Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Muzzles!! A tool designed for aggressive dogs! Right??? Not exactly!!
Muzzles are most commonly seen and thought of, when working with and handling aggressive dogs or dogs who show potential for a bite, but that's not their only use and not only what they were designed for.
Muzzles are designed as a barrier and they prevent bites for sure, but they are also used for many other purposes... not every muzzled dog is aggressive.
Sadly, there is a huge stigma attached to muzzles which puts many dog guardians off muzzle use, a sad fact which is preventing a valuable tool being utilised by guardians for numerous reasons.
From a safety aspect, of course muzzles will prevent a bite, but they can also prevent dogs from eating things which they shouldn't, they act as prevention for dogs that may chew through leashes or that enjoy chewing on stones which may break their teeth or even cause life threatening internal blockages. As a training aid they can be used to prevent the dog from practising self reinforcing, unwanted behaviours such as grabbing and tugging on clothes for example, and they can also serve as a clear warning to other people that your dog may need space.
Don't wait for a problem to arise to begin muzzle training your dog!!
It's important to prepare your dog for the future and for common situations which may arise in their life.
A common circumstance where your normally friendly, stress free dog may find his or herself in the very stressful situation of a muzzle suddenly being tied around their face, is at the vets. We all hope it'll never be our dog, but imagine a situation where your dog's collar has snapped and he has ran out onto the road being hit by a car. It's likely that your dog will require muzzling by a vet for the safety due to the increased risk of a bite or aggressive response which is a common and natural reaction caused by severe pain. By already having your dog conditioned to the muzzle, you can avoid this extra level of stress being added to your dog during a time when anxiety levels will already be soaring. Certain medications can also negatively affect behaviour and be a future potential reason for temporary muzzling.
The type of muzzle which you choose for your dog is vitally important.
It should be properly fitted (please check manufacturer measurement and fitting
instructions) and should always allow for the dog to be able to pant and drink with ease, and also allow for the dog to exhibit natural communicative behaviours.
Basket style muzzles are the best choice and are what I would always personally use ( as beautifully modelled by Maxi in the photograph).
Proper conditioning to any new tool is also essential. The muzzle should be seen by your dog as something fantastic and associated with positivity and happy feelings to achieve the most benefit from it.
If you would like to know more and would like to to teach your dog how to be safe and happy in a muzzle then get in touch or check out my online step by step Muzzle training course
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