Muzzles and dogs

Most of the time when a dog is muzzled, it’s to prevent the dog from biting or attacking other animals or people. In some cities, dogs identified as being dangerous must wear a muzzle when taken out in public.

What kind of muzzle…

When and how to use it varies with the dog

To start with, the dog has to get used to wearing the device. This takes patience, especially with an aggressive dog.

Use lots of treats and plenty of positive reinforcement. Put the muzzle on the dog and give it a treat at the same time. Don’t buckle it to start with. The dog learns to associate the muzzle with something good. When that’s done, then start buckling it on, providing reinforcement at the same time.

A dog used to a loose muzzle may react negatively when itʼs buckled. Beyond that, here’s a few tips:

1) Make sure it fits the dog. He needs room to open his mouth to pant to cool down. A tight muzzle could lead to heat stroke and death.

2) Understand the muzzle will not “fix” an aggression problem. All it will do is reduce the chances the dog can bite.

3) Don’t leave the dog unattended while muzzled. The dog will try to get it off. He could hurt himself in the process. He could also get it off, which means there’s no protection.

4) Judge the muzzle by the dogʼs strength. A soft strap muzzle may be enough for a small dog. Strong breeds, like medium to large hunting and herding dogs, may need one with a cage of heavy plastic or metal and heavy duty straps to hold it on.