Halti headcollar. A golden retriever is shown in the red halti headcollar. It has a number of arrows pointing to parts of the dog, with text at the end of the arrows. The text (capital letters in red, non-capital letters in black) says: "NECK FRIENDLY: no pressure on joints" "EYE FRIENDLY noseband lies well away from the eyes" "NOSE FRIENDLY: minimal movement of noseband" "FREEDOM TO PANT: slack chin straps" "ON/OFF MUZZLE ACTION: manage aggression" "MAXIMISES STEERING reduces pulling" "HALTI LINK: for additional security""

Halti Headcollar

Halti Headcollar, £6.69, Amazon.co.uk

I’ve always kept my dog muzzled when out and about. I trust him completely not to hurt a person, but he’s an ex-racing greyhound who likes to chase cats, and I’m well aware that if he caught a cat and did want to hurt it I’d struggle to stop him, so keeping him muzzled avoids the problem. Obviously I keep him on a lead also but the muzzle allows a second level of security.

However, the muzzle makes him look intimidating and is getting in the way of the training I am trying to do with him. I don’t like that people feel afraid of him when he’s the softest dog ever, and I want to be working on picking things up from the ground when I drop them. For that reason, I bought a Halti headcollar, to see if that works as an alternative.

Its main utility is in helping people train their dogs not to pull on the lead, and to walk quietly beside them. That isn’t something I struggle with with my boy, but I do want to make sure I have a way of controlling him perfectly, which that would offer. It also sits very loosely on the face, tightening around the muzzle if the dog lunges, which I’m hoping will offer me a solution.

He’s never really liked being muzzled, but as an ex-racer he’s tolerated it – they’re used to running in muzzles. Working with him on the Halti Headcollar is an exercise in slow progress, encouraging him to look forward to me getting it out because it means treats.

I’ve only used it very lightly with him thus far, and I use it in combination with the Julius K9 IDC Powerharness and the 3 peaks running belt, so even if I lose my grip on his lead he’s still under control. He stands still and waits if I drop my lead, but I don’t want to rely on that. He’s been a bit unhappy with the Halti headcollar thus far, so I’m returning to showing him it with lots of treats.

It’s going to take a lot of work on both of our parts before we’re comfortable with it, but I’m very optimistic that it’ll be a useful tool.