Today I’m sharing with you how I get brilliant behaviours with my dogs. No matter what you are training, the key to success is to build value for what you want your dog to do and avoid your dog rehearsing undesirable behaviours. I’ll walk you through it step by step using walking on a leash as an example, and for me, that starts with using a Head Halter. Now before you turn off, you need to know that how I use a Head Halter is very different to nearly everyone out there. I’m also covering how not to use a Head Halter and clearing up common misconceptions.
In the episode you'll hear:
- Why behaviours get inadvertently chained and how to avoid it.
- How to set your dog up for success and keep your dog safe.
- Why the use of a Head Halter is controversial.
- What walking your dog has to do with driving a car.
- About the importance of protective gear.
- What you should never do with a Head Halter.
- Why I have to earn the right to put a Head Halter on my dog.
- How I condition my puppy or dog to a Head Halter.
- Why you need to know what you want your dog to do.
- The 3 things I train for the times my dog and I come across a distraction when walking.
- Everything I do differently when conditioning and using a Head Halter.
- How we can be fair to our dogs by rehearsing success.
- Why I let my dogs have choice.
- Strategies to use in the face of distractions when you are out with your dog.
- What my ultimate goal is when I use a Head Halter.
- Blog Post: How Do I Train My Dog NOT To Jump Up?
- Podcast Episode 29: Understanding and Preventing Reactivity and Aggression in Your Dog
- Podcast Episode 39: Is a Resistant Dog a Stubborn Dog?
- Podcast Episode 4: T.E.M.P. (Tail, Eyes/Ears, Mouth, Posture)
- Podcast Episode 24: Help for the Dog who Chases Chipmunks, Bicycles, and the Neighbor’s Cat
- Video Blog Post: How do I Stop My Dog from Pulling on the Leash?
- Video Blog Post: Quick Tip for Dog Walking and Distractions
How do you allow a dog to sniff on the walks while wearing a head halter?
Hi Susan that video above on head Halter is very helpful my dog is 2years a rescue my dog loves other dog and people we will be trying these practice and are loving the other games my dog is a patter dale loves to run I am working towards having a recall soi can let her of lead at park . I only have a small garden a few feet take her out a twice each day it is a lot of work looking forward to rest of course thanks
Susan, as usual you make perfect sense. Thank you for explain HH in detail. I bought one today.
Q. How do you get from point A to point B as at some point you have to move forward? For example I take my dog to a quiet place or I leave the home and get half way out. Yet on the return leg we end up going backwards I can never then get back to the car/front door
I have recently purchased a gentle leader head halter as my 1 year old dog has been a struggle to keep on a loose leash. I understand that I need to condition him to the head halter and build up to using it on walks but I am confused how I should handle walks in the mean time. Should I just continue to walk him the way I used to, or is there a recommended approach to follow during this conditioning/learning/transition period?
I have conditioned my puppy to the head halter and made sure it fits properly. He is happy to have me put it on. But I notice a BIG difference in his TEMP when I take him for a walk with the HH on vs. with just his regular flat collar. It’s like the joy has been sucked out of his body. He no longer makes nearly as much eye contact with me. He walks with his head and tail down. Sure, he is docile and much easier to control, but he is joyless. When I give him permission to go sniff, instead of happily sniffing and then happily coming back to resume our walk, he tries to roll in the grass to get the head halter off. I have tried spontaneous games of Search, talking to him, rewarding him etc. — but so far he exudes despair when walking with the HH. This is a puppy who is very good off leash and who is wonderful at checking in. Is it possible he will just never be the same when he has his HH on? Or is there something different/more I should do besides the steps in this video? Thanks!
Maybe he doesn’t need a head halter. If he is doing well without one – why use it? Every dog is different.
I have struggled walking my German Shorthair Pointer for 4 years. I have used a pronged collar with no success. She is so highly distracted to everything outdoors…birds, people and especially squirrels. Walking has not been positive for either of us. I signed up for HS the dog and have started over with my girl. I have introduced the head halter and she is ok with it even from the beginning. This video was very helpful in explaining how Susan uses the head halter. We are working at home and have progressed to our back yard. She is doing great so far. Thanks so much for showing me how to correctly use a head halter.
The first puppy school I went to with my dog at 3 months of age, they whacked a head halter on him (came with the course), and as the example dog he was led around by it and almost lifted off his feet. It was appalling. He was really distressed and we never went back. I thought I would never countenance a head halter again but what you say makes sense, so I’ll look at more of your podcasts and experiment in the gentle way over time that you talk about and see if he would take one again or if he was too distressed as a young pup to do it again. He is a gentle german shepherd who has just turned one year old, so is still a young man, but by the same token his puppy days are not that long ago. Thank you so much for your gentle training techniques that build confidence in our dogs.
This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have a rescue dog that lunges terribly at seeing dogs, people, bikes at any distance and goes into the red zone and is totally uncontrollable. We are doing dog obedience classes but this lunging behavior is not something talked about in obedience class, as this is a behavioral issue. It was suggested to me to find a behaviorist in my area, we live in a small rural community so no behaviorist, so found a trainer. Trainer trains using submission training, and using prong collar. While I hate prong collars I decided to give it a try at the trainers. It did help, but I still don’t like the idea of using force, or pain, so I have not gone back to trainer. I tried a head collar, but my dog after 2 weeks, kept pawing at the collar, so I stopped using it. Now that I have watched your podcase, I will work with the head collar as you have described. Now I know there is hope for my dog to be better and enjoy walks. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
Hi Susan and team. Thanks for another great podcast. We are moving to a new house in an over 55’s community, wondering if you have any advice, maybe a podcast?
Any thoughts on training two dogs with a halter at once? I’m limited on time to walk our dogs separately. (We walk twice daily.) Curious if you have pointers on how to handle if I can’t walk separately?
How can I learn to train my dog to do the turn and change sides? thanks!
I missed how you put a padding on the gentle leader to prevent it cutting into their nose bridge? What do you pad it with?
I have a 5 month old border collie/heeler pup – sweet dog – very HIGH energy, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a number of your podcasts now, and have started on crate games. One of the problems I’ve had from the beginning is getting my dog to walk, or stand, even take a few steps with out her whipping up and grabbing the leash. Game on – oh, this is so much fun! – want to play tug-a-war mom? You get the picture. Maybe this will change once I get the head halter. Any tips?
Thanks! Love the podcasts!
Love my swag brand head collar no slipping and comfortable to wear.
I.wish I’d had this advice when I first got mo and y dog as a puppy. But is it possible now to undo and retrain behaviour with a 7yr old dog with a history of reinforcement of undesirable behaviour?
Wish I had started using a head collar, and knowing how to use it earlier. I am catching up .
Loved this podcast, we have ordered a headcollar for our dog and this information from Susan has given me the knowledge needed to start my dog off correctly in wearing the headcollar. Thank you so much.
I’ve been conditioning my dog to wear the head halter for a couple of months now. After watching this podcast I am ready to take the next step. Your expectations for the dog are so clear that I can’t imagine a lack of success. Thank you.
Let us know how you make out! Lynda (TeamSusan)
Thank you! This was a fantastic podcast! I use a head halter and will be integrating some of the things I haven’t done yet that you talk about.
Great advice, well delivered. Thanks!
I always felt that I was a failure because I use a gentle leader, I feel much better now. My dog doesn’t walk 100 percent by my side but I know how to correct that now. Thank you.
Fantastic pod cast. I bought a head halter a while ago as even on a harness my 9 month puppy chokes but had no idea how to train him on it. So used harness plus head halter to slowly introduce him to it. He copes a bit but also paws at it, and distractions he pulls. Best advice given susan I will go back to the beginning and start conditioning him with it and building all the foundations. I just love your training methods. Such a lovely way to be with your dog.
The hand slide looks feasible when the dogs head is at my thigh or hip level (within length of my arm), but how about short-legged dogs (and puppies)? I don’t want to walk stooped every time we approach or retreat from a distraction, nor does it seem a good idea to lift the front of my puppy up via the HH.
At what age is it safe to use a head halter? And which style/brand fits golden retrievers best? My Molly is a 13 week GR puppy.
This clarifies for me how and why I need to work with my dog on wearing a head halter. Your explanations are so clear and relatable. Are you sure that you weren’t an educator in a previous existence?
Thank you for talking about this, I’ve never used one before and you’ve convinced me to get one for my 9 week old puppy to get used to ready for after her vaccinations. It would be great to see footage of how you use it with This!
I agree in theory, but I’ve go a two year oldish aussie/bc foster, who was being trained on an electric collar set at vibrate, which did not work, glad we got him out of that situation. But he hears things, sees things that trigger him and he tugs, pulls and wants to heard anything walking with or near us. How do I get him some exercise while I’m conditioning for a head halter… I do not have a fenced yard, so I also have to walk him out to urinate, etc. Your thoughts on conditioning an older dog while still getting out on a leash…