Any one elses dog have a permanent halti?

(47 Posts)
Nutellaoffaspoon Fri 21-Sep-18 10:28:36


I know these are supposed to be used as a temporary measure, as a training method, but what if they just never stop pulling on a normal lead or harness?

I have a 2 year old lab X cocker spaniel and boy, is she strong!! Taking her for a walk is more of a chore than a pleasure, as she pulls CONSTANTLY. She stops slightly when she's absolutely knackered, but it takes a lot for that to happen.

We tried a harness initially, which didn't work, so resorted to a halti. Whereas it was soooo much easier, I didn't like using it, because it would sometimes pull on her eye. Went back to a harness, but was pulling just the same. I've tried everything. Stopping when she pulls, carrying on when she stops etc, but no improvement. She's pure muscle and excitement!

I've now gone back to as halti and had one properly fitted, which seems to be more comfortable for her. The man in pets at home assured me that they're not cruel and sometimes, they're a permanent solution.

What are your thoughts?


OP’s posts: |
Floralnomad Fri 21-Sep-18 10:38:31

I think it’s better to train your dog rather than resort to aids .

DaniC18 Fri 21-Sep-18 10:41:36

I would try and train her to heel rather than rely on a Halti. I have an Alaskan Malamute who loves to pull if he is in a harness but we have trained him to walk calmly by our side with a regular collar on. It took alot of patience (and pieces of cheese) but is worth it as he now knows collar means walk nice and harness means pull x

Nutellaoffaspoon Fri 21-Sep-18 10:41:58

Title should read Anyone grrr

Flora, well yes, but what if you've tried everything?

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 10:46:01

I don’t use a halti because I don’t use aversive equipment.

I do use a headcollar, tbh it doesn’t stop pulling, that’s just consistent training that does that - I use it because there are times when I need control of his head because he has some behavioural issues related to medical conditions.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 21-Sep-18 10:51:31

The man in pets at home assured me that they're not cruel

The man in Pets at Home is completely unqualified to advise on these things. It should also be noted that he works in a shop that is still selling citronella spray collars despite the recent government announcement that they are to be made illegal on account of the fact that they're cruel.

Flora, well yes, but what if you've tried everything?

Can you give us a list of everything you've tried, including what training methods you've used?

vinobell Fri 21-Sep-18 10:54:17

i use a gentle leader - similar to halti, and its here to stay as it works for us. word of warning tho OP, careful admitting your dog isn't perfectly trained on MN...we wouldn't want reality getting in.


AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 21-Sep-18 11:02:41

careful admitting your dog isn't perfectly trained on MN...we wouldn't want reality getting in.

I have frequently posted about my dog's behavioural issues and training fails - for instance, yesterday we had a bad day, regressed, and he bit my leg in a state of blind panic when he saw his trigger - I now have a puncture wound in my calf. Shame as it hasn't happened for a few months, but an unfortunate reality for this MN dog owner.

Many here have asked for help and advice about dog training. No dog comes perfectly trained, and all have their moments. I once nearly lost my lunch to a dog trainer's own dog who suddenly decided he was peckish, and my lunch on the table looked quite delicious.

I very rarely see judgement thrown at people who are genuinely asking for advice and are trying to help their dog improve.

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 11:08:43

“admitting your dog isn't perfectly trained on MN...we wouldn't want reality getting in.”

Yep because needing control of his head because of behavioural issues just screams perfectly trained hmm rofl.

Training is the only thing that will reliably produce loose lead walking, training aids will help while you’re doing that, but, they’re not a long term fix. Dogs not trained to walk with a loose lead can pull with a halti on if they want to... or with anything on, eventually most of them get used to the training aid and just pull anyway.

Nutellaoffaspoon Fri 21-Sep-18 11:09:31

So far we've tried (as said above) stopping every time she pulls, (which is all the time) wait for her to sit and look at me, then I walk on.

Tried "by me", which our dog behaviourist taught us, where we give her a treat to the side of us, so she stays close to us.

She's not that bothered about food though, so treats don't usually work.

vino, I've not heard of that. Could you link me to one? What breed do you have? Well I hope I don't just get told it's all my fault etc, because I have seen threads on this board that have been very nasty, based on very little initial information.

We have have been very persistent. It just hasn't worked.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Fri 21-Sep-18 11:11:22

I use a dogmatic. 95% of the time I don’t really need it but if she’s frightened or sees a friend it avoids 50kg of wolfhound dragging me under a car. With it on she won’t pull. I’m happy with my decision.

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 11:14:32

I use a kumfi dogalter btw, doesn’t tighten and fits under a basket muzzle - the muzzle but not relevant to most, but it is to why I picked that one over other non tightening brands like dogmatic.

OnceUponATimeInAmerica Fri 21-Sep-18 11:14:54

Can you link to where citronella collars are to be banned? Thought it was only electric shock ones.

As for a halti, I use one and will continue to do so. After 8 years of ongoing training, my dog still won’t stop pulling without one because DH doesn’t notice her pulling so is not consistent with also stopping her pulling. As she has pulled me over before now when deciding to suddenly lunge after a squirrel, I would rather the halti than smashing my face into the road again. She only has it on for the first 400m and last 400m of a walk and is then free running. Hardly an act of cruelty.

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 11:27:44

“Hardly an act of cruelty.”

They are aversive though, that’s how they work. Pulling tightens it, the dog doesn’t like it tightening and so stops pulling to avoid it.

For a retail worker to say they’re not cruel does kind of imply that they’re not unpleasant for the dog, but they are, on purpose, that’s what they’re designed for.

Now obviously there’s a world of difference between unpleasant and cruel, but he wasn’t exactly being straightforward about it because it’s only his opinion that that level of unpleasant isn’t cruel for the OP’s dog.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 21-Sep-18 11:33:48

Can you link to where citronella collars are to be banned? Thought it was only electric shock ones.

Electric shock ones were the 'headline' but spray collars are also included
"Electric shock collars for cats and dogs will be banned in England, the government has announced. The training devices deliver up to 6,000 volts of electricity or spray noxious chemicals to control animals' behaviour."

The trouble with Haltis headcollars / no pull harnesses (I'm fairly sure Gentle Leaders work in the same way, though I'm less familiar with them) is that they are aversive, punishment based tools - designed to cause discomfort when the dog does the wrong thing by pulling - they tighten when the dog pulls. Discomfort / pain decreases a dog's ability to learn, and (because dogs don't always think in ways that are logical to us) they will often pull more to get away from the thing that's causing discomfort. It's clearly not working for the OP.

Dogmatic headcollars are a good alternative that don't tighten, as are Perfect Fit harnesses.

I spent months on the stop start method with unfailing consistency - albeit simply waiting for the dog to stop pulling before moving on, rather than expecting a sit (I can't see the point - you're not going to ask the dog to randomly sit when he's walking along nicely). It was one of the toughest nuts to crack in my dog's training. I got perhaps 80% of the way there using this method on a regular flat collar. However, when I switched to a Perfect Fit harness the rest of the pulling seemed to disappear (unless he sees a cat, but we can't have everything!) - he's evidently more comfortable wearing it.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 21-Sep-18 11:42:25

@Tabulahrasa I've not come across the Kumfi Dogalter before. I'll trust what you say about it not tightening and being a useful headcollar, but the manufacturers appear to be completely batshit

"(2) It also changes a dogs’ character hence it can be used effectively to combat many other BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS which include CHEWING, FOUL HABITS, DESTRUCTIVE, NOISY, SNIFFERS, NIBBLERS, EXCITABLE, AGGRESSIVE, ANTI SOCIAL dogs. When the dog is wearing the DOGALTER and accepts it, the dog may then be left even unattended and it has the effect of calming, subduing and occupying the dog’s mind which in itself is mystical but very much a desired remedy for most CANINE BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS i.e. distracting the dog’s attention from the problem."

Anyone who thinks sniffing is a behavioural problem is batshit. A dog's main sense is sniffing. Taking a dog for a walk without allowing it to sniff is like taking a child for a walk and blindfolding it.

Not that a headcollar could possibly achieve all of those things! Canine snake oil seems to be an appropriate description...

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 11:47:03

“but the manufacturers appear to be completely batshit“

Probably, I find lots of companies making training aids are tbh, they claim completely ridiculous things, lol.

I picked it after physically manhandling a load of different brands to make sure they did what I wanted.

villainousbroodmare Fri 21-Sep-18 11:55:04

I used to walk a friend's terrier. He could not go off lead due to poor recall and used to pull like a train. They had a jacket for him - brand name was Outward Hound - and when he wore it he was a different dog. No pulling, marching along, happy as could be. I used to get him to carry two bottles with a small amount of water in, but the effect was the same even wearing the jacket with no additional weight.

adaline Fri 21-Sep-18 11:56:18

Mine walks a lot nicer on a collar/lead than he does in a harness. Harness (especially ones with back clips) encourage them to pull. Consider what huskies/sled dogs wear - harnesses with rear clips and fastenings. They're pretty much designed to allow them to pull.

Ours has a harness which we use in the car when he's secured into the seatbelt, and it's good that he's used to wearing it, but it doesn't help with his walking. We discovered it by accident when we forgot his harness one day - he's not perfect but it's a lot better than it was.

TheFaerieQueene Fri 21-Sep-18 12:02:08

I used a halti body harness for my large Labrador. I don’t like the head harness or gentle leader at all.
I use the body harness because I don’t want to connect the lead to her collar as it means she has pressure on he neck if she pulls. And yes all dogs pull sometimes.

DogInATent Fri 21-Sep-18 12:14:01

Reward based training can only work when you have a reward with a greater attraction than the behaviour you wish to discourage. Some dogs get an endorphin rush from pulling that no reward can beat - not even cheese, chicken or ham.

Mumoftwo12345 Fri 21-Sep-18 12:19:58

Have your tried a canny collar? My springer pulled, she wasn't badly behaved, we used one when we took her out on the lead her whole life. It worked brilliantly and she wasn't an unhappy dog because of it.

MrsRubyMonday Fri 21-Sep-18 12:32:34

We used dogmatics permanently for the first few years until they no longer needed them, coupled with weekly obedience training. Out trainer supported their use and helped us fit them. They are headcollars like the halti, but they are structured like a horse bridle with a fixed loop that goes around the neck, one over the muzzle and 'bars' between them. This stops the loops tightening or pulling up into the eyes. All the headcollar does is move the point of contact from the collar on their shoulders to under the chin. This stops them being able to put their full weight behind the collar. Harnesses are even worse for this, and it's often strong dogs people put in them. If the dog tries to pull in a dogmatic, they can only use the strength of their neck which is much easier to control and therefore safer.

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Sep-18 12:37:08

“Some dogs get an endorphin rush from pulling that no reward can beat - not even cheese, chicken or ham.”

The issue with pulling is that it’s self rewarding, dog wants over yonder, it pulls, it gets over yonder (might just be in general or at a specific thing or place or to the part of the walk they enjoy more)

For some dogs food might not be a high value enough reward to make them use their impulse control, but something will be and it’ll work better if you work on impulse control in general.

totallyliterally Fri 21-Sep-18 12:38:29

We use a figure of 8 lead for our gun dog. As do many other gundog owners I know.

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