A head halter is a useful tool for your strong German Shepherd that pulls, but it won’t solve all your problems on its own.
With a head halter, you can walk your German Shepherd safely and without all the pressure on your shoulder, hand, and arm. Use a headcollar if you’re tired of your dog taking you for a walk instead of the other way around!
Additionally, many dog humane societies, like the Louisiana SPCA state that the best option for strong pullers is the head collar.
And, the VCA Animal Hospital supports head haltis as a humane way to control a powerful German Shepherd that might be too hard to handle otherwise.
The Best Halti for German Shepherds
Safe for puppies?
PetSafe Premier Gentle Leader
Yes – as young as 8 weeks old
Instructional professional DVD for ease of training
Halti Nylon Head Collar
No – due to muzzle option
Provides a dual-action soft muzzle for behavior issues
Halti OptiFit Nylon Dog Halter
Yes – as young as 12 weeks old
Extra safety clip for slippery dogs that can escape a halti
Walk ‘n Train Polyester Dog Headcollar
Yes – as young as 12 weeks old
Heavy-duty quick release for easy off/on and frequent removal
Kurgo Snout About Head Halter
Yes – as young as 12 weeks old
Wider, more comfortable straps for dogs who don’t like regular haltis
PetSafe Gentle Leader Chic Dog Headcollar & Leash
Yes – as young as 12 weeks old
Complete training kit with book, DVD, chick halti, and coordinating lead
Sporn Head Control Halti
Yes – as young as 12 weeks old
Halter easily converts to a standard collar for versatility
1. Pet Safe Premier Gentle Leader: Strong Enough for Large Breeds & Gentle Enough for Puppies
If you’ve just gotten a German Shepherd puppy, then now’s the time to take control of your pack walks using a head collar that’s safe for puppies as young as 8-weeks-old (but strong enough for adults).
The Pet Safe Premier Gentle Leader Halter has been around for a long time for good reason.
With dogs of all sizes, shapes, and ages, the product has a long history of proven success. If you’ve never tried a head halter, then this brand is for you to start your halti training with.
There’s an instructional DVD to get you started on the correct way to introduce your dog to wearing a halter included for free.
The collar sits high on your dog’s neck and doesn’t put pressure on the throat which prevents choking and coughing.
Safe to use on puppies as young as 8 weeks old.
Converts to a regular collar if needed.
The reinforced padded nose strap offers less fur wear and skin irritations for your German Shepherd’s sensitive skin.
2. Halti Nylon Halter: Double-Duty Headcollar and Soft Muzzle
Halti is a name brand that’s known in the dog training industry.
Their head halter has no metal parts that come in contact with your dogs’ skin.
This model sits further down the nose and away from the eyes to cause less discomfort for your German Shepherd.
The Halti Dog Headcollar offers the handler additional perks.
The Halti is also washable and fully adjustable. If you want a training tool that offers dual-action muzzling and self-correcting action, then this Halti brand may suit your needs.
It is usable as both a passive means to stop your dog from lunging and pulling or as an active training aid to teach nice walking manners.
Dual-action: features on-off muzzling to close your dog’s jaws for any safety concerns.
Unlike the Gentle Leader listed earlier, you cannot “lock” the muzzle band, so it tightens down when the dog pulls but loosens when they relax. Many owners prefer this type of halti for a gentler correction.
No metal pieces come into contact with your dog’s skin.
3. Halti OptiFit: For All Shapes and Lengths of Faces
If you think you might have a challenge fitting your Shepherd for a head halter, then consider the Halti Optifit.
The Halti Optifit is especially for dogs with longer noses that traditional headcollars don’t fit and slip off their faces.
The halter includes a self-adjusting chin strap and specially designed cheek straps that follow the contours of your dog’s face. It won’t slide down the nose and bothers your dog’s eyes less.
If you’re concerned about fitting your dog or German Shepherd mix breed into a head halter, try the Optifit model first. Many owners also prefer a self-adjusting chin strap, so their dog doesn’t feel pressure when they walk nicely and tend to pull less.
Suits hard to fit dogs
Doesn’t push into your dog’s eyes
Reflective cheek straps increase night visibility for added safety
Chinstrap self-adjusts, meaning if your dog puts pressure and tension on the collar the chin strap tightens for a correction – when they release their tension the chin strap loosens
4. Walk’n Train Dog Halter: For Added Safety and Puppies
This halter is one of the few models on the market with an added safety strap.
The Walk’n Train Dog Head Halter keeps your dog safe in case your dog pulls the halter off their face.
The provided safety strap attaches to its collar and keeps your dog from escaping from you. So, it connects your dog to your leash, saving you from having to chase your dog if they escape the head halter!
The heavy-duty quick-release is great for owners who are on the go frequently and need a speedy way to secure their dog safely. This model also self-corrects so there’s no pressure on your dog’s nose when they walk in a good heel position.
Self-correcting chin strap only tightens when your dog pulls but rewards them once they stop as the strap loosens
Added safety strap attaches for extra security to your dog’s collar
A heavy-duty release makes taking on and off the halter easy
6. PetSafe Gentle Leader Chic Dog Headcollar & Leash: The Complete Training Package
The Gentle Leader Headcollar Complete Training package is best for first-time head halter users since there’s so much information to using the halti.
The set includes the head halter, matching leash and instructional book and DVD.
If you’re worried you might need step-by-step help to get you started with using a head halter, then this is for you.
It’s also a perfect gift for a new German Shepherd puppy owner!
The DVD is packed full of helpful hints, especially on how to help your dog get used to wearing the halter. The book and DVD are easy to understand and put to use in real-world scenarios and are both included for free as part of the set.
If you’re a visual learner this will definitely help you understand training your dog with the headcollar.
Best for those owners who need extra help in using the head halter
Chic designs for those who prefer patterns over typical black
Neoprene padded nose strap for added comfort
Provides gentle control to your dog’s neck, reducing choking and throat pressure
The Sporn head control dog halter is unique by design.
Traditional head halters wrap under both the top and bottom of the muzzle.
But the Sporn model only covers the top of the muzzle and integrates the rest of the halter into the collar.
If you’ve tried a traditional halter that didn’t work, then give the Sporn a try.
This headcollar is more easily tolerated by sensitive dogs who don’t like wearing the Halti models.
It’s built with a larger nose piece that helps many dogs wear it more easily than other traditional headcollars and offers gentle guidance behind your dog’s shoulders, not his face, to instantly stop your dog from pulling while giving him comfort.
Padded nose bridge to offer less rubbing and irritation
Easy fit for energetic dogs and busy moving puppies
Halter converts quickly to a neck collar only giving this halti multiple uses
The special design has less pressure on your GSD’s face and is more comfortable for them to wear than a traditional head halter
Strong, durable material for powerful German Shepherds that lunge
This halti offers gentle guidance behind your German Shepherd’s shoulders and not his face to stop them from pulling while providing a more comfortable walk
Best German Shepherd Halti and Head Halter Training Tips
Many dogs readily accept their new halti or head halter, but some dogs find them uncomfortable if they’re not introduced properly to wearing them.
The adjustment process to wearing a halti or headcollar is different for all dogs.
How to Train Your German Shepherd to Wear the Halti or Head Halter Collar
It’s a wise idea to introduce your dog slowly to using this new tool following the tips provided.
Try introducing your dog with treats to the halter. Give them a treat for sniffing the halter, another for letting you put it on them for a few seconds, and then take it off.
During the first week of use, place the collar on during mealtime immediately before and after feeding for them to get accustomed to the collar.
Put the halti or head collar on your dog daily for about 3 minutes or less and while in the collar give your German Shepherd plenty of praise and treats to help them associate the halti with positive actions.
From there, continue to repeat these steps while they wear the head halter indoors.
Then, try to take your German Shepherd on a 5-minute walk while giving praise and treats for a positive outcome.
If they seem too overwhelmed, turn around gently and lead them back home to work on acclimating them to the halti with more treats and praise indoors.
Try another walk later.
Understand this tool may take longer for some owners than others. Keep working in very short increments with your dog to acclimate them to the halter.
Use all these tips to help your dog adjust to the new tool. Have patience and stick with the training.
How NOT to Use Your Halti or Head Collar
Even the best head collars for German Shepherds take time and patience to learn to use appropriately.
But, there are some things you might accidently do that make your dog dislike their head halter.
Use the tool in a positive way – don’t use it for punishment or to get your dog to stop barking as that’s not what it’s designed for.
Don’t jerk your dog around by the leash with the head collar attached since this can cause injury to your dog.
Use only gentle guidance to coax your dog to follow you or guide your dog in the direction you want to go.
The headcollar is not meant to prevent barking. Your GSD should still freely open their mouth to pant, drink water, or take small treats from you.
Eventually, with positive training, your dog adjusts to the halter and becomes more enjoyable to walk.
The best headcollar for German Shepherds is one that allows you to have more control over them while on walks and is comfortable for them to wear.
Keep trying until you find one that you both like and enjoy.
Having a healthy German Shepherd also means meeting their physical needs, too. Not just walking them, but a complete fitness program.
Choosing the Best Halti for a German Shepherd and Training Them
There are so many models to choose from it’s sometimes overwhelming to pick the best halti for your German Shepherd!
But using a training halti is only half the battle.
While you can buy the best tools to help your German Shepherd, they’ll still need plenty of fun and interesting training to learn how to become the dog of your dreams.
💡 German Shepherds are one of the smartest breeds and need plenty of mental and brain stimulation, and Brain Training for Dogs sets your dog apart from the pack using fun games to develop your dog’s innate talents.
If you haven’t already started training your German Shepherd then now’s the time!
You’ll feel accomplished and proud to walk your beautiful, well-behaved dog through your neighborhood with the best tool and training for the job.
And, you’ll be more at ease when you have a trained dog that listens to your commands and is the envy of every dog owner in town.
🐾 And that’s much less embarrassing and stressful for both you and your German Shepherd.
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
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