I swear that one of the best inventions that I have ever used with my dog is a dog halter (aka Halti or Gentle Leader). For those of you that aren’t familiar with a dog halter, it’s kind of like a horse halter, but for dogs. The halter goes around the dogs muzzle and behind it’s ears and the leash attaches at the bottom of the halter. It doesn’t go around the neck so you don’t have to worry about choking your dog, especially if you have a dog that pulls.
We use the halter with our dog because she’s a herder and she tries to chase squirrels every chance she gets. If you put Sadie on a normal leash she pulls and pulls and pulls which makes taking walks or going anywhere kind of unpleasant. When she puts her halter on (as much as she hates it) she is a perfect little lady.
This weekend my husband took my vehicle and left me his to take the kiddo and dog to the park, totally fine, except that Sadie’s leash and halter were still in my car when he left. I had already told both child and dog we were going to the park and they were both running around the house excited, so backing out wasn’t an option. I grabbed some medium weight rope from the yard and decided to fashion my own halter for the dog before we headed out. It was really fairly simple. I made a loop around her nose, then crossed the rope and pulled it up around her head behind her ears and tied my knot. I pulled it off her and threw it in the car with us and went to the park. It worked like a charm.
I often see people with large dogs that are literally being dragged by their dogs. I used to be one of those people. I dogsat for some people who trained service dogs and was introduced to the Gentle Leader. I tried it on our dog and after the initial breaking in period I became a huge fan and decided to never go back to another type of leash method. I will warn you if you are going to use the head halter on your dog there is a breaking in period. The first time we took our dog out in public with the halter on she kept trying to get it off. She put both of her paws in the halter and flipped a few somersaults in an attempt to get “the thing” off her face. It was quite entertaining to the passerbyers while I stood wide-eyed and mortified watching. She eventually figured out she couldn’t get it off and is now okay with it for the most part. She will still occasionally try to rub it off on your leg if you stop to pet her while she has it on, but for the most part, she is fine with it.
One other thing I will warn you about if you decided to give a halter a try is that uneducated people you run into on your outings will think it’s a muzzle. I’ve exchanged more than a few heated words with people who have screamed at their children “No don’t pet that dog, it’s wearing a muzzle!” Because you know I’d take my dog that needs to be muzzled to a public park filled with people, small children, and other dogs while I also am toting around my own small child. (Ok, there are some idiots who might try that, but I am not one of them.) I just try to educate the people that it’s a training tool, like a horse halter and that the only thing you have to worry about with Sadie if your a small child is getting licked in the face.