjoyable dog walk is having control over your dog.
Conclusion for Best Dog Head Halters
Whether you’re traveling or just going out for a neighborhood stroll, a dog head halter will help you get the desired response with only a gentle pull. You should always encourage and reward your dog while training to help him succeed. This is done with a calm voice and a reward that can be with a clicker, food, praise, or toy. This will help to mark the correct behavior/response so that future success is driven by rewards.
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Claudia Bensimoun is a writer who specializes in dog content and veterinary topics! Aside from writing for We Love Doodles, Claudia also writes for other major dog blogs like Fido Friendly, Animal Wellness Magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA). She has a ghostwritten over 50 different dog e-books. Her passions include animal welfare, veterinary research, and wildlife conservation.
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