If your dog pulls on the leash during walks or other outings, you might be one of the many pet parents who can benefit from fitting their dog with a head halter. Head halters fit over a dog’s nose and behind her ears, attaching to the handler’s leash via a simple ring, much like a traditional collar.
When the dog pulls, however, the head collar puts gentle pressure on the nose, which is often enough to discourage the dog’s pulling behavior and make for better, more comfortable walks. Here is more about this convenient tool and how you can fit your dog for one:
How the Head Halter Works
In addition to placing gentle pressure on a dog’s nose, a head halter allows pet parents to control the direction of their dog’s head, which in turn allows the handler to control the dog’s entire body. A head halter is not the correct tool for all dogs and should only be utilized for dogs that pull.
Fitting the Head Halter
Fitting a head halter is easy. Head halters are available in a variety of sizes and you should have no problem finding one that fits your canine companion. To fit the head halter, follow these steps:
1) Place the Dog’s Nose in the Hole: Hold the head halter open and gently guide the dog’s nose into the halter’s nose hole. The dog’s nose should not be constricted by the nose loop and you should be able to slide a finger between the halter body and the dog’s skin comfortably.
2) Clip the Straps behind the Dog’s Ears: Once the dog’s nose is in the halter, you will need to clip the halter straps behind the dog’s ears, directly at the base of the skull. These straps should fit snugly but not be tight enough to cut off circulation or restrict the movement of the dog’s head in any way. Keep in mind that the halter can feel strange to dogs, so offer plenty of praise.
3) Repeat The Above Steps Until Your Dog Seems Comfortable: Give a little treat to your dog every time you can complete steps one and two. Remember not to clip the leash on just yet. Take your time, be patient and calm and then, only when your pooch seems happy with the halter on, move on to the next step.
4) Clipping the Leash to the Halter: Most head halters funnel down to a loop beneath the dog’s chin, which ends in a metal clip. The leash should be clipped to this piece of the halter before a walk and should never be jerked or pulled with excessive force. Additionally, the dog should not wear the halter longer than needed and the halter should be removed immediately after use.
Helping Your Dog Enjoy the Head Halter
When introducing a head halter, it is important to create a positive experience. After you have ensured that the halter fits and is not hurting or pinching your dog anywhere, make getting used to the halter fun by employing more positive reinforcement.
Play a game the dog enjoys and offer praise with just the halter on and not the leash. By doing this, you ensure that the dog has a positive association with the head halter and does not regard it as a solely disciplinary tool.
The Benefit of the Head Halter
For dogs that pull a head halter is a gentle, effective and humane way to correct poor behavior and encourage attentive walks. Head halters are more humane than spiked choke chains and can be used as a training tool on young puppies. Many dogs respond well to head halters and many pet parents find them to be an effective way to improve a dog’s behavior and produce better, more enjoyable walks.