Proper Use of Head Collars

 Updated January 14 , 2021

The purpose of a head collar: By controlling the head, you better control the dog!  

A head collar is not a muzzle.

Only use a head collar with a three- to five-foot leash (not a retractable leash) when walking or training your dog. Never leave a dog unattended with a head collar.

 Types of head collars:

Gentle Leader, no “side bar

Long noses-collies/shepherds.

Walk N Train-(Holt) – Has under chin clip

  Short, square noses, strong pulling breeds

Halti, no under-chin clip 

Proper Fit

The neck strap should be right behind ears, far up on the head. It should be snug enough to allow one or two fingers beneath. The nose strap should just tight enough to slide back and forth, but not so loose that it slides off. Clip the leash to the head collar and the neck collar. 

(Note: the Halti and Walk N Train come with a short strap attached to the chin clip. You can remove this strap and discard it. It causes a hazard, and clipping the leash to both the head collar and neck collar eliminates the need for this strap.  

Desensitizing Your Dog

Place your open hand in the bottom of the nose band, with a treat in your hand. Hold the top of nose band with your thumb or other hand. Have the dog place its nose in the nose band to get the treat. Do not try to slide nose band on. Let dog put his own nose in.

Buckle the neck strap, give the dog a treat and remove it. Repeat over and over, 10-30 times a day. When dog no longer resists or paws at the head collar, leave it on for several seconds. Gradually increase time dog wears the collar.

When dog tolerates  the head collar for at least five minutes, begin walking with head collar.


Desensitizing Training


Walking Tips

When the dog pulls, come to complete stop. Do not pull back. If necessary, pull the leash to the side. This should turn the dog’s head to the side, hampering forward movement.

Always keep the leash between you and the dog. Keep the leash slack when walking, allowing the dog to tighten when it pulls. When leash tightens, you stop until the dog relaxes leash.                   


How to walk your dog with a head collar