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HALTI! Thank you, Dr. Mugford
August 2, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
(Photo: Benson modeling his Halti at Bark In The Park)
I recently discovered one of the greatest inventions since the pooper scooper. The “Halti”. It’s a gentle leader head collar that allows you to once again enjoy taking your pal for a walk without him/her pulling you down the street and choking him/herself in the process.
While it may resemble a muzzle, it is actually a comfortable, loose-fitting restraint that allows your dog to breathe and pant freely and bark annoyingly. Invented by Dr Roger Mugford, the Halti’s revolutionary design is based on the same principle as a horse’s headcollar - if you guide the head, the body [should] follow. The Halti comes in six sizes. And, for dogs with sensitive noses such as Boxers or Shar Pei’s they make a padded Halti. (learn more - click here)
Fellow dog lover, Lori, (Benson’s mom) bought a Halti after learning about it from Tucker’s mom (another fellow co-worker). I asked Lori to tell us about her experience with the collar which can be found at your local pet store or online. I found several styles on amazon.com and also at companyofanimals.co.uk.
While no device is perfect, anyone who owns a Halti can’t imagine life with active fur babies without one.
No, it's not a muzzle.
We took our guys out this summer to both of the Altoona Curve’s sponsored "Bark in the Park" events at the stadium. While most "dog" people didn't hesitate to pet Benson (who was sporting a Halti), others seemed to shy away asking why he was wearing a muzzle. There were a few however, that gushed over the fact that they were not the only ones that LOVED the Halti.
When we first got Benson, I would take him on regular evening walks until the days started getting shorter. I was worried what we might run into after dark. One of our neighbors at the time didn't have a trash hauler and usually kept a healthy heap of garbage in their back yard. As you might imagine, skunks LOVED this place and frequented our neighborhood often. Because I was afraid to take Benson for his walks after dark we didn't get to go often through that first winter. He grew a lot and forgot his manners. When we resumed our walks in the spring, he started pulling on his leash . He pulled a LOT. I was in need of help or at least suggestions as to what to try before he tore my arm out of it's socket.
A co-worker told me about the Halti Head Collar. The Halti, or gentle leader fits around the dog’s muzzle and ears much like a horse halter. The idea behind the Halti is that the dog will follow his nose. With a small tug on the leash, the Halti snugs against the snout without hurting your dog and leads him in the direction you want him to go -- instead of him taking you on whatever crazy adventure he has in mind.
I was skeptical at first so my co-worker let me borrow her Halti. From the very first try I was amazed! It worked! Wonderfully. I quickly found a Halti of our own. It took Benson a while to get use to this contraption on his head, but he now knows when he sees it that we are going for a walk. He does still try to pull a little when we first start out but within 20 or 30 feet he straightens out and follows wherever I go.
The one drawback I have had with the Halti is that it uses plastic clips. I worry about what would happen if one of the clips were to break. So, I usually have a leash on the Halti and a second one connected to his collar. It may look odd but I prefer to be sure he is safe and secure if a clip should snap.
The Halti is easy to adjust, put on and take off, and doesn't restrict your dog. They can eat, drink, bark, pant, yawn and play with the Halti on.
The only other issue Lori and I (and other owners) found with the Halti was that there is a chance a dog could wiggle it’s snout out of it if he/she positions him/herself just right. Since the Halti isn‘t made to confine your dog (like a muzzle), but to serve as a gentle guide, it fits more loosely than a muzzle or choke collar, which is why Lori’s idea of a second leash is a good one.
We’d love to hear your experience with the Halti if you’ve been lucky enough to discover this gem or your experience if you decide to try it!