Headcollar Training Success
Updated: Mar 18
We can dramatically increase our dog's acceptance of a headcollar by giving him a fabulous introduction to it!
Here's how to do just that.
First, you’ll want to choose a headcollar. Here’s our guide to three of our favorites.
Next, you’ll want to teach your dog to “Get dressed” in the headcollar. See the Animal Insight video on headcollar training for a reminder of how to do this. (Above as well as linked here.)
After your dog is comfortable putting the headcollar on, he should have several short (~5 min.) sessions where he gets to wear the headcollar without having a leash attached to it. This will help him associate it with good things and to become more used to and accepting of it. Put the headcollar on and immediately feed him dinner, give him a stuffed Kong, or have a short training or play session. As soon as the Kong is done or the training session is over, take the headcollar off.
Next, you'll add the leash. First, clip the leash both to the headcollar and a flat or martingale collar. (This helps ease the transition from feeling pressure on the neck or chest to pressure on the back of the neck and muzzle.)
Have some practice runs inside before heading outside with it. Do this for several walks. (Your dog may need to gradually lengthen how long he has the headcollar on for.)
Finally, you'll transition to having the leash directly on the headcollar. It's a good idea to have a safety clip (see photo below) as a back up! This one was made by taking a coupler for small dogs (so they can be walked on one leash) and cutting off one half. This way, if the headcollar fails in some way, the leash is still attached to the collar!