All Things Dog

Head Halters and Your Dog

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Some people mistake a halter for a snout-covering, freedom-restricting muzzle device. It's not. In fact, today's head halters come in a variety of cheerful colors and designs.

Halters are very effective for training strong and exuberant dogs, preventing pulling while allowing gentle correction at the sensitive muzzle point. One strap of the halter attaches behind your dog's head, while another goes around his snout. With a properly fitted halter, your dog can comfortably pant, drink, bark, and eat.

Ensuring the right fit

Some owners of short-muzzled dogs—such as Boxers—have been reluctant to use halters because they believed the breed's short nose made it easy for them to slip off. Today, many equipment makers offer models that fit well on smaller muzzled dogs.

When fitting, make sure the collar strap rides high up on your dog's neck, closer to the ears than shoulders. The snout or nose strap should fit snugly around the muzzle and not too close to the eyes. Your veterinarian, breeder, or pet supply store will be able to help you with proper halter fit.

Benefits of halters for dogs

A halter that fits properly offers advantages like:

No choking. With a halter, corrective pressure is applied to the snout and back of the neck, not the front of the throat.

Ease of use. Behavioral corrections can be made with just a light flick of your wrist instead of heavy pulling or jerking. Halters are lightweight and comfortable, and can be used for dogs as young as 8 weeks old.

Freedom with control. A halter gives you gentle control, while ensuring that your dog can act like himself. He's free to be a happy, playful, and well-behaved companion.

Effective training. Some of the behaviors easily prevented with training and a head halter include excessive pulling or lunging, jumping up on people, and—potentially—even barking and growling.

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