The head collar has seen a surge in popularity among owners who have dogs who are unruly on a leash. And as with any surge in popularity of a product, there has also been a surge of conversation surrounding the safety of these harness style collars. I’ve seen several questions in the forums regarding the safety of using a head collar, so I decided the time was right to give our readers a look at what this collar does, how it does it, and how safe it actually is.
Related: What is a Head Collar & How Do You Choose the Best One for Your Dog?
What is a Head Collar
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First things first. Let’s talk about what type of collar this is. Although it’s called a collar, or sometimes a Gentle Lead (which is a brand), this is actually more of a halter than a collar. It’s designed with the same thought in mind as a horse’s bridle. If you control the head, you control the body. They may look odd, but they are an excellent choice for a dog who just won’t listen while on a leash.
How a Head Collar Works
As I said, the idea behind this halter is that if you control the head, you control the body. Controlling the head doesn’t mean dragging on the leash. A: that’s dangerous. B: It’s unnecessary. The idea is so simple, it translates perfectly to real life situation. Keep you dog on a reasonable leash length. When he attempts to lunge after a bird, run towards another dog, or simply go in a different direction, the head collar will naturally stop him.
Rather than tugging against a collar, the halter on his head will prevent your dog from going where he shouldn’t and bring him back in line to where you were both going to begin with. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t choke, and it’s not uncomfortable. Your dog may scratch at it a bit in the beginning, but what dog didn’t do that when they first had a collar put on them?
Is a Head Collar Safe
In a word: yes. The head collar is an entirely safe alternative to a traditional collar, and in my opinion, a much more humane option for a rambunctious dog than a pinch collar. Rather than using pain to control a dog who doesn’t listen, the head collar simply will not allow a dog to misbehave. As with any collar, be aware that this is not a tool to over correct with it, and not let your dog have too long of a lead.
Some people see a head collar and assume that it will “snap a dog’s neck” or “tweak his neck.” Not really. If WE wore a halter, that might be the case, but not dogs. They’re built differently than we are, and it’s important to remember that. You’ve seen how dogs play tug of war, swinging their heads back and forth and jerking really hard on their toy. When a head collar is used to control where a dog goes, a fraction of a fraction of that strong force is used to guide the dog back in line. It’s totally harmless. In fact, there have been no documented cases of injury due to a head collar.
A Head Collar – A Safe, Effective Alternative to Traditional Collars
The head collar is a safe and effective alternative to traditional collars and most especially to pinch collars. The beauty of a head collar is that it does the work for you, and it does it without pain. Rather than using pressure and pinching, a head collar simply doesn’t allow the dog to tear off wherever and whenever he wants.
Always remember to practice an even approach when using a head collar. Do not yank on the leash to correct your dog. That’s not what a halter like this is about. Instead, use the leash to guide your dog away from where he is trying to go and back to where you want him to go. With a little practice, you’ll discover than a head collar is actually a magical thing.