Gentle Leader vs. Halti

Head collars for dogs such as the Halti and the Gentle Leader are designed to fit around the dog’s muzzle and close behind their ears.

Both the Halti and the Gentle Leader make it easier for the handler to manage the dog on walks by controlling the dog’s head. As a result, the dog is not able to pull quite as hard. They also prevent chocking and gagging.

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 in the US. I am sold on the Halti.

What is a Halti?

There are two things about the Halti head collar that make it slightly more effective than the Gentle Leader:

1. 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.

Dog wearing a Halti head collar
Chelsey modeling an older model of the Halti

2. The Halti also has another strap that clips onto the dog’s collar.

Newer Haltis feature the additional strap/loop that connects the Halti and the regular dog collar. This is a good safety for really strong dogs or dogs that manage to wiggle their nose out.

With this strap, you don’t loose control of your dog if the Halti comes undone for whatever reason. Your leash will still be connected to the regular collar.

GSP Whiskey wearing a Halti head collar with a safety strap

Pros & cons of the Halti


  • Thick neoprene padded noseband adds comfort
  • Safety loop for extra safe walks
  • Looser fit than the Gentle Leader


  • Harder to get dogs used to than the Gentle Leader
  • Pricing depends on sizing

The Halti is generally available in a vast variety of sizes ranging from size 0 to size 5, which makes it a great option for tiny dogs as well as giant ones.

However, the price of the Halti depends on the size, and ranges from $6 for the smallest one to $20 for the largest.

What is a Gentle Leader?

Unlike certain newer models of the Halti, the Gentle Leader only attaches to the leash, but not to the leash AND the dog’s regular 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.

Pros & cons of the Gentle Leader


  • Easier to put on than a Halti


  • Either no or very thinly padded noseband that can cause chafing
  • Feels more flimsy because it’s less complex than the Halti
  • No safety strap

Gentle leaders are available in 5 different sizes, which make them great for tiny dogs under 5 lb all the way up to giant pups of 130+ lb. Unlike with the Halti, the price is always the same around $16 and does not depend on the different sizes.

My dog wearing a Gentle Leader
Ace modeling the Gentle Leader

Halti vs Gentle Leader – the main differences

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. They’re also a good fit for reactive dogs who lunge and they make it easy to walk several dogs together.

Head collars fit over a dog’s muzzle like a halter on a horse and snap behind the ears.

Most dog owners can 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.

General downsides of head collars

The main 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 other training collars such as choke collars.

Some dogs take longer to accept a head collar than others and will put up a real fight when you’re trying to put it on them. That’s why patience is key when you’re getting them used to it. Use smelly, high-value treats when you first introduce the collar!

Remember that it’s a brand-new sensation for them because they typically don’t wear anything around their nose. Yummy treats will make them more willing to work with you. And I mean YUMMY, not boring milk bone treats. Try something like cut up hot dog, cheese, anything fishy or with green tripe!

Be aware of the fact that head collars are not a good fit for brachycephalic dogs. Those are dogs with shortened nasal passages i.e. muzzles like Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.

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, although many people mistake them for muzzles. He can bite, pant, drink, eat, drool, you name it.

If you don’t feel like repeatedly explaining what your dog is wearing around his head and that NO, it’s not a muzzle, a head collar may not be the right choice for you.

Other training collar options

Instead, you may be interested in using some of the following options when training your dog to stop pulling and/or lunging on the leash.

Tip: Please make sure that you understand how to properly use each of these collars as they can cause injuries to the dog’s throat area when not used correctly! You can ask a professional dog trainer, watch a good, instructional YouTube video, or ask me in the comment section below this article.

Martingale Collar aka No-Slip Collar

The Martingale collar consists of two loops. The larger one goes over the dog’s neck, and the smaller one is what the leash gets attached to. They fit loosely around the dog’s neck and tighten slightly when the dog pulls.

They’re great for escape artists because dogs can’t get out of them. However, they’re only a good option for moderate pullers.

Martingale collar

Slip Collar aka Choke Collar

Slip collars slip over the dog’s head, just like the name suggests. They’re also known as choke collars because they cause the dog to choke when he pulls.

They come in a variety of materials such as rope, nylon, metal, and leather.

Just like the Martingale collars, they’re escape proof.

Slip collar

Prong Collar aka Pinch Collar

The prong collar is designed similarly to the martingale collar as it consists of two loops. The main difference is that the prong collar’s loops are made of metal, and the large loop consists of metal prongs.

The leash attaches to the smaller loop. When it’s pulled for correction purposes, the prongs tighten around the dog’s neck and cause an unpleasant sensation.

Prong co
Prong collar
Feist mix Wally wearing a properly fitted Prong collar

E-Collar aka Shock Collar

E-collars are wireless electric training collars with a wide range of training intensity. They consist of a collar with a wireless transmitter and a remote that controls the collar. They’re used to teach dogs negative associations with undesired behavior.

For example, if the dog doesn’t listen to a command or acts up, he gets a correction with the e-collar.

These types of collars are mostly used to teach polite off-leash skills.

E-collar to stop counter surfing
E-collar and remote

What kind of training collar do you use?

Let us know in the comments!

Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.

Barbara Rivers contributed to this article. She writes regularly for That Mutt and is a blogger, raw feeder and dog walker. She maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.

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Related posts:

How to stop my dog from pulling

No pull harness vs. Gentle Leader

Why I use a head collar for dogs – Halti or Gentle Leader

74 thoughts on “Gentle Leader vs. Halti”

  1. I don’t use a training collar with Keeda as she seems to heel fine for me, but my mom uses a head collar as Keeda continuously pulls when she takes her out. I’m not sure what brand she uses, it looks more like the one in your top photo I think.

    Great post, I didn’t know much about head collars before!

    Liza S.s last blog post..If You Wrote a Book About Your Life…

  2. Call me a softie, but I don’t like these types of collars at all. In fact, my new addition came with a choke collar and I replaced it with a harness. Guess what, he responds so much better. He’s great at not pulling at all, but that may be part of his breed.

    Apryl DeLanceys last blog post..Are Donkeys Flying?

  3. Chelsea originally had a gentle leader but I wouldnt go back to it at all. She has 3 now (size 3, 4, 5). The 3 fits her perfectly at 10months (but its under the car-seat but she also wears her 4 though not as comfortably.

    If it is in anyway loose she will try and rub it off, it irrates her big time. It needs to fit snuggly… though its worn more loosely on her throat & nose than the gentle leader.

    Either Halti or Gentle leader, tend to make me lazy training wise… Why bother with all that heeling with a flat collar when I can just throw the halti on…

    If I need to guarantee her behaviour, I always reach for the Halti, work, crowds…

    So I know the pup will be getting used to a Halti when her time comes

    Abz & Chelss last blog post..Our Puppy

  4. We use the gentle leader (we call it the guidance counselor…for some reason)on days when Jake is pretty worked up and wreckless. Most days my husband walks him with out and he is pretty manageable. I prefer to use it because it gives little ol me more control.
    We haven’t had much problems with the gentle leader- he’s excited to put it on because he know something cool is going to happen. He just rubs his nose/face on the ground after we take it off.

  5. I have gentle leaders for Brutus and Rufus and they are amazing. Both dogs are calm and completely under control with them on. I have never tried the halti but wouldnt mind giving it a shot. As far as a harness… oh no not for me! Lets not forget what harnesses are designed for… pulling things and I certainly don’t want a pair of thundering saint bernards pulling me through the neighborhood

    Saint Lovers last blog post..Man Saves Dog from Shark

  6. I don’t like the haltis or gentle leaders. I see them as ‘band aids’ that cover up bad behavior but don’t teach proper behavior.

    Used properly it is my opinion that the pinch collar is much more humane than the halti.

    1. Perhaps you don’t fully understand the difference between them to say that a pinch or choke collar is more humane. I have tried a choke chain with my wonderful dog and it only works when right up under her chin, when she give appropriate behaviour it slides down and then the next time she tries to pull it becomes like a harness which makes her want to pull more, and was choking her but she didn’t seem to want to stop pulling. It resulted in both of us sweaty and frustrated.

      I recently tried a HALTI and the difference in our walks is amazing. Abby (my 105 lb black lab) figured out quickly that pulling ahead means her nose gets guided down towards the ground and there’s no benefit for her so she started to watch me and walk beside me. She still had plenty of room to open her mouth etc. Her tail was high and wagging constantly. We both had a lovely time! I hardly feel that’s less humane.

  7. Lindsay Stordahl

    Ty, I totally agree with you about Haltis and Gentle Leaders being Band Aids. In a way, it is lazy for owners to use them. Dogs are not learning anything from them. On the other hand, because of these collars, dogs get walked more, they get to go to new places, etc.

    I don’t think any of these collars are inhumane as long as they are used properly.

    What dogs do learn is not to pull while wearing their Gentle Leaders/Haltis. Most of them still pull on a normal collar. That’s why I use a variety of collars for my dog, including the pinch collar and a regular, flat collar.

    1. Why would you call it a band aid. If they practice a behaviour long enough they learn. I use haltis and gentle leaders and swear by them. My dogs walk to heel off and on them. Its a great my to start a pup. You can correct an undersiable behaviour as soon as it happens and as for humane if you tap and release it just like a dog would do to another dog.

  8. I am considering a head color because although I am training my Dane daily, she still continues to lurch foward at times. Five months ago when she was 14 months old, after leaving the vet, we were walking along and when she got close to the car lurched forward without warning and down I went face first onto the concrete. Needless to say I broke my upper jaw and teeth, injured my knees and sprained my wrist. I have trained 4 danes before her with great success but she is young an full of energy and very difficult still to walk. She needs to go on walks so if you had to choose either the Halti or the Gentle leader in order to accomplish a walk safely which one would you choose?

  9. Lindsay Stordahl

    Mary, both collars work very well for controlling a big dog. I think the Halti is slightly better, which you can read about in this post.

  10. Interesting but slightly offensive comments on lazy owners using head leads.

    Here’s my take. My number one priority with my golden retriever and shepherd mix is are they eating healthily and are they getting enough exercise?

    I use a head collar on my golden retriever because despite hours and days of training… if he sees a squirrel he is off and I am trying to stay on my feet if I’m lucky. My shepherd likes squirrels but is able to give up her addiction for my sanity.

    This was getting monumentally frustrating for me day after day on our hour long plus walks and hikes. The head collar means that we both have a good time… not to mention it’s so much safer for me. So I say, exercise first. training a squirrel lover to ignore squirrels is just not realistic for me. even if that makes me lazy, at least my dogs are happy and well behaved at home.

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hi Ashley, thanks for your comment.

    I use a head collar for the same reason you do. My dog walks nicely on the Gentle Leader and I use it when I know we are going somewhere where he will be more excited than usual. He gets to go along more often because of it.

    On the other hand, he is not really learning anything from the collar other than not to pull with it on. That’s why I also use a prong collar during training.

    1. But isn’t using the prong collar doing the same thing? Using your own words: “He is not really learning anything from the collar other than not to pull with it on”.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Well, really, they’re all just training collars that prevent the pulling while they’re on. I find that it’s easier to transition from a choke or prong collar to a regular collar because it feels similar from the dog’s point of view. If the dog learns not to pull with the prong or choke collar, it’s easier to train them not to pull on a regular collar. All dogs are different though and so much depends on the person’s ability to train that individual dog and consistency, lots of time and patience.

  12. I use a gentle leader with my St. Bernard if I feel I’m going to encounter people. We got her at a year old, wasn’t socialized to people and she is skittish to say the least. She will lunge and cause quite a commotion without it and frankly, I don’t have the strength to hold her back or make the innocent bystander feel secure. She has to get a lot of exercise and I just can’t take the chance that she will break loose and hurt someone. I don’t think she will but I can’t be sure.

    And before anyone suggests I’m lazy, I spend a huge amount of time, energy and money on her quirks, training and grooming. Probably at least 10-15 hours a week. It’s paying off but the collar is a huge help. Also, she does walk better now with just a regular collar. She doesn’t pull. Only if someone approaches her.

  13. I use a gentle leader currently, but I might switch to a halti.

    I can’t for the life of me understand how people can say that choke and pinch collars are more humane. They are absolutely not! They work by hurting the animal or restricting airflow.

    And no, head halters are not band-aids. In fact they give you the control you need to show your dog that pulling won’t get him anywhere. No need to hurt him/pinch him/ choke him, just stop walking when he pulls. A dog who learns to walk on them can eventually be switched to a normal collar.

    I have used the harness to train my dog to walk perfectly almost all the time now, but he will still sometimes lunge at bunnies or pigeons. Since he is 90 lbs of muscle, I will have him on the halter until he is perfect on the leash.

  14. Lindsay Stordahl

    It’s a matter of preference and what works best for you and your dog. When any collar is used properly, it’s going to work. That’s why I recommend a pinch collar but also a Halti. A pinch collar does not hurt a dog when it is used properly – if it is restricting airflow then it is not being used properly! Even a head collar can hurt a dog if it is not used the right way.

  15. i agree with those that say head collars can be fantastic for large dogs. as a disabled person with a saint bernard, i must have something that will allow me to walk with her and does not allow her to pull me. i would never use a choke or prong collar on a dog…talk about cruel. i’m not a lazy owner. i work with her on a daily basis, and she will be stating her companion dog training soon. but she is a very large dog, and just a year old, so her self control is not completely developed. i’ve been using the gentle leader, but since she’s outgrown her last one, i think i may try the halti since it looks like it will fit her head shape better.

  16. Lindsay Stordahl

    Choke and prong collars are not cruel if used properly. Even a Halti or Gentle Leader can be cruel if not used in the right way. Each tool works well for certain dogs.

    That’s great that the Gentle Leader works for you and your dog. I hope you’ll give the Halti a try. I think you’ll like it.

  17. I have had big dogs my whole life and have never needed any kind of head collar. Even when i was 10 walking my Great Dane came easy, i do believe that head harnesses are a lazy way of train and are just a band aid. But my mom had gotten a high energy Boxer mix about 3 years ago and has yet to settle down. i had bought a Gentle Leader. Our boxer fights it every time it is harder to walk her with it than with out it. you may not be able to train a dog to ignore a squirrel but you can train it not to chase it. When it comes to bigger breeds you have to get control of them early because as they get bigger they don’t want to realize hoe big they really are and are not aware of their own strength. I currently find it easier to train a bigger dog than a smaller to medium dog. Bigger dogs tend to want to listen and spend time with you. choke a prong i would have to agree are not cruel if used properly. I use a choke on my mom’s dog she has adjusted just fine and listen well. all the posts were helpful as well as the blog post.

    Thank you

  18. Lindsay Stordahl

    I’ve had an easier time training bigger dogs too. In general they are more “eager to please,” and it even helps that they are closer to eye level. That makes them easier to control, and it’s harder for them to get distracted.

  19. I have two dogs both Great Dane mixes. Scooby was not good walking on leash when I got him (he was maybe 6 years old). I took him to a 6 week training class which helped but it was our daily walks and repetitive commands and corrections and the fact that he is also part German Shepherd so he likes to work (I used a nylon choke collar)! Scooby picked up heeling two weeks of daily walks after the 6 wks of basic dog obedience. I got my second dog Layla in May (a year after I got Scooby). She’s 2.5 years old, was a rescue dog that had been kept outside, and also did not walk well on leash. I’ve tried to train her with the nylon choke collar and the all metal choke but those constantly slip down (although if they stay up they seem to work) and even with daily walks over three/four months and commands and treats- she’s just not getting it or just too stubborn. I don’t even want to try the pinch collar. I’m considering the Halti b/c I’m not sure what else to try. I can say though that it’s not laziness on my part b/c I love walking and training my dogs as much as they love “working” but my opinion is that certain things work with certain dogs and might not work with others so I’ll keep trying till I find what works. When I first got Layla, she practically attacked me trying to get her dog food bowl. She picked up “feed-time sit and wait” in two days (four feedings) so she can learn!

  20. Lindsay Stordahl

    The Halti could probably work good for your dog. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I also like the prong collar because unlike the choke collar, it won’t slip down too far on the dog’s neck. My dog actually prefers the prong collar to his Gentle Leader!

  21. I have a very high energy boxer who just turned a year last December. I also have an almost two year old daughter. After training classes and hours of training each week, he’s still difficult to control on walks. His behavior at home is perfect, and he’ll listen to most commands out of doors, but if there’s a dog off leash, forget it! I just purchased a head collar today (mine’s a Gentle Leader), and was very impressed. Even walking at my daughter’s pace (she held the end of the leash while I held the middle), he never pulled. That was remarkable for us. I think we’ll use the flat leash on occasion, too, with the hope that we’ll be able to drop the Gentle Leader in the future.

  22. Lindsay Stordahl

    It’s always good to find the right tool to control the dog because if he’s under control you’ll be more likely to keep working with him and walking him. No one wants to walk a dog that’s pulling the whole time.

  23. This is a great post!! I recently rescued a med/large dog that had been stray for quite some time. I am working on training, but I do walk her A LOT (she’s not reliable in the yard, even with a 6ft fence), and am just getting her use to the halti. So far so good, she doesn’t love it but is accepting it well now. I walk her with 2 leashes, one on a flat collar and one on the halti, with slightly less tension on the halti line. Eventually I want to get down to 1 leash, but for now the 2 leash system is working well. I’m glad I found your blog, I’ll bookmark it and visit again! 🙂

  24. Thanks for all the information & comments! Very interesting discussion.

    I do have to add though, that I have the gentle leader for my pit bull/greyhound mix, but only if we go out where there will be lots of other dogs. She HAS to go see & say hi to other dogs, and makes an @$$ out of both of us! *rolling eyes* She walks very well on a regular leash & collar, but seems to act a fool when we’re out where there’s lots of other dogs & people.

    The thing is, with the gentle leader.. I do think it rubs & irritates a little much on her. Gets a little too close to the eyes too. I’m going to ditch the gentle leader, and go buy a Halti. I’m hoping that will fit much better on her, and not rub up by the eyes. I do think the Halti will fit better & not irritate like the gentle leader, but haven’t bought the Halti yet. It just makes sense since the design seems better thought out, than the simple ‘figure 8’ of the gentle leader.

  25. Pingback: THAT MUTT: A Dog Blog » My dog is afraid of fireworks

  26. I have a 135 pound Great Dane. We use the Halti collar and she walks like a dream, light on the leash and if something distracts her, a very gentle nudge on the leash puts her face forward and off we go again.

    Ever wonder why horse trainers use head leads on these huge 1,000 pound animals? Imagine trying to train a horse with a choke collar or a body harness. What you are basically doing is bullying them into submission with a choke collar and building your own upper body strength with the body harness. Same for dogs, especially big ones. Under 40 pound dogs are a whole different story for walking, but I would still buy a Halti for any dog.

    Do you want to go for a walk with your four legged friend or do you want to parade and over power your livestock to show off your authority to neighbors?

    Me? I’d rather go for a walk with my pal.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Haltis do work really well for controlling a large dog. For a dane, I would also prefer the Halti over a prong collar. For my lab mix, I use all kinds of collars. Sometimes his regular flat collar, sometimes a choke, sometimes a prong, sometimes his Gentle Leader. It really depends on the situation.

  27. I have a 1 year old golden retriever who is VERY distracted by just about everything. I tried all different methods of training too, from the gentle training techniques, to the old fashion Koehler Method. The last being one that I feel is a very disciplined method, and never had a dog not respond to it, until now. I tried a choker collar, prong collar, harness, gentle leader and halti to get my dog to not pull. I feel the Halti is best AND the safest of ALL. I did not like the gentle leader because it had to fit so snug right behind the dogs ears and under the neck and that, after awhile, might do some damage to a dog. Also, I did not care for the style and flimsiness of it, and like people have siad, it rides up right under the dogs eyes. The Halti is the best of all, if you have a dog that pulls. That is MY opinion!

  28. Lindsay Stordahl

    I agree, the Halti is a very good choice for a lot of dogs. Some dogs will pull and pull and pull no matter what and will injure their necks on a prong collar. The Gentle Leader is not quite as good as the Halti. I definitely prefer the Halti.

  29. Jenifer Morrell

    Wow, isn’t it amazing that this has been a two year discussion? Obviously, you hit a tender spot, Lindsey!

    My 19 month old Dane, Ky, is leash aggressive/reactive. It has been determined that the prong collar I’ve been using now (under trainer’s advice) is actually making him worse, as he associates the prong correction with the dog he is reacting to. So, I’m looking at a head harness. My goal is to now train with someone that understands Ky’s issues so that I can enjoy walks again with him. It’s going to be a long road, I’m afraid.

    Thanks for your blog post. It helped me understand head halters better.

  30. I own a 6 yr old male lab who weighs only 25 pounds more than me. He is a fully trained in every area amazing dog.
    The Halti is not a band-aid. For me to walk him it is vital. It took him 3 weeks to get used to it. He was used to being in control on the walk. There are some of you who think using the Halti or Gentle Leader is cruel. I’m happy for you that you have dogs that can walk without them. But, for those of us who need to use them they are heaven sent.
    We take much longer, more relaxed walks when we use it. My children can also walk him. I love my Halti, so try one:)

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      My favorite thing about using a Gentle Leader or Halti is that the walk is more relaxed. I totally understand what you mean. I do see it as a Band Aid, especially if the dog can only walk nicely with the head collar. It’s not a bad thing to use a head collar all the time if you don’t mind. Lots of dog owners do this. My goal is always to get my dog to improve his leash manners and to be able to walk nicely in all situations without a training collar or even without a leash at all. Of course, this will always be a goal. No dog is totally perfect all the time.

  31. I have a saint bernard that was 150lbs. I am only 5’5 and 120 lbs and she knows that she has an advantage over me. I had surgery only a month after I got her as a puppy so training never really happened. When I try to walk her, she pulls at everything. She does not understand the concept that she can walk to the item instead of running. She cannot go far because of hip dysplasia, but still needs exercise. She will see anything and take off running. I try to correct her with a choke chain at first because I’ve always used a choke chain on my great danes and they walk fantastic, however, I never know what she is going to go after. It could be a blowing leaf, a plastic bag, a garden gnome, another dog, or a person. She isn’t aggressive, she just wants to smell the other dog or have people pet her, but when someone sees her running towards them they get scared and the dog she is running towards can get aggressive towards her. I have learned where dogs are in my neighborhood and walk her the same route so I know where to avoid. However, if someone else is walking their dog or is out in their front yard, I am in trouble. I have tried a harness, a choke chain, walking her with both, having my dad help me since when she pulls, I go with her if I cannot get my feet planted. Usually I have to find something to grab onto to make her stop like a stop sign or a car. I just started using the gentle leader and I was able to walk by a dog across the street. I have tried all that I can, so I do not think that it is a band-aid for walking. I just cannot afford to scare people and other dogs when she is coming at them, even though she is very sweet, you cannot tell that from a 150lbs saint bernard running at you, dragging their owner behind.

  32. Hi, I have a new pup Roxy – 6 month old rescue dog (German Shepherd. short haired pointer, beagle and schnauzer mix…) who is very difficult to walk because of pulling & scenting. We tried a basic collar, a nylon harness (gave her rash), a padded harness and she still pulls and pulls. Someone suggested a gentle leader and we tried it just yesterday. Wow, what a difference! It appears to be working although I am starting to feel her pull more and more on each walk. Also, I have read and re-read the fitting instructions (tight collar high behind ears, looser nose piece…) and the issue Roxy paws and paws while in mid-stride walking and then the nose piece covers her eyes. I hear about dogs pulling them off the nose, but not the other way around. Am I doing something wrong?? Thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You should try the Halti. It won’t pull over her eyes because it’s designed better. It also has the extra clip that hooks onto her collar just in case it slips off her nose.

  33. Tracey Quinnell

    hi all. I have read all your posts and think you all have a world of knowledge about dogs. I have a 5 month old labrador, who is proving to be a little difficult with odd behaviours. I have undertaken training her and even paid for 3 sessions of obedience training but so far this has not helped. I have two Autistic boys, aged 4 & 5. Our lab continues to maul our 5 year old. I can see that she must be thinking he is somehow under her in the pecking order. She will jump on his back, she leaps at him at any given chance. He’s terrified of her. She does not do this to anybody else and is responding well to training. But she contines to attack my son, she also mouths him, he is so scared. A friend has suggested I use a halti leader and have my son lead her around and that this will teach her that he is dominant over her. Does anyone have any ideas on this? one obedience trainer suggested I tether her when my son is in the backyard with her. I do not think this is ideal. does anybody have advice for us?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Keep the dog leashed at all times around your sons. Reinforce a down-stay on a dog bed or mat in the same room as your son. If she gets up, put her right back. She will probably get up five, ten, maybe even 20 times. Put her right back and repeat -STAY! Tether her to a table or banister if you have to. Absolutely no roughhousing at all should be allowed. I wouldn’t even allow her to act excited around your boys. No running, jumping or any of that. Her behavior is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately or you are going to have a very serious issue. I highly suggest you find a trainer in your area who is willing to come to your home and offer some tips. And make sure your lab is getting enough exercise. I highly doubt she’s getting half the exercise she needs. Take her for at least an hour walk every day, preferably an hour of running or more. I’m sure she has a lot of pent-up, puppy energy and just wants to play. So make sure her needs are met and work on teaching her some self control.

      Also teach your son not to squeal and run away from the dog – this will encourage the dog to chase, jump and act excited. Once your dog has some better obedience skills, you should help teach your sons how to tell her to lie down and stay on her bed. Reinforce the good behavior by giving her treats while she is staying.

  34. Hi
    Thanks for all the information. I have 3 dogs, 2 small and 1 shepherd mix (maybe rotti in him). He is a rescue and only had him 5 weeks. He is not used to socialising with other dogs & very unpredictable. I bought a gentle leader & he walks well with it. If other dogs approach him will he feel more threatened as his snout is not in his control? Do dogs feel at a disadvantage having a gentle leader on? Not sure if I should let him socialise with it on (and be in a safer position) or if this would cause him stress?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Some dogs do feel insecure with the Gentle Leader on and will try to get it off when they see other dogs. Others will just remain calmer because of it. How does your dog do when he has the Gentle Leader on and you pass other dogs on walks? Does he behave better or worse than when he is wearing a regular collar? That might be a good indication.

  35. Lazy? Ouch! I have worked with my 70-lb dog every day for months to try to get him to heel on walks. I would keep at it, but I’m starting to get serious pain in my shoulder from the pulling. I’d rather walk my dog AND protect my own body from injury, thanks.

  36. I use a Gentle Leader on a current puller of mine that nothing else has worked for – the pinch collar and the anti-pulling harnesses work great normally… except for when there is a cat or a squirrel in sight my dog goes nuts. The gentle leader has made our walks extremely enjoyable with only minimal training.

    I had a doberman for many years that I used the gentle leader as well. My only precaution to others is to be so very careful when using the head harnesses, as you can severely damage the dogs neck/back. My dobie ended up having a slipped disc, probably from either a pull that was too much for him, or from possibly jerking his head. There’s no way to know, and he ended up being okay, but I rushed him to the ER vet one night because I thought he had bloat. Turns out he was fine, but the next day at my regular vet it was discovered he had a slipped vertebrae. From then on out, my old dog wore a regular harness as he was getting up there and didn’t care to pull anymore.

    So while I don’t know if it came from the gentle leader, bad breeding or old age, its just something that should always be used properly.

    1. My dog was injured wearing a head halter, pulling his neck muscles and hurting his back which still causes problems but is less of an issue with chiropractic treatments. I used one on the advice of a behaviourist but wish I had researched more before following advice blindly.
      They ARE a great tool if you have a puller BUT I would clarify I mean a dog who consistantly pulls, not a dog who jerks or lunges suddenly. IMO for those issues I would avoid them, as the pressure on the neck when a dog lunges can cause injuries.

  37. Great info, I was looking for an alternative to the gentle leader which is the only way I can control our rambunctious 18 month old 95 lb. boxer/mastiff mix when walking him. Although control is better than with a choke chain, he still does pull for squirrels and other dogs and sometimes for people, so yesterday I noticed an unusually deep ridge on his nose from the gentle leader digging in when he pulled. I am going to try the halti, as I had been about to jigger the gentle leader by adding some padding around the top loop so as not to let the loop cut into him. Our female boxer who is around the same age is only 55 lbs. and much easier to control, I use a harness on her with great success (although I clip the leash to the ring on her chest and she no longer pulls at all).

      1. Well I tried the halti but unfortunately it is not made for my mastiff/boxer’s big muzzle and drooping jowls and folds. I liked the padding for the bridge of the nose but the fit did not work as the side straps impede the folds off his jowls maki g it very uncomfortable for him. I tried rigging some padding for the gentle leader with gauze pads but that is really a short term band aid solution, so now we’re back to the gentle leader and I hope something else comes along for me to try.

  38. I have a bichon / jack russel mix. He pulls on the leash ALL the time. there isnt 1 second that hes walking beside me. when ever he sees a dog hes gone. he starts barking, yelping and lunging. i got him a gentle leader, and well…….. ITS AMAZING!!! he walks by my side now (with the ocasional pull but if u give a little tug he will come right back). he still gives a little yelp when he sees a dog but not as bad as he used to. i love it. i would recomend it to anyone.

  39. I took the advice on here and went with the Halti…let me say….I LOVE IT! My dog has literally become a different dog almost instantly. She enjoys it as well…took her to a soccer game on Sunday with tons of kids and balls and she laid on a blanket in the sun getting a belly rub while I barely had to hold the leash….the last game she was at she saw the ball and broke the lead and disrupted all 4 games and took two grown men down in the process….she is a different dog and now becomes excited when she see’s me getting the Halti ready because she knows she is going for a walk….thanks to all for the advice and stories you shared! By the way she is a 17 month old Yellow Lab who weighs 65-70 lbs.

  40. Whippet wonders

    If you can’t train a dog without using an aversive such as pinch, prong or choke chain then you shouldn’t be giving dog training advice.
    And it’s incredibly stupid to use a halti while riding a bike with a dog. An accident waiting to happen 🙁
    Also management tools suh as head collars, choke chains don’t teach the dogs anything. Put the effort in and actually train them.

  41. To be honest I have not tried either but have a slip lead with a nose slip which works well too. I would like to say to the choke chain lovers that even a normal collar and lead will cause tracheal problems in dogs, and choke chains etc make it worse. It sseems unlikely that pressure on the bone of the nose will cause breathing problems (unless it is fitted incorrectly over the cartalidge part of nose). I see these products just like the Monty Roberts dually halter for horses an effective way of gaining quick non damaging results And as with horses you exchange to normal lead once the desired behaviour is achieved, and if the change over is causing problems use both slowly reducing the use of the head halter.
    Like the equine dually halter too many people will use it in an inhumane way, fit it wrong, ans ultimately make issues worse. So it is important that people buying these training tools to research them fully to understand how to use them, and preferably find a trainer That knows to advise the dog owner.
    Surely if using training tools such as these are seen as bad so is any reward, eg treats a fuss or clicker etc, you should also view any collar or harness as a training tool and also bad, leaving you with a dog running loose and without being seen as a leader it will be gone to start a proper pack!
    I am actually working on a training method which uses no equipment other than food bowls and a dog, (obviously a collar fitted outside with I’d tag but no lead until I have the dog in control without forcing it near me)
    But as I say I’m working in it and I would recommend products such as this now as they are non harming helpful tools.

  42. I have used most kinds they sell at petsmart/co over the years. I think the halti works the best by far.

  43. My 90lb lab is 18 months old and has always pulled on his walks. I was using a harness where the leash attached on the front and it helped a little but he would still practically pull my arm off if he saw a dog friend or was startled by another dog. Well, let me tell you that the Halti lead is amazing!! He is a completely different dog and now we both enjoy the walk. It did take some getting use to on his part and at first he tried to remove it with his paws but he is much more comfortable with it now. I would strongly encourage anyone who has a puller to invest in the Halti and give it a try!!!

  44. I have had both a Halti and Gentle Leaders. I have two foxies and the Jack Russell is powerful and I am fairly disabled. I cannot walk my dogs at all without the nose control. I lost one Gentle Leader and had to use a Halti. My Jack Russell chewed thru it immediately because there is no way you can adjust the nose size. Next, the collar part slipped somehow and was totally loose and the nose part, I sewed it back making it smaller he still could chew it and it still fell off. I have nearly lost him every time I have used it in built up city area.
    Alternatively the Gentle Leader is simple and easy to fit and put on and is literally what it says it is, the webbing is stronger so the dog is safe and of course cannot chew it as I can adjust it to fit the nose perfectly, no way can he get it into his mouth because it sits further back on the head past his jaw . Doesn’t need a safety strap.
    One tiny dog, who can still pull and get out of things, and one powerful Jack Russell, we now have peaceful pleasant walks with no pulling because they simply can’t and I feel confident that my dogs are safe to walk around traffic and other dogs.
    Without the Gentle Leader which is very well made and simple, strong and easy to put on we would not be able to go for walks at all. The Halti, still expensive, is now totally ruined after 3 walks! Thank god for the safety lead as it is very much needed. The webbing is not strong enough and because the nose piece cannot be adjusted to fit the nose a clever dog can get his mouth in and chew it off! There is a warning that that can happen, how to prevent it, I am walking my dogs not checking the Halti to see if he is having fun eating it.
    I would say the Halti is only suitable for placid breeds who have no inclination to play with the thing. The Jack Russell is not a chewer in general he did it because he could!

  45. I started using a head collar when my daughter’s pointer mix jerked me the wrong way and I had to have physical therapy for my shoulder. After a few months, she learned to walk nicely by our side. When I adopted a chi/Italian greyhound mix, I could not believe how he could pull. With a head collar on, he learned to behave. It took him about 6 months to learn how to heel, or walk gently with a martingal collar and a loose leash. My new rescue is a rat terrier. She is 7 years old and had never been walked because she pulled. Wow! What a difference. She does not like it, but she comes willingly to put it on so she can go for a walk. She seems much more secure when she is heeled and under my control. She is still a reactive dog (other dogs, cats, bicycles, motorcycles, etc) But quickly calms down. Sometimes she actually just walks by. She has been on a halti for a year, I hope to eventually not need to use it, but she is a terrier. We will see.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh I’m so glad to hear these tools have made a difference for all your dogs. That’s good to hear! My goal is always to wean the dog off of them as well, but it just depends on the dog.

  46. I have used the gentle leader with my 98 pound lab and he has always hated it. I didn’t like the fact I had to make it so tight to work and it always slipped to the side which made him pull more and he is extremely strong . He doesn’t seem to be able to pant well with it one. I also have a new pup and he is a 75 pound 7 month old lab that is bull headed and stubborn and much stronger than his father and in no way could I walk him on a leash after he was 5 months old. I took him to obedience class and they gave me a halti which he fought for maybe 10 minutes. I am so in love with it. it works so much better than the GL and he can pant and drink and take a treat with it on. We work on our homework for the stubbornness and I love the extra safety clip to his collar so I can drop the halti down and practice with the regular collar. I personally cant tell much difference in the thickness or quality and will get one of these for the big dog so I can walk him in comfort.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I think you make some great points. Those are some of the reasons I like the Halti a little better as well, mainly for really strong pullers!

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