Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My reactive and hyper dog, Enzo, is doing really well with a head halter. He's in a training class, and does ok with just a collar and a leash, so long as I'm praising him constantly and feeding him treats. But he's very reactive with other dogs and will pull no matter what outside, unless I constantly correct him (stop and start, stop and start). I'm willing to do this, but can't do it every time we go for a walk.

Of course, I don't want the poor guy to wear the head halter forever. I don't expect that he'll be able to go off of it really soon, even. But in preparation for that, I'm wondering how one weans a dog off of a head halter. I even got a book from the library about training with one and it says nothing about it. :(

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,657 Posts
It is possible that he may need to wear a head halter for the rest of his life, but that's something you'll have to figure out as you go.

I wouldn't try walking him without the head halter unless he's responding to you without you having to actually use it (i.e., put tension on it to control his head). If/when he gets to that point, I'd just switch to a flat collar for v. brief walks and go from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I think short walks where I can "stop and start" to have him walk with a normal collar is a good idea. I already see more responsiveness with this since he started the head halter. But still reactive with other dogs. Expect to a certain degree with an adolescent in an urban environment, but hope to eventually minimize without head halter.

Thanks for your response :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,657 Posts
You could also try walking him on a flat collar with the head harness on a second leash as a kind of emergency brake. But you'll have to be careful about it because if he lunges on the flat collar and ends up being stopped by the head halter he could injure his neck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
704 Posts
The head halter is hands down the best thing for reactivity but if pulling is the main issue, you can try an easy walk harness instead. It's quite easily to move from an easy walk to a normal harness and then to just a collar if that's what you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
If you're using a 'regular' head halter I'd suggest the two-leash method once you find yourself not actually feeling the *need* for the level of control you get with the halter. (ie - he's just not reacting to things the way he used to) Then it's just there for 'back up' in case you need it. You can also 'step down' a level of control as he improves by switching to a front clip harness + collar (I attach one end of the leash to the harness & the other to the collar) and continue to wean down until you're just using the collar alone.

This is one of the (many) reasons that my personal favorite brand of head halter is the 'Canny Collar' - it's design leads to weaning off because you can simply slip the nose strap off & use it like a regular collar. Plus, I much prefer the behind the head attachment to under the chin (like seen on most other halters)
http://www.cannyco.com/why-choose-a...hoose-the-right-size-canny-collar-fit-and-use
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
image.jpg image.jpg

I'm glad you having success with controlling dog reactivity.

Managing two leashes can get to be a problem especially if you get surprised by another dog in your case. I have the same problem but I use a harness, flat collar for dog tags and a prong for control.

I use my tab or traffic lead on the prong with the 7 foot leash going through the tab and connected to the harness. My dog has finally got to heel closely on a loose leash and only takes a small drag on the prong. Most of the time it is loose too. Meeting other dogs is down to just a finger tug on the prong.

Here are a couple pictures. Notice how the long leash goes through the tab. My tab is 12 inches long. I make my own leashes. I'm going to make a new tab about 2-3 inches shorter just to try out.
She normally heels on my left, I was trying to get her to hold still for pictures but she got over on the right here. It doesn't matter however as you you can operate this with either hand.

I use a command "watchme" to get her to look at me while heeling. High value treats work well. I'm weaning her off treats now and beginning to use a ball on a line and a tug on a line for rewards.

Aussies are very vocal and sometimes just seem to want to bark for a release. We are working on quiet down too. "That's enough" rather sharply is the command. It gets her attention and breaks the mood. She looks at me and will mew or whine but stops barking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,657 Posts
If you're using a 'regular' head halter I'd suggest the two-leash method once you find yourself not actually feeling the *need* for the level of control you get with the halter. (ie - he's just not reacting to things the way he used to) Then it's just there for 'back up' in case you need it. You can also 'step down' a level of control as he improves by switching to a front clip harness + collar (I attach one end of the leash to the harness & the other to the collar) and continue to wean down until you're just using the collar alone.

This is one of the (many) reasons that my personal favorite brand of head halter is the 'Canny Collar' - it's design leads to weaning off because you can simply slip the nose strap off & use it like a regular collar. Plus, I much prefer the behind the head attachment to under the chin (like seen on most other halters)
http://www.cannyco.com/why-choose-a...hoose-the-right-size-canny-collar-fit-and-use
From the website, the Canny Collar is only really for loose-leash walking? From the looks of it, I don't think it nearly as effective at controlling a reactive dog as a halti or gentle-leader because of the behind-the-head attachment. The under-the-chin attachment that the other head-halters have is actually one of the things that makes a them so effective at controlling reactivity: it gives you total control over where the dog's head is going, which means you can much easier force the dog to look away from the stimulus and towards you, in order to teach it to focus on you when it encounters the problematic stimulus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
From the website, the Canny Collar is only really for loose-leash walking? From the looks of it, I don't think it nearly as effective at controlling a reactive dog as a halti or gentle-leader because of the behind-the-head attachment. The under-the-chin attachment that the other head-halters have is actually one of the things that makes a them so effective at controlling reactivity: it gives you total control over where the dog's head is going, which means you can much easier force the dog to look away from the stimulus and towards you, in order to teach it to focus on you when it encounters the problematic stimulus.
Well, true - When you're using an 'under the chin' halter you can force the nose (ie - the focus) of the dog immediately away from whatever they are looking at, since, basically, you have hold of the dog's muzzle. With the Canny, you're redirecting/turning the entire head of the dog, so it's not quite as 'precise' a movement. But, since I'm only going to be *forcing* the redirected look (hopefully!) in an *emergency* situation, I'll take that little bit of 'slop factor' in light of the safety factor (with the behind the head attachment, there is very little torque put on the neck if/WHEN they do lunge at something)

It could simply boil down to personal preference, but I only use a head halter type device on the most *severe* of cases, since (IME/IMO) many dogs find them - no matter what brand! lol - to be very aversive, and I'd rather avoid that if I possibly can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
I'm wondering how one weans a dog off of a head halter.
This is the problem as I see it with head halters, choke collars, prongs etc. or similar corrective devices. Sooner or later most people wish to get the dog 'off' of the collar, and it's usually not an easy task because a certain dependency or reliance has been built.

Honestly, if it were me. I'd ditch the halter altogether, asap, use a flat buckle collar clicker and treats and go back and teach the dog the behavior that you DO want rather than correcting / chastising him for the behavior you don't want. I mean, you can carry on with your intention to wean him off the halter gradually, but at the end of the day you'll be left with a dog who is STILL unclear on what it is that you want him TO do.

Not sure of the back story on your dog, what you've tried so far, what your instructor has suggested etc .. but if you haven't been directed to it already, LAT training would be a good general plan for dealing with the reactivity. And teaching LLW as a separate exercise in a no-distraction environment would be the companion piece to LAT. You should be able to eventually meld the two ex's together.

Here is Donna Hill's version of LAT .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdraNF2hcgA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,657 Posts
Well, true - When you're using an 'under the chin' halter you can force the nose (ie - the focus) of the dog immediately away from whatever they are looking at, since, basically, you have hold of the dog's muzzle. With the Canny, you're redirecting/turning the entire head of the dog, so it's not quite as 'precise' a movement. But, since I'm only going to be *forcing* the redirected look (hopefully!) in an *emergency* situation, I'll take that little bit of 'slop factor' in light of the safety factor (with the behind the head attachment, there is very little torque put on the neck if/WHEN they do lunge at something)

It could simply boil down to personal preference, but I only use a head halter type device on the most *severe* of cases, since (IME/IMO) many dogs find them - no matter what brand! lol - to be very aversive, and I'd rather avoid that if I possibly can.
We agree on a lot of points - I never used a head halter with my v. reactive dog (his threshold when we got him was about half a block), which meant that there was almost zero possibility of not needing to use an emergency redirect on a walk - we couldn't just cross the (four lane) street because the dog was still well within his threshold when they walked past. But, he is also 30 lbs and his lunging did not pose much of a safety concern as I am perfectly capable of holding him back with one hand. If he were bigger and stronger, however, I think a properly fitted halti would absolutely have been necessary. He wouldn't have to be huge, either - I fostered a 50lb dog who required two hands and all of my body weight to restrain when she wanted to pull; and she loved pulling (not to get to anything - she just loved pulling and would've been a good sled dog!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I think the LAT method is a great idea--others have recommended it, too. That's a great video, BTW.

He's only 18 lbs, but is very reactive and hyper. He came from a rural environment to a very urban one, and was just crazy at first. He's calming down, though.

I did try the regular collar alone, and he was totally crazy again, pulling etc. We were doing stop and start, stop and start, stop and start for half an hour. Frustrated him and me. I think we need to go back to the basics; I'm going to get a stick with peanut butter or something and have him walk next to me on the head halter, because he still tries to lunge forward when he's distracted. But I think a transition to a front harness is a good idea once he's got the basics down, and one we can both live with on the long term.

Thanks all! Will start LAT today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
I'm kind of in the same spot you are. Just had to buy a new halter because the other one had started to fray from so much use!

I have had some success in reducing the amount of time he wears the halter by:

1) Switching to the flat collar near the end of a walk IF he has stopped pulling. Then we play red light/green light until we get home.

2) Doing some distraction training off leash (inside the house) and on the flat collar (in the yard). I can train him on the flat collar as long as we aren't surprised by a stimulus (like we often are on walks, hence the need for the halter). This has made the halter less and less necessary.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
That's pretty much what we're doing, too. He really hates the head halter, and I hate how it makes it unhappy and look like a vicious dog (albeit tiny!).

We're also doing special "peanut butter stirring spoon" sessions. I have a long wooden spoon on a leash, cover it with some peanut butter, and walk around the block with it right next to me on a flat collar. That works great, but of course you can't go around forever with the peanut butter spoon!

I did buy a front lead harness and a special leash that buckles in front and on top for a sum total of $20 online at Petco (they had free shipping, no minimum, yesterday and today). The Unleashed by Petco takes stuff back w/in 90 days, even if you've used it, if it doesn't work etc. I'd more readily use that forever than the head halter! We'll see how it goes.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top