It is most important that the Head Halter you choose for your dog fits his head shape. There are many brands available now (Gentle Leader, Halti, Snoot Loop, K9 Comalong, and Black Dog to name a few - the Gentle Leader's for short nosed breeds and Black Dog brand halters seem to suit most Boxers), so shop around to find one that suits your dog best. Some halters also come in a variety of colors, so if you are concerned that someone might mistake your halter for a muzzle, choose a pretty color. These days, many people do recognize a head halter so the halter / muzzle confusion is rare, and if someone does ask why your dog is muzzled think of it as an opportunity to educate that person. In many cases you may be able to get your dog fitted with a halter when you make your purchase, in fact, most vets or trainers will fit the halter as part of the service to ensure your dog does well with the product. If you trust the people you purchase your halter from then by all means take advantage of getting it fitted on your dog correctly.
The collar strap of the halter should fit high up on the dogs neck, and you should be able to place on finger between your dog's neck and the collar. If the collar is too tight your dog will be uncomfortable, and if it is too loose it will alter the position of the nose strap. The nose strap should be a nice fit nicely across the top of the muzzle, without being too close to your dog's eyes - allow around 1cm from your dogs eyes to where the nose strap will sit.
At this point it is time to acclimate your Boxer to the
halter. Equip yourself with patience, many tasty treats and a
willingness to have fun with your Boxer and the new collar.
Treats could be cheese, baked or dehydrated liver, roast
chicken, hot dogs, or even raw meat. Make sure you use treats
which are very special and you know your Boxer will adore.
Some dogs enjoy the halter in a very short time, others take a
little longer to adjust, it depends on your dog's disposition.
Don't be in any hurry, if this takes 10 minutes or 10 days the
results will all be well worthwhile. You are the person who
best knows your dog so it is up to you to decide how soon you
can progress through the below steps. Ensure that the training
takes place somewhere clam and quiet with no distractions.
Show your Boxer the halter, allow him to sniff it, praise him and give him a treat. You might like to do this several times, it is you who knows your dog and his or her reactions to new things.
Attach the lead, treat and praise your dog. Do this several times in a row.
You can now try walking him or her on the halter. Remember that when you are using a halter with your dog that all your actions should be nice and gentle. The lead should go from the ring under your dog's chin and up towards you, not over his back or under his leg, or behind his neck. Encourage your dog to move around with the lead on the halter using the treats and some encouraging words. As they move tell them how clever they are. Let you dog walk with his new halter around your home and yard with you before you attempt to go out in the world so you both become adjusted to it.
When you first venture outside your home for a walk, also have your dog's regular collar on with a lead attached to it. Your dog would then be wearing his new halter and a lead, and his neck collar and a lead. This will help you as your dog becomes used to this new halter and gives you a back up if your dog slips his halter for any reason. If it seems as if you dog is going to get whiplash from the halter you can use the second neck collar and lead as brakes. The lead on the halter should not have a very heavy clip, good leads have lighter clips which are still very strong. Don't forget to take tasty treats with you for your walks outside home so you reward your Boxer for walking nicely. If you train with a clicker (recommended) you can break all the above steps down and click for the dog fitting himself into his halter :) Happy walking!