The Head Collar: How to Use It Correctly

In this article, we'll tell you about the head collar, a really useful training accessory... as long as you know how to use it!
The Head Collar: How to Use It Correctly

Last update: 18 October, 2019

There are many different methods for training a dog. Some are recommended by professionals whereas others are tips that have worked for friends, neighbors or acquaintances. Regardless of where they come from, it’s important to know which work and which get good results so that they don’t end up having a negative impact on your dog’s physical or mental health. One such method is to use a head collar.

What’s a head collar?

If this is your first time adopting a pet, you probably don’t know what this is. No problem, we’ll tell you everything about it. You might have had some trouble controlling your dog, particularly when out on walks. In fact, it may even be the case that they’re walking you and not the other way around!

When this happens, it’s a good idea to choose a collar that can help you to train your dog. This is where the head collar comes in. One of the reasons that your dog is behaving like this is because they haven’t yet understood their place in the family. Far from feeling like a family member, your dog probably sees itself as the leader of the pack and, as a result, thinks that you should be doing what they want to do.

A dog wearing a head collar.

It’s really vital that you correct this before you go out more because, depending on the breed you’ve adopted, they could become more aggressive with you or other family members as time goes on. A head collar can be useful for correcting this behavior, but you should always use it in conjunction with positive reinforcement, never with shouting or punishment.

How to use a head collar

As we said at the start, many friends and acquaintances will probably offer you plenty of advice on how to use this collar. But when it comes to something this delicate, we recommend getting advice from a professional.

If you don’t fit and use the collar properly, you’ll not achieve anything. You may even make things worse. So, learn how to fit and use it correctly. Although at first glance, the head collar might look like a muzzle, it isn’t.

A dog lying down at the vet.

Some tips

Here are some tips for using it:

  • Don’t use one before your dog is eight months old. Although it’s always best to train a pet from a young age, you won’t be able to use a head collar before eight months of age, regardless of the breed. Remember that your dog’s bones and muscles need time to develop and putting too much pressure on these could cause problems.
  • They can’t wear it all day. Even though you might see good results and want to use it at home to continue training, we don’t recommend that your dog wears one for more than 18 hours a day. If you want to train your dog at home, alternate between using the collar at home and in the street. Needless to say, the maximum 18 hours is for adult dogs; if you’re just starting, you’ll have to gradually increase the hours of use.


  • Don’t pull it. The head collar is for training your dog using small gestures to show them where to walk or when to stop. It’s not to be used for pulling strongly or aggressively. Not only could you hurt your dog, but they may turn against you.
  • Firm but not tight. Remember that this collar is not a muzzle, as we previously mentioned. Therefore, it should be fitted firmly but without preventing your dog from opening their mouth and panting normally.

Do you understand the function of a head collar now? It’s a very useful method for training your dog. But remember, any form of dog training should be based on love and respect. Always!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.