Monday, December 6, 2010

Myths on Head Collars

Ok, so I've heard some pretty weird stories from trainers who are anti-head collars, but this one was the worst. Let's get some of this cleared up, ok?

Head halters (Gentle Leaders, halti's) are not dog killers. A vet friend of mine called to talk to me about a client and told me the school they had been to previously would not let them use a head halter because "dogs break their necks and die"! She supports GL's and sells them! Ok, so that's a pretty silly thing to say, plus a very uneducated statement.

The problem I have with head halters are people who are not educated or trained on how to use them. They use them like they use their slip or prong collars, and do harsh pops with them. These collars are meant for "pressure on, pressure off" - meaning you pull back applying pressure and release it immediately when the dog is where they should be. Because you're simply turning the head (not cranking on it) there isn't a chance to "break a neck". And so many uneducated folks allow the dogs to be out in front rather than walking nicely with you on heel command. Out in front they constantly get their turned, and pressure is applied non-stop. This is a collar that stops pulling, but only if you use it right. If a dog rushes forward, he won't get hurt because you have the dog so close to you, it's a quick correction - if he's out in front and then rushes forward you'll have a dog flipping back to you. Thus, just like any other training collars (including the prong) - if the dog is allowed enough space to run they will get a leash correction, and a prong or slip will do major damage to a neck as well.

Bottom line folks - use the collar that bests fits your dog's personality and temperment. Some are soft enough to train on a buckle, others will need more "pressure" in their training collars. Don't start with the highest pressure (prong) if you haven't tried the others first - let your dog "earn" what he's working on. And remember, a training collar should be short-term. We want to get him off that as quick as we can and working on a buckle (or flat) collar!

By the way - the vet said in all her years of working she has NEVER seen a dog die or even have any neck issues using a GL. Many many vets sell these collars because they believe in them. If it was true they caused physical issues, why in the world would our vets support them!

Have fun with the snow my friends! Two of my three love it (can you guess who doesn't?)

Deb Schneider
Everee the BC, Eli the Bloodhound, Corky the yorky

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