An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jake vs the Halti head collar -- no, it's not an S&M device

We have a dog named Jake. Or more like a small horse. Okay, he's a mix of greyhound and golden lab. Heavy on the golden lab. He's got the height and lankiness of a greyhound, the speed of a greyhound, but the energy, coat, tail, and nose of a lab. That lab tail can clear off the coffee table with a single swipe. He can set his head on the back of the couch without stretching, all 4 paws on the floor.

And at that, he's only about 68 lbs. It's funny seeing him curl up in the cat bed. Yep, that tall dog can curl up and fit completely within a medium sized cat bed.

Grey's are sight hounds, which means they'll chase anything that moves. Labs are scent hounds, which means they'll chase anything they smell. Jake, having the best of both worlds, will chase anything he sees OR smells. Control can be an issue.

I'm not the type of person who lets my dog run around unchecked. With a part-grey, you just can't.I had him in obedience classes last year, and he did okay. He really shined on the last day of class for his diploma. And like any one who can take a test well, he proceeded to do a mental core-dump of everything we learned over the previous 6 weeks. So Jake is often my run companion. When we walk or run together, he's always a step ahead, or trying to be. If you've ever read Maynard Hershon's Half-Wheel Hell, you know what I mean -- he's constantly trying to get in front. Just a little bit. He needs a lot of reminding.

Even with a Martidale collar, a regular leash has no effect on him. None. That darn lab in him...

We tried the Illusion collar (the one marketed by The Dog Whisperer) -- nada.

It wasn't until we tried a "head collar" that we got him somewhat under control on walks and runs. By a semi-gentle tug on the leash, we got his attention and he'd heel in... for a few seconds. But he still had a tendency to pull. Constantly.

As that collar wore, we recently replaced it with a Halti head collar ( see photo at right from the Halti site). I was actually amazed at the difference, even from the previous head collar. The nose strap is thicker, which is usually a detriment with a sight hound (anything in their eyes REALLY bothers them), but the way it cinches is much more attention-getting (and not painful), and when the collar is loose, it's much freer, allowing the dog to drink and breathe normally. It's sized for various breeds, and with Jake we got the size 3. It seems to be a prefect fit, with easy adjustment of the strap which goes behind his head.

I've taken Jake out with the Halti twice now, most recently for an 8 mile jaunt around (and around) the neighborhood trails and roads. He was perfectly behaved, even when there were other loose dogs nearby. I was impressed with both him and the collar.

It ran a little more than the head collar I'd gotten last year (by maybe $5), but with the way this one is working, I wish I'd spent the money the first time around.

Either that or Jake is just faking me out again...


Unknown said...

Hi. I was just wondering if you are still using your Halti collar. I recently rescued a very active Border Collie to be my new running partner and we are having problems with her pulling. I have tried a harness and other collars and after logging over 500 miles with her, I think my left arm is longer than the other arm now!! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

brider (aka David) said...

Yup, I still use it all the time. He does need an occasional reminder (mostly just stopping and having him come back beside me), but the amount of pulling is SO much less than with any other type of collar we've tried. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Awesome! Thanks for the input. What is the longest you have run with your dog? I heard I should wait until she is 2 to do long distance. We have done 8 as her longest so far. I would love to do a marathon with her, but I don't know if that is possible. I see you are from Puyallup. We lived there for 3 years. It's very pretty there and I'll bet great for triatholons. I want to start doing them. I have the running and swimming down, just need to add the cycling. Any suggestions on a beginner road bike?

brider (aka David) said...

I've had him up to 10 miles, though in the last two he was losing interest quickly. Most runs with him are in the 3-6 mile range.

As for bikes, I'd say take a look at the offerings at, lots of good choices for first time road bikes.