Dog muzzles prevent biting and serious injuries to other people and dogs. Discover why a dog muzzle is the safest way to prevent biting.
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Dogs with Muzzles – Better to Be Safer Than Sorry
A lot of people feel uncomfortable at the thought of having to fit their dogs with muzzles. Many worry about whether it’s comfortable and if they can breathe and whether or not it’s cruel or not and many worry about the image it portrays about your dog to other people.
The truth is if you are thinking whether or not you need to muzzle your dog then there is a chance you do. Dog muzzles prevent biting and if you are looking for a way to nip that possibility in the butt straight away, this is it. There is no doubt that nearly every person will encounter a time when they require to muzzle their dog, regardless for how long.
When Will A Muzzle Be Needed?
The most important thing is safety, a muzzle helps prevent serious injuries from your dog. Your dog actually gives leash reactive warning signs when they are getting uncomfortable. If you ignore these you will encounter an outburst of barking and lunging. Even worse an outburst could lead to a bite. Would you not rather be prepared in case?
Some examples of times to put one on are as follows –
Leash aggression training is fine when for when you are just on walks or going to the park but when you get out into a situation where you have to take them to the vet or to the groomers then you can prepare for an outburst.
I muzzle Jasper on these occasions purely because it’s close quarters and with all the tight corners the last thing i want to do is get tangled up with another dog.
I don’t know about anyone else but for me a muzzle in these situations is more for being prepared.
When in the field, Jasper is completely fine to acknowledge and ignore other dogs while we run around playing fetch and tug. I don’t find the need to have one from the journey out the house to the field but I will have it in our dog bag just in case another energetic dog comes on the field or if it starts getting a bit crowded etc.
Going to pubs
With more places allowing owners to bring dogs to such venues as pubs and bar and cafes you need to be cautious if you do the same.
You should be fine sitting on different tables if you have a reactive dog that can settle down, however you might find it hard to enjoy yourself in one of the situations with a reactive dog, maybe leave it for down the line.
Socialization is a great way to reduce leash reactivity. If you are going out with the intention to socialise your reactive dog then a muzzle should be your first call of action. Whether you are arranging to meet a fellow owner and their pooch or you are just going to go around the park then a muzzle is made for these situations.
I find it a lot easier to socialise Jasper at the field when he has a muzzle, owners are more understanding of the problem that you are trying to overcome.
If you feel there’s a chance of bite
It could be a specific occasion like a big walk or seeing a friend and their dog or if you’re walking a dog on a school run (the last thing you want is a reactive dog around school kids).
Your dog actually bites
Silly to be placed at the bottom but one of the most obvious reasons is if your dog has had a history of biting. This is literally what a muzzle was made for and just know it’ll be a temporary fix for you until you manage to find the right training.
Baskerville Ultra Muzzle – My Recommendation
I use a basket muzzle for Jasper, when I took a look there were a lot of variations like leather and nylon and mesh but I don’t feel like they would do the job.
A muzzle may look like nasty business but you need to realise that you are preventing the possibility of serious injuries to others. The Baskerville is incredibly safe providing safety locks and collar clips.
Many dog muzzles prevent biting but they also make it harder for your dog to pant, eat or drink. Many wrap around the mouth and actually stop the mouth from opening which work but isn’t what you’ll need for your dog.
The Baskerville muzzle allows for drinking, panting and accepting treats plus it has extra security to give you a peace of mind. What I love about this muzzle is that you can mold it to fit the shape of your dogs nose as well which for me and Jasper having a short and fat Staffie nose is an added benefit!
How To Properly Fit A Muzzle
How To Get Your Dog To Accept The Muzzle
You will find this easier to do in low stress situations such as the comfort of your home. If this is the first time your dog has any association with a muzzle it should be relatively easy and should take a few minutes but mind if your dog already has a bad association with them it could take a bit longer but do not take this out on them!
- Present the muzzle to your dog and allow them to sniff it. Give them a treat and repeat a few times.
- Touch his nose to the inside of the muzzle, remove, treat and repeat a few times again.
- Gently put the muzzle on for a couple of seconds and then remove, treat and repeat.
- Put the muzzle on and fasten it up wait for a couple of seconds and the remove, treat and repeat.
Do this every day either before a walk where you can walk out with it as well or as a training session if you feel the need to take it slow.
Top Tips For Muzzle Training
- Get a muzzle that allows your dog to pant, drink water and accept treats. There are muzzles which strap around the nose but if your dog can’t do the basic essentials then you will start having a very grumpy dog!
- Take your time with training – don’t rush your dog into wearing it straight away, take it slow and let them know this isn’t a bad thing
- Find a muzzle that fits – it isn’t the most comfortable accessory of choice so you need to make sure you find one that fits properly. Most of them are adjustable with straps but the muzzle I use (Baskerville ultra) allows you to put it in hot water to then mold to your dogs nose shape!
- Only use for short amounts of time
- Make sure they are safe – don’t skimp for a cheaper standard muzzle. The one me and Jasper use has a clasp lock so it doesn’t unlock when strapped in, you can thread the collar through it and also a head strap as well!
Final Thoughts – Better Sooner Than Later
If you’ve read this then hopefully it’s given you a bit more insight and guidance on being a safer dog owner.
A muzzle is a precaution that you can take to keep your dog safe from others. You may find that a problem that you end up facing is dealing with irresponsible dog owners. Those that allow their dogs to run and introduce themselves to any dog.
Dog muzzles prevent biting, they aren’t a long term fix, they are only temporary so please don’t feel if you do have to get one your dog wears it forever. You only need to get to a point you feel comfortable without having one on.
You Aren’t Alone!
Don’t forget to leave a comment whether to ask a question, give your own tips, give feedback etc and check out the leash aggression training blog for more information and resources on dealing with leash reactivity in dogs. The worlds a better place when people help each other!
- Blue Cross Muzzle Training Tips – https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-muzzle-training
- Great information on muzzle training by Karen Pryor – https://www.clickertraining.com/muzzles