Let’s make it clear that public safety is just as important as ours and our dogs’. A dog who has a muzzle is more comfortable to be around if they are in an uncomfortable situation. A muzzle is not necessarily used for aggressive dogs only, but can be used for normal dogs with no behavioral issues. It is vital to know why, how and when to use a muzzle on your dog.
Why use a muzzle?
A muzzle is often related to aggressive behavior and temperament, while in truth it may just be a protection from an uncomfortable situation. A muzzle must never be used as a means of punishment. A dog must be trained to accept it. Yes your dog doesn’t bite but when put in a rough situation, he/she might. So let’s just be on the safe side.
When to use a muzzle?
1- History of bad behavior
If your dog has a history of injuring other dogs or people, it is no question that your dog must wear a muzzle in public. Read also about dog aggression.
If your dog has been injured, he/she might bite due to pain or fear. Read about signs your pooch is not feeling well.
3- Threatening situations
Like grooming sessions and vet visits, people dealing with your dog will be more comfortable knowing that for sure your dog won’t hurt them. Also learn how to groom your dog at home.
How to use a muzzle?
Muzzle training comes in two parts; the dog learning to place his mouth in the muzzle and the second part is fastening the belt.
For the first part you must get your dog to like the muzzle and place his mouth voluntarily in it. This can be easily done by the use of treats. You will need to introduce the muzzle first and treat your dog every time you bring the muzzle. You will then need to place treats inside the muzzle so your dog is encouraged enough to place his mouth in it.
When your dog is comfortable with the idea of the muzzle you now need to make them OK with strapping its belt and leaving it on. You will need to familiarize your dog with the sound of the strap first by treating the dog every time you buckle and unbuckle the strap. When the dog is familiarized with the sound, you are now OK to leave it on for a few minutes and then remove it. You can increase the duration by time and each time he/she has the muzzle on you will need to treat the dog.
- You will need to repeat this 2 to 3 times a day until the dog gets used to it.
- You should not leave a dog with the muzzle for more than 30 minutes.
- An unsupervised dog should not be muzzled as the dog can hurt himself/herself while trying to take it off.
- A muzzle is not a punishment rather than a protection for your dog and others in public.
- You should use a muzzle that fits well. The best muzzle type is the basket muzzle as it’s more comfortable for your dog, and you can pass treats through.
Written by Farah Khaled
Sources: Quick and Dirty Tips , Pet Expertise , AKC , ClickerTraining