This is an updated, improved version of my older head halter tutorial.
Head halters are an innovative way of having control over your dog. They prevent pulling by allowing you to control your dog's head in the same way you would control a horse.
Most head collars are over £15 a piece, and that's a lot of money to spend if you aren't sure something is going to work for you, if your dog will chew it up the first opportunity it gets, or to find the design is flawed.
Making a DIY head collar allows you to add as much padding as you like, have the attachment point where you would like it and to have any colours and materials you choose.
If you want a collar to match your halter, or if you just want to try a different training tool then check out my semi slip training collar tutorial.
Please note: No dog will accept a head collar if you just shove it on their face. You have to desensitise your dog by rewarding them when you put the head collar on and have them wear it for very short periods of time, gradually building up the time they can tolerate it. This will take time but it is much easier to walk a dog that enjoys the head collar than one that tries to get it off. Also remember to never jerk, yank, or harshly tug the head collar as you can easily hurt your dog. Gentle guidance is all that is required; where the head goes the body will follow.
Step 1: Items and Measurements
You will need:
- Triglide fastener
- 3x O rings
- Tailors chalk (optional)
- Fabric tape measure
- Lengths of soft nylon webbing or nylon webbing wrapped in fabric
The width of the nylon that you choose depends on your dog's muzzle length. My dog's muzzle is 4cm (1.5") so my fabric is 1.5cm (5/8") thick.
The length of the nylon is dependent on your dog's measurements as taken from the chart above.
- One length should be measurement A
- The second length should be C minus A then times by 2 and add 2.5-5cm/1"-2"
- The third length should be half of B plus 2.5cm/1"
- The fourth length should be half of B plus approximately 20cm/8" (can be trimmed if this is too much)
Step 2: Adjustable Side
To make the neck side of your halter adjustable, thread the end of the fourth length of webbing through the triglide as shown in the image above.
Fold the end of the webbing over the middle bar of the triglide and sew it in place so that it is fixed and cannot move.
Thread the rest of the webbing through the buckle, once it is through the buckle as shown in image two, thread it through the triglide so that it ends up looking like image 3.
Once this is done, sew the opposite end of the webbing around one of the O rings securely.
Step 3: Completing the Neck Piece
With the third length of webbing, sew one end securely to the other side of the buckle, and the other end to a second O ring. It should end up looking like the image above.
Step 4: The Muzzle Piece
Take the first length, sew one end to one of the O rings on the neck piece and the other end to the other O ring on the neck piece. It should look like above.
Take the second length, and thread it through the two O rings. Slide the third O ring over the webbing. Sew the two ends of the second length together to form a loop. When done, it should look like the third image, and the halter is now complete.
Step 5: Fitting the Halter
Slide the muzzle piece over the dog's muzzle. The longer piece goes on top, and the shorter piece that has the free-moving O ring goes underneath the muzzle.
Clip the buckle closed behind the dog's head and adjust the length of the neck piece to suit your dog.
The halter should be tight enough that it will not slip off the end of the nose, but not so tight that it digs into the dog's eyes.
The leash attaches to the free-moving O ring at the bottom, the dog will be able to open it's mouth fully, pant and drink whilst wearing the halter. If leash pressure is applied the halter tightens and closes the mouth.
Step 6: Safety
- Consider padding the halter with fleece or soft material to prevent rubbing.
- Regularly check the halter's fit and condition to ensure it doesn't rub or cut your dog.
- Condition your dog to the halter properly- take it slowly and use plenty of rewards to get your dog used to wearing the halter. You don't want the halter to be associated with stress.
- The halter by itself isn't magic, you still have to put in training to stop your dog pulling. I suggest consulting a professional dog trainer if you aren't having much luck.
- Be gentle using the halter, corrections are magnified so it only takes a small movement to get your dog's attention. Jerking on the leash will most likely end up harming your dog.
- Never use a halter with an extendable or long lead, or to tie your dog out.