What is a head collar?
Sometimes referred to as a gentle leader, a head collar fits around your dog's neck, while another strap ties around their muzzle. A head collar gives you more control over the dog. It also reduces excessive barking and snapping.
Why would my dog need a head collar?
Head collars are an effective and humane way of preventing a dog from pulling on a leash. They can be a last resort for owners who've exhausted all other training options.
If your dog isn't a fan of the lead or the harness, they're not going to be keen on a head collar. Still, lead training is really important. A dog that yanks and pull too much could easily injure themselves. It's also the kind of “naughty” behaviour that could lead to bigger problems. Think about it this way: when a dog pulls on a lead, their owners usually go with them. Some get exasperated and just let the dog off the leash. Either way, the dog thinks it’s “won”, and in some ways it has. The dog starts to think that it can always get its own way, as look as its stubborn enough. A dog like this is not going to be a fun, healthy, or safe pet.
5 best dog head collars
1# Halti padded Headcollar
Designed by Dr Roger Mugford in 1970, the Halti padded head collar is recommended by vets and animal experts from all over the world. It's easy to fit and really simple to use. It's made from a lightweight yet durable nylon webbing that combines comfort and security. Available in sizes from small to XX-large.
Price: £6.49 - £10.00
2# Dogmatic padded headcollar
A luxurious head collar made from a light nylon webbing lined with extra padding for extra comfort. The adjustable strap makes it suitable for almost any dog, ensuring a snug and secure fit with a quick release buckle for extra safety.
3# Pawaboo dog head halter
A high-quality nylon dog collar. Strong, comfortable, and durable, this lightweight head collar offers total protection for you and your dog. Easy to adjust. Fitted with 2 luminous reflectors that keep your dog visible and safe. Available in small and medium.
Price: £9.99 - £10.99
4# Big Dog Styles Head Collar
Handmade in the UK from a strong, cushioned nylon webbing. No chew design. Lined with 2mm of neoprene for extra added comfort. Offers total control for any owner. Available in four sizes.
5# Ancol dog training head collar
Easy to fit and perfect for reluctant dogs, the Ancol dog head collar is a great lead training tool. Available in small to x-large, the Ancol head collar can be adjusted to fit most dogs.
Price: £5.99 - £7.00
How to fit a head collar
You might have to “bribe” your dog with a few treats, or at least distract them! Start by simply showing them the head collar. Let them sniff it. Then give them a treat. Do this a few days in a row before you even attempt to fit the collar over your dogs head. Then it's time to get them used to actually wearing the head collar. Again, work slowly. Start by attaching a part of the collar that fits around the neck, and keep it loose. When your dog seems OK with that, try attaching it around their muzzle. And stay patient! This might take time, but it's certainly worth the effort.
Never yank or jerk a dog wearing a head collar. This will be very unpleasant for your dog, and it's generally an ineffective training method. Rather than working with you, the dog will likely “fight” back.
Never fit the head collar if your dog appears anxious or agitated. Again, this is counterproductive. It will only reinforce the dog's negative feelings toward the head collar.
If you own a flat-faced breed, like the Pug, don't even bother buying a head collar; they simply won't fit.
Head collars might not look very comfortable, but they've been designed especially for our dogs. A head collar keeps them safe, keeps them comfortable, and encourages the right kind of behaviour. But head collars aren't for every dog. If yours seems extremely reluctant, or continues to resist the head collar, look into some alternative methods. But, generally speaking, a head collar is a really effective training tool.