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The head collar fit is critical. You should keep the collar very snug at the top of the neck so it doesn’t slide around, and the nose loop must be adjusted every time the collar fit is adjusted. The nose loop should be a little looser than the collar.
While training your dog on a head collar, leave the regular collar and tags on the dog.
While the head collar is a great training tool you still have to teach your dog not to pull. It provides power steering so you get lots of chances to reward your dog for putting slackness into the leash, for creating a loose lead.
There is a natural instinct to resist pressure (called opposition reflex) which encourages a dog to pull against a tight lead. The gentle pressure from the head collar comes from under the chin as you gently turn the head so many dogs tend to slow down. It works like a halter on a horse and makes it easier to get your timing right.
When he starts to pull out in front of you, without any jerking on the leash, and on a short length of leash to start, his head turns back toward you. Where the head goes, the body will follow.
If your dog continues to pull into the head collar, then he should walk at your side or slightly behind you, never in front of you until he accepts your confident control of the walk.
Gradually increase the distance of the dog’s walks. Frequent short walks are better for training purposes than less-frequent long walks. Or you can practice in the house or on the patio first.
Some dogs may learn to like a head collar better if you put it on each time the dog comes out of the crate for a few minutes or if you put it on for a few minutes and before every pleasurable activity in which he is allowed to engage. The head collar is only on the dog, though, if it is attached to a leash you are holding, to prevent the dog rubbing its face on the ground or on nearby objects, just as most puppies do the first time they wear collars.
You may also wash your head collar in a gentle washer cycle to remove the fabric sizing and make it feel softer on your dog’s face.
Even with a head collar, children should not walk dogs alone, for their safety and for their dogs’ safety as well. Let them practice indoors or within a fenced outdoor area. If a young child is participating in the training, he should share the hold on the lead with an adult at all times when outdoors, especially outside of a fence.
Never let your dog wander around the house or yard with a head collar on unless you are training and walking the dog on a leash the whole time.
Full disclaimer: We have no stock in any dog supply company. We sell items that we purchase for resale. HMI Pet Products founders Haruki & Merrilyn Jones are longtime property angels (volunteers) at Best Paw Forward Inc., and we often work with them to come up with new products for our students and for our own dogs -- they are great people and we wholeheartedly endorse them!.
Enjoy your walks again by using a Gentle Leader & Snoot Loop head collar.
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If the answer to any of these is “Yes,” your dog is a good candidate for a Gentle Leader or Snoot Loop head collar. We do not recommend any other brands at this time. Our own puppies start walking on theirs at 8 weeks old. The Gentle Leader is easier to fit than the Snoot Loop, but the Snoot Loop has a version that works with brachycephalic dogs (pushed-in faces) like pugs and bulldogs.
Two major drawbacks to head collars:
Practice each step below 10-20 times per day for 1-2 days. Some dogs will go through steps more quickly than others. In that case, with luck you might get through more steps in the same day.