Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Product Review: Halti Head Collar

The Halti, by The Company of Animals, is a head halter or head collar. It comes in six sizes to fit nearly any dog, and is usually made from black nylon webbing. Haltis can occasionally be found in red, and I swear I've seen them in blue and brown at some point in the last 20 years.

Um yes, that's a nice flattering expression Uly.
Photo by Erin Koski
This is the first head collar I can remember seeing in a pet store, way back in the 1980's. It would be years before I would see any other type, and for a long time I thought "Halti" was a synonym for "head collar".

The safety strap on the Halti is a relatively new addition, the original didn't have any sort of backup system if the dog managed to pull out of the collar itself. I appreciate this feature because I have seen many dogs escape from these thing. Some companies claim that no dog should be able to escape from a properly-adjusted head collar of their brand, but these ignore dogs like sighthounds and also Brisbane, who have heads smaller than their necks. No matter how tight I make the neck strap of the Halti, Brisbane can still back out of it when he really wants to. I usually use a second leash or a Euro lead attached to a harness as a backup for a head collar, the safety strap is still useful though.

The nose loop on the Halti sits a bit lower on the dog's muzzle than some other head collars. This makes it more comfortable for some dogs. So far the Halti is the head collar Brisbane is least unhappy wearing. Given that it is often easier for dogs to accept, it was also the first I tried to use with Uly. After spending a couple of weeks teaching him that having the head halter on his face meant happy fun treat time, I tried to take him for a walk in it. Aside from occasionally pawing at his face, Uly was fine until he went into a death roll two blocks from the house. While thrashing wildly he managed to get the nose loop all the way down to the tip of his nose, and then caught or twisted it such that it cinched tight. The loop pinching the tip of his nose made him sneeze continuously and thrash even harder until I got the halter unbuckled and pulled it off. Since the other end of the leash was attached to his harness, Uly was still safe and we were able to resume our walk immediately.

Pros: Soft and gentle on delicate faces. Sits well away from the eyes to help protect delicate facial structures. Seems to be more comfortable that other popular head halters for some dogs, including Brisbane. Closes the dog's mouth when pulled tight, which can be useful when managing a dog that may bite. Safety loop helps keep the dog safely leashed even if they manage to slip out of the Halti.

Cons: Easier to escape than some other head halters. Does not come in fun colors. Low placement of nose strap can lead to slightly alarming nose entrapment on certain klutzy ridiculous dogs.

Bottom Line: What makes for a happy head halter experience for one dog will not necessarily make for a happy head halter experience for another. The tradeoff for the kinder, lower, more comfortable nose loop is that the Halti is easier to escape and can somehow cinch down on the end of the nose in somewhat bizarre circumstances. It's still one of the two easiest to find head halters though, and I have no plans to stop using or recommending it anytime soon

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