Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Doggy Headcollars - Which one to pick?

The Halti Headcollar Halti is made by the Company of Animals and was the first headcollar that was commonly seen on dogs. It works in a similar way to a horse's headcollar, with the point of attachment to the lead being under the dog's chin. The idea is that it's easier to turn the dog's head than when the lead is attached to a collar, and so when the dog pulls it can be steered back into position.One concern with the way the halti was initially designed was that with the lead connection under the chin, as the lead went tight and the halter activated, the nose loop could ride up into the dog's eyes. This has been minimised in later designs, but is a product of the way the headcollar is built so can't be eliminated completely.
Pros: easily available, good control, easy to put on
Cons: webbing can be a bit stiff (older types - newer types have got padded straps), nose loop can ride up into eyes. If the dog pulls suddenly out to the end of the lead there is the possible risk of neck damage as its head is pulled around sharply.


The Dogmatic
This is a more complicated version of the Halti, which still has the under chin attachment, but has extra straps to prevent the nose loop riding up.
Pros: good control, available in leather or soft webbing. Won't ride up on nose, and gives a point of control under chin
Cons: needs to be ordered direct from site, so best guess on fit
K9 bridle 
This is intended to work in a similar way to a bitless bridle on a horse. When the dog pulls, there is downward pressure on the bridge of the nose, and pressure behind the head. The attachment point for the lead is behind the animal's head, between the ears.
Pros: no risk of damage to neck as the head is not turned, manufacturer claims that incidences of aggression can be decreased because downward pressure on the nose can break eye contact. The point of attachment is immediately and centrally behind the dog's head so pressure is applied symmetrically to the face. The nose loop runs into a ring rather than a clip, so doesn't need adjusting to lie flat against the neck
Cons: can be fiddly to put on, only available from website so best guess on fit (the K9 bridle does have an adjustment, but no clear instructions on site as to how to get fit completely right)

Gencon 
Similar in mode of action to the K9 bridle, this headcollar also puts pressure on the nose and behind the head. However, it is slightly simpler to use and fastens under the dog's right ear. The collar runs in a figure 8 aorund the dog's muzzle and then around the back of the head, with a plastic clip under the chin holding the two loops of the 8 in the correct orientation. The Gencon can be bought as an integrated head collar and lead - probably best for use with a separate lead attached to the dog's every day collar in case the headcollar slips off.
Pros: easy to put on (similar to halti), available online and through retailers. No risk of damage to the neck.
Cons: Point of attachment is off centre, so pressure applied slightly unevenly to the face and neck.
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Gentle Leader
The Gentle Leader is a hybrid of the halti-type and the K9bridle-type of headcollars. It is fitted in a similar way to the halti, with the point of attachment being under the chin, but is effectively two loops, one around the muzzle and one around the back of the head, so that when the lead tightens, pressure is applied both to the muzzle and the head.
Pros: easy to get hold of, easy to put on, uses a combination of steering from under chin and pressure on scruff and nose to reduce pulling. Very cheap in comparison to others (except Halti)
Cons: As with others that fasten under the chin, there is a risk of damage to next if pressure is applied suddenly
Similar in action and structure to the Gencon, this collar fastens behind the dog's head, and is a simple figure 8. It puts pressure on the bridge of the dog's nose and behind the head.
Pros: no risk to the neck, simple mechanism
Cons: slightly fiddly as needs the clip under the chin to lie flat for the collar to work


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