Dog Halters – Useful or Not?

You have likely either heard stories about dogs who take their owners for a walk on a regular basis or have a dog that forges ahead of you on your walks. It’s no wonder your arms are way longer than they should be if this is what is happening. How do you stop it?

There are actually several ways to stop it, and several ways to mitigate what is happening. Frankly, the root cause of the problem needs to be addressed first rather than just using something that accommodates the problem but doesn’t work on a solution. More on that later in this article.

The Accommodators

The accommodators are head halters and there are two on the market that are pretty good – the Halti and the Gentle Leader. If you have to choose, pick the Gentle Leader. It has a simple design and offers good control. It is not a muzzle, although it may look like one because of the way it fits (sitting behind the dogs ears and around the muzzle). The two nylon straps connect under the chin. The premise behind the Gentle Leader is to control the nose – whence the nose goes, thus goes Fido.

Haltis are similar in principle, but more complicated, and have been known to cause spinal and neck injuries if your dog struggles.

The Correction Devices

There is one other item that rears its head up now and then, and that’s the Prong Collar (considered a correction device). Normally used on dogs with large thick necks, this collar looks like an instrument of torture. Some say it doesn’t hurt when the prongs pinch the neck. Owners have been bitten using this device and it is dangerous in the hands of someone who does not know how to use it. Bottom line? Do NOT use this collar on your dog.

Another correction device is the Choke Collar and it’s called that because that is precisely what it does – chokes. It has caused extensive trachea and neck injuries to dogs thanks to owners who did not know how to use it properly.

And The Root Problem Is?

The root problem is forging and that comes about because the dog was never taught basic manners. It is very easy to teach a dog to NOT do this. Use a buckle collar ONLY and a nice long leash (at least 6 feet). With the dog on the left side of you start walking. When the dog gets out in front of you rather than staying at your side, IMMEDIATELY turn an about face and walk in the opposite direction saying at the same time (dog’s name) – heel!

Just keep doing the switcheroo routine until your dog gets the message that s/he must watch you to follow you. It may take a few times to get the message driven home, depending on how stubborn a dog you have. However it’s well worth the time to do this rather than use devices that don’t really fix the basic problem. Once you have taught your dog to watch you and follow you, you will see an improvement in manners and less forging. Just keep up the good work and above all else, do this on a consistent basis.