Head collars such as the Halti and the Gentle Leader are designed to fit around the dog’s muzzle.

This makes it easier for the handler to control the dog on walks, because the dog is not able to pull quite as hard.

These types of collars are often referred to as “head collars.”

When it comes to head collars, some dog owners use Gentle Leaders and some use Haltis. There are other brands, but these seem to be the most popular, at least around here. I am sold on the Halti (top two photos).

There are two things about the Halti that make it slightly more effective than the Gentle Leader (bottom photo):

The Halti has an extra strap leading from the nose to the neck. This keeps the other strap from pulling to the side or up into the dog’s eyes, which happens all the time with Ace and his Gentle Leader.

The Halti also has another strap that clips onto the dog’s collar. This is a good safety for really strong dogs or dogs that manage to wiggle their nose out. (See the first photo below.)

The Gentle Leader only attaches to the leash, but certain models of the Halti attach to the leash and the collar. Ace has never gotten his Gentle Leader off, but I’ve known other dogs that have. It would be nice to have that added attachment to the collar.

Black great dane wearing a dog Halti

In the first photo is Chelsea, modeling the Halti for us. Ace is reluctantly modeling the Gentle Leader in the bottom photo.

Besides the slight differences I mentioned, the Gentle Leader and the Halti are basically the same. I refer to both as head collars, and they serve the same purpose. They are tools to teach a dog not to pull, and they make it a lot easier to walk and control a dog if he does pull. Head collars fit over a dog’s muzzle like a halter on a horse and snap behind the ears.

Most dog owners could benefit from using a head collar with their dogs. People find them more humane than choke or pinch collars because they don’t tighten around a dog’s neck. If you’re not sure, you may be interested in my post on reasons not to buy a Halti.

I use all types of collars with Ace, but the head collars work well when I bike with my dog because he can’t pull me. Even with a pinch collar, he can easily pull if he tries. I also have him on a head collar when I take him to certain places where I have a harder time controlling him such as stores that allow dogs or public dog events.

The only problem with head collars is that untrained dogs will go right back to pulling when they’re on a normal collar. Of course, this is also true with choke collars. Many people have asked me if my dog can still open his mouth with a head collar on. Yes, he can. These are not muzzles. He can bite, pant, drink, eat, drool, you name it.

What kind of training collar do you use?

Black dog wearing a red Gentle Leader

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