My Siberian Husky Dakota is almost 6 months old and already extremely powerful, more so than any other dog I’ve owned. She has inspired my Dogmatic Headcollar Review. Huskies are powerful pulling dogs. I’ve worked hard with Dakota’s leash training since the day she bounded into our lives. On the whole, she’s great on a leash. However, we still have a few issues to iron out, e.g. when she sees another dog or a child, she will suddenly lunge forward, producing a powerful jolt.
It’s not a major issue, but if ever we needed to have our parents to look after her, I’m fairly sure my mum would end up flat on her face. After reading many positive reviews, I decided to give the Dogmatic a shot. I’ve read several people claim that huskies shouldn’t use a Dogmatic or any other headcollar, as they’re supposed to pull. I say nonsense, there’s a time and a place for everything, during a walk is not the time for a husky nor any other dog should be pulling.
Dogmatic is the invention of Susan Lewsley and come about out of necessity. You can read Susan’s story here. The Dogmatic is for dogs that pull and promises to deliver a perfect combination of comfort and control. The Dogmatic Headcollar is in many ways similar to the popular Halti, at least in its purpose but boasts greater comfort and control. It comes in a variety of colours: black, blue, red and orange. You can also choose between a padded, cushioned webbing or a leather design. I opted for the black cushioned version in size 2. The website states size 3 for a husky, but as Dakota is only 6 months old and not nearly fully grown, size 2 was better suited.
- Works with all breeds, regardless of size.
- More control over your dog, who will be not only less excitable but also easier to train.
- One of the complaints of the Halti is that it often rides up over the dog’s eyes, causing discomfort. The Dogmatic claims to have solved this problem with their unique strapping system which goes both under and at the sides of the does nose, to keep it in place.
- Dogmatic allows your dog to eat still, drink and pant freely during use.
- There’s a loop located under the chin strap, where the lead attaches. This is specially designed to move independently from the other straps. Meaning when the dog attempts to pull, the other straps don’t move out of place. This gives the handler complete control.
- The Dogmatic can also be used to reposition your dogs head and keep their mouth closed quickly. This is particularly useful if they were about to eat something off the floor.
What’s In The Box
The Dogmatic came nicely packaged and was easy to open without causing any damage to the box, which is great if you need to return the product due to sizing issues. Everything I’ve read suggests that Dogmatic are great with returns if you happen to order the wrong size.
The box itself contains some basic information about the product, as well as a sizing guide on the back. The package also included 2 leaflets. One was a promo for the product, which seemed a little pointless as I’d already purchased it—the other contained important information such as fitting instructions. In addition to the Dogmatic Headcollar, it also comes with a little rubber name tag. The nice thing about the rubber name tag is that it doesn’t jingle, however, if you don’t want to use the name tag, it’s effortless to remove.
Design and Quality
The overall quality of the product I would consider premium. Each section of the headcollar is padded to provide additional comfort for your dog, and the stitching throughout is flawless. The buckles are stainless steel, although the clasp and adjusters are plastic, I don’t imagine that will pose an issue. The only complaint I have with the design is that it is very heavily branded with the dogmatic logo. Every inch of the straps have a repeating dog and paw design, which I’m guessing some may interpret as cute, but I’d personally have preferred a solid colour. The clasp also features the logo.
I received an email from Zoe at Dogmatic. She was kind enough to give me some insight into their design choices. It was decided to use the repeating pattern on the headcollar so that it could be easily distinguished from other brands. The pattern gives it a more friendly look. It makes sense, and with that in mind, I’m fonder of the design.
Ease Of Use
The headcollar slides over the nose and then fastens around the back of the head with a clasp, making it fairly easy to get on and off, without having to readjust it each time. However, I imagine those with particularly hyperactive huskies struggling a little to get this fitted, at least until the dog gets used to it. Once it was on, her initial reaction was to paw at it, which is to be expected, but once the walk started, she pawed less and less.
Does It Work?
That is the million-dollar question, and I’m pleased to report that it does work, at least for Dakota. I was expecting her to have a much bigger issue with wearing the Dogmatic, but besides a little pawing, she was fine. But best of all, she didn’t pull or lunge, even when exposed to the usual stimulus of children and dogs.
Usually, when a dog or child is within 20 feet of her, she would be overly excited and start to pull but not with the dogmatic. The level of control we now have over her is unparalleled. Not only does it stop the pulling, but it actually allows us to very quickly and easily redirect her attention from anything from other dogs to bits of food on the floor. The video below shows the Dogmatic in action with my husky, Dakota. I had her walk in front so that I could shoot the video, but keep in mind; you ideally want your dog walking at your heal.
I’m sold. It’s really given the desired result and does exactly what it says on the tin, which is exactly what I’d hoped. I don’t want to use the Dogmatic long-term, but instead, use it as an extra training aid. The only downside is the fact it looks a little like a muzzle, and I’m not too fond of the idea of people thinking my dog is wearing it because she’s aggressive, but the same is true for any other brand of headcollar. Some dogs are undoubtedly going to take longer to get used to wearing the dogmatic, but do persevere and keep the experience as positive as possible.
Tips Using The Dogmatic
- As with any training, ensure the use of the dogmatic is as positive of an experience as possible. Offer treats to help divert attention from the headcollar.
- For full-grown huskies, size 3 should be ideal.
- Adjust the straps before putting the headcollar on, as trying to do so whilst your husky is wearing it, will be too difficult.
- Use the Dogmatic as a training aid, get your husky used to walk at your heal, vs walking in front. When your dog is healing and walking as you want him to, offer him a treat.
- Please give a little slack so that your dog can still turn their head left and right.