Before we crack into this topic, we just want to address the potential ambiguities of this post’s title:
- This post does not provide step-by-step instructions for putting on a halter-neck top featuring a dog design. That topic would be incredibly random and, not unlike a halter-neck top, quite short.
- This post is, in fact, about how to put on a dog halter—but on a dog, not on yourself (or any other human).
So, what is a dog halter, you ask? Well, we now know it’s neither a clothing item nor designed for humans. It’s a training tool for dogs who need a little more guidance than the average hound, Boo-Boo. If your dog could win an Olympic medal in pulling—or if they just can’t kick that wicked opposition reflex—then a halter may just suit your dog to a tee.
The thing about halters is you can’t slip them on your dog just like that. The reason these things work is because they grab your dog in their most sensitive spot (assuming your dog’s been spayed). Would you like it if someone grabbed you in your most sensitive spot? You’ve gotta build trust before you let someone go that far.
Hence, this post came to fruition along with its ambiguous title. If you want to know how to put on a dog halter (again, on your dog—not on yourself. lolwut Humans don’t even have snouts 😹), then look no further. Here’s the step-by-step breakdown of how it’s done.
Present the dog with the halter. It’s no secret that dogs make sense of the world through their noses. That’s why they’re always sniffing everything, including you (and your most sensitive spot). So, let them have a good old sniff. Let them paw around with it. Give them the space to acquaint themselves with the halter. In this case, familiarity does not breed contempt. In fact, it’s the opposite. Actually, blanket statement incoming: that’s the rule for dogs as a whole. Dogs are hella more comfortable with people, animals, and things that they know.
Once your dog has created a smell profile for the halter, buckle the halter’s neck portion around your dog’s neck. As you would when fitting a regular collar or harness, tighten the straps until you can fit two fingers beneath the halter comfortably. The ‘two-finger’ rule is the tell that the shoe—or the collar—fits!
Open the halter’s muzzle loop and slip it over the snout with gentle care. If your dog tries to scratch at or pull the halter off, hold a treat over their head to distract them. The way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach, and treats are the best incentive you can provide. This is why treat-based training is so effective in altering canine behaviours.
Image: Stylish Hound
Once the novelty begins wearing off of the halter they’re wearing, attach your dog’s leash to the halter’s ring (it will be sitting under your dog’s chin). The leash will add weight to the situation—literally. Your dog will notice the leash’s weight and the way it will tighten the loop around their snout. They’re not going to like this, and, again, they may try to pull it off. Ease their nerves with—you guessed it—treats (and praise).
Finally, grab the leash, call your dog by name, and encourage walking motions. Whenever your dog walks without kicking up a fuss or trying to remove the halter, give them praise and pats. Remember to walk slowly without pulling. As established, we are grabbing your dog by their most sensitive spot. Push the pulling too much and you may hurt your pooch.
There is no step 6
As you can see, you can count the number of steps to this training on one hand. It is fairly straightforward, but don’t rush it, either. Work with your dog and respect their learning pace. Sometimes, it’s better to let your dog take the lead (well, not literally), ONLY in the sense that pushing them too far creates negative associations. Dog training is all about positive reinforcement and, if we want the dog to cooperate, it has to be all #goodvibesonly. It takes patience, sure. But you’re a dog owner. You kind of signed up for this!
If you want a recommendation for an awesome halter, we recommend Stylish Hound’s model. Available in six different designs, these guys are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic. They contain no metal so they won’t weigh down on your dog’s snout. Plus, they look awesome. Who wouldn’t want to wear a design called Gumball? (Well, maybe the people who’d pick the Blackout design, which is literally just black. But still.)
Remember, a halter is the most uncomfortable piece of training equipment your dog will wear, so be patient and understanding. Consider this a commitment to which you’re prepared to devote much time. Before you make your purchase, decide that you’re going to follow through (as your doggo follows you). And that, friends, is about all there is to know about halters!