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A Head for Training

Birdie wearing a head collar

Head collars, like the Gentle Leader or Halti, are just one important training tool that IHDI uses with our Hearing Dog trainees to help them learn the basics of how to walk nicely and calmly on a leash!

You're not alone if you think this strap looks like a muzzle, and we want you to know that these two items function very differently!  Muzzles are used as a preventative tool that prohibits a dog from using their mouth, while a head collar allows a dog full use of their mouth and acts more similar to a harness. Head collars for dogs were inspired by horse halters, which are generally recognized as the primary way to lead horses, and they allow a dog to still eat, drink, hold toys, and cool themselves by panting.  Their special design can be helpful for working with dogs that are excitable, jump up, or pull hard on a traditional collar. Head collars are calming for some dogs and require a lighter hand on the leash, making walks more enjoyable for everyone! A head collar is a valuable tool, but it's important to note that it is not a lifelong approach for our trainees.