You may have noticed from our Dog Friendly Places videos that we use head halters on our dogs. But often when we are out and about people have asked us why our Goldens are wearing muzzles! Head halters are not muzzles, rather they make it easier to control our dogs when they get excited in new situations and start to pull. Let’s face it, two 70 lbs. dogs on one tandem leash can be a lot to handle if they want to blaze new trails.
Head halters are a way to help control pulling with dogs who get too excited on walks. Based on the same concept of a bridle to control horses, dog head halters have a loop that fit around the dog’s snout, and then straps that go on the dog’s neck behind his ears. The leash is then attached to the head halter under the dog’s chin. Designed to gently guide the dog’s head in the correct direction, when a dog pulls the head halter will turn the dog’s head towards you, making it physically impossible for him charge forward. When fitted properly, dogs can still eat, drink, pant, bark…and yes bite! We started using head halters when we leash trained our dogs as puppies, so they adjusted to it very quickly. However, if your dog is older and accustomed to pulling, do not put a head halter on him and immediately head out for a walk. Instead, your dog will need to slowly adjust to it through training and positive reinforcement.
We recommend the PetSafe Gentle Leader. They are durable, easy to use, and come with a very useful step by step guide for properly fitting it, as well as a training DVD. The Gentle Leader helped us to train our dogs for proper leash walking to the point that on our daily walks they are not needed. But when going to places that are new or in situations that we know our dogs will get excited, they truly make the experience more enjoyable for all of us by preventing the pulling.