Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who
partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

The halter-style collar controls the dog's head but does not restrict its
ability to pant, drink, or grasp objects.

The halter-style collar controls the dog’s head but does not restrict its
ability to pant, drink, or grasp objects.

Elf

What Exactly Is a Dog Halti?

A dog halti is simply a head collar that somewhat resembles a halter worn by
horses. Also known as a gentle leader, head halter, or head collar, a dog
halti basically goes over the dog’s head with the bigger loop going around the
dog’s neck and the smaller loop going over the dog’s muzzle. A correctly worn
halti should allow enough space to allow one finger to slide under the cheek
strap.

At times, people confuse the halti with a dog muzzle; however, the two are
very different and were built for different purposes. That said, it is
important to recognize that some models of dog haltis were purposely crafted
to allow the mouth to be closed; a feature which may turn handy when dealing
with dogs prone to aggression.

The main purpose of a dog halti is to provide better control. Horses are large
animals that can be easily controlled by a halter wrapped around their heads,
therefore, the halti was crafted with the same idea in mind. Basically, the
head collar works by controlling the dog’s head, which makes it an ideal
training tool for dog owners concerned about being dragged down the street.

The head halter was first crafted by Dr. Roger Mugford about 25 years ago. Dr.
Mugford is a UK-based leading trainer and animal behaviorist. Owning large
dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds and having back problems as well, Dr. Mugford
understood the need for better control. Today, dog haltis can be found in any
major pet store. Because head halters require some time to get accustomed to,
it is best to consult with a reputable dog trainer for advice.

As with most training tools, there are pros and cons to keep in mind before
investing in their use. As a dog owner, it is ultimately up to you to choose
the most appropriate training tool for your dog. If you are uncertain, ask a
dog trainer for advice.

Pros and Cons of Dog Haltis

There are good and bad things about the halti. As a trainer and behavior
consultant, I tend to use a halti for particular cases where a certain level
of control is needed. In the past, I have had success in using a halti in a
case of redirected aggression because of the great control of the head and
muzzle. Yet, I tend to prefer a front-attachment harness for cases, where
control of the head is not needed as much. The following are some pros and
cons of dog haltis.

Pros of Head Halters in Dogs

  • Works great to reduce pulling. With great control of the head, some dog owners claim it feels as if “power steering.”
  • A dog halti offers a more humane alternative to aversion-based tools such as choke collars, prong collars and electronic collars which are known for causing emotional and physical issues.
  • Compared to the gentle leader, some haltis offer a more comfortable fit, courtesy of padding over the nose area.
  • Some haltis offer the option of closing the muzzle.
  • The way the halti is designed allows dogs to pant as needed.

Cons of Haltis in Dogs

  • The biggest disadvantage of the halti is the fact that it takes quite some time for the dog to get adjusted to it. Some dogs will panic, toss themselves on the floor, rub their heads on surfaces and paw at it.
  • Some dogs appear to be excessively subdued when wearing it.
  • As with other training tools, haltis have the potential for causing injury. In this case, the risk involves injury to the dog’s neck and spine when the dog lunges ahead and his head turns to the side.
  • As with other training tools, a halti should be used in conjunction with training and not as a substitute for training. As with other training tools, they are transitional tools to be used temporarily until better behaviors are taught.
  • The halti must be fit correctly to ensure effectiveness. The halti should not rub against the eye area; rather, it should be resting near the nose, away from the eyes. The dog should not be able to paw it off. It should look like a “V” and not an “L,” according to Terri Ryan.
  • A halti may cause subdued behavior in some dogs, which is why I am not a big fan of it and prefer front-attachment harnesses.

As seen, as with other training tools, there are pros and cons to using a
halti and as with any training tool, there are risks of misuse. If you are
considering one, keep in mind that it may require some desensitizing for your
dog to get accustomed to it. Consult with a dog trainer when it comes to
choosing the best training tool for your dog as this varies from one
individual to another on a case-by-case basis.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and
is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a
qualified professional.

Comments

Michael Fry on August 07, 2020:

Have purchased a Haltie, while I will be going back to a choker chain once he
is walking perfectly, I have to say the Haltie is a great product for a dog
that is resisting the choker chain, I see little use for a prong collar if the
choker is not working, I have also purchased n e-collar and am using it in
conjunction with the Haltie and the two combine are like turbo training, the
dog only requires the static shock in extreme situations that is when another
dog is confronting him in a highly aggressive manner that is not his fault
however I have and do train my dogs to ignore other dogs behaving badly, that
doesn’t mean I expect him to allow another dog to attack him.

The Haltie is a great product and a great price for the training benefits, he
annoyed by the strap over the nose however that is nothing compared to the
benefits and everyday he becomes more comfortable with it. As said great
product.

SharonR99 on July 25, 2020:

Scroll to Continue

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we have a Snorkie, around 2yrs old. He is a rescue dog and we have had him for
a year. He is 8kgs of muscle and pulls terrible when he walks. We tried an
Halti face harness and he can get out of it. We then not a Halti harness and
for a couple of weeks he was better but now just ignores the harness and pulls
badly– to the point of injuring my husband’s shoulder… He tries to run full
speed and go absolutely ape when he sees other dogs. Yes, he needs a dog
whisperer but a bit hard at present so any other suggestions.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 12, 2020:

Wrong size or it is fitted incorrectly. If you bought it from a pet store you
can bring your dog along and they will fit it for you or exchange it for
another size.

Helen on May 02, 2020:

My dog can pull the halti off quite easily so I think I may have the wrong
size?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 05, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by. As with many tools, dogs need to be desensitized to it
and this can be tedious. Back when I used them before front-attachment
harnesses became popular, I had a half hour class just for demo purposes and
proper fitting.

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 05, 2013:

I think one issue that most trainers do not bring up is one you pointed out
here–some dogs are excessively subdued. I do not use one for my dog but if I
put anything on her muzzle she acts like she is being attacked by a neighbor´s
Fila.

Great evaluation!

maryeason on January 31, 2013:

This has some very awesome information on using the Haltis for training. I had
never even heard of them before.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 17, 2012:

Hello Desertarmor, thank you for stopping by. The difficult time transitioning
to a normal collar I addressed it when I posted the following disadvantage ”
As with other training tools, a halti should be used in conjunction with
training and not as a substitute for training.” The main objective of any
training tool is to use it temporarily and wean it off gradually. As a
trainer, my main objective in classes is to make sure dogs in my classes are
capable of walking on a normal buckle collar, without relying on any aids. If
the dog owner finds he cannot walk the dog without depending on a tool; I know
there is a problem…

Desertarmor from Arizona on July 17, 2012:

The only real down side to a halti is that once it is removed the dog has a
difficult time transitioning to just a collar and the forging begins all over
again. My advice it use the simple 180 turn a few times and the dog will stop
forging. Great hub though!!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 16, 2012:

I have to reread your hub. My dogs do get a bath outside on the porch. They
are too heavy for me to lift in the tub. Especially Bella. She just freezes
her body and won’t budge. I will remember treats during the bath. She really
is a good girl. I don’t know her problem with water. I got her at the humane
society. They knew she hates rain and baths. So we just don’t know what
happened that she is that way.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 16, 2012:

You are welcome! She may do better if you give the bath outdoors
initially.Bath tubs can be scary for many different reasons. I published this
hub a while back and thought it could be helpful:
https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Bathe-a-Big-Dog…

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 16, 2012:

alexadry,

Thanks for the tip on when to give treats for a bath. Makes sense. I will
remember that.

I could see my youngest dog acting like a wild horse. Anything that makes her
feel trapped, she reacts. And yet, she is really sweet.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 15, 2012:

Treats should be mostly given during the bath. It is easy to forget that those
wanted positive associations take place DURING the event and not prior nor
after. Dogs live in the moment so if you give treats prior to the bath your
dog will associate whatever is happening with treats, you want your dog to
realize that the when bathed great things happen, when the bath is over all
fun things end as well. Many dogs find the halti uncomfortable at first, but
many settle after a bit. I have seen some dogs act like a wild horse when they
wore it the first time, which is why it is not one of my favorite tools, but
it has its own place for behavior modification for difficult cases. Thanks for
stopping by!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 15, 2012:

I didn’t realize there was haltis for dogs. I think I’d be more uncomfortable
about it than my dogs. I guess I’m used to how my dogs are and we just work
around each other. I love the video, that dog was determined to get the
treats. I need to give treats to my dogs, especially Bella, before a bath, not
after, since while she is getting better, she hates the thought of having to
get a bath. The halti might even work for her that way, but to me it looks
uncomfortable. This is a good hub for those who would like the halti.