There is so much stigma around muzzles! Many people hate using them and just as many dogs hate wearing them, despite the fact that they are a major safety feature, especially if you have an aggressive dog. A lot of people believe it will hurt their dog’s feelings if they put a muzzle on him but I believe if a dog can wear this…
Then he can wear this…
The law on aggressive dogs has changed. If someone just feels worried that your dog could injury them it can cause the involvement of the police! If you have an aggressive dog a muzzle is a safeguard against a bite and ultimately destruction of your beloved friend. So it is definitely worth having if your dog displays aggressive behaviour.
You may find muzzled dogs look intimidating and that, often, other owners will even avoid a dog with a muzzle- which is ironic because they are actually safer than a dog without one!
So How do You Train Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle?
- First you need to buy a muzzle that fits, this either means taking your dog into a pet shop to try on muzzles or measuring their snout. A basket muzzle is ideal as it lets the dog’s mouth move freely and they can still pant and lose heat.
- Next your dog needs to be desensitized to the muzzle. This means leaving it on the floor at home for your dog to sniff and explore. Putting treats inside the muzzle and (my favorite trick) spreading wet dog food all over the inside of it means your dog actually has to put his head in himself! This should be repeated so that your dog associates the new muzzle with positive things.
- When your dog is relaxed gently put the muzzle over his face without clipping it on, and reward with food, then take it away. Again repeat this until your dog is relaxed with this.
- Clip the muzzle into place and reward with food but take it off immediately after this, again repeat.
- Increase the time your dog wears the muzzle, from a few seconds, to a few minutes, to a walk using the muzzle. Another plus for the basket muzzle is you can poke food through the gaps!
- Very important! Keep using the muzzle! You don’t want your dog to forget all those positive experiences when he’s wearing the muzzle so its always good to use it every now and then, even if the majority of your walks do not require one.
If, at any point, your dog becomes stressed or tries to paw the muzzle off go back a few steps. Do not reward your dog for pawing at the muzzle or rubbing it as he will think this is what you want from him. He needs to learn to ignore it. After he learns to ignore it he will learn to relax and behave naturally again.
I never work with very aggressive dogs without a correctly fitted muzzle. I also expect the owner to have desensitized the dog before hand so that he is calm with the muzzle. Safety must always come first, not just for myself but for the dog’s sake too.
However a muzzle does not stop aggression and I strongly recommend a training program, suited to your dog, so that he can be integrated back into society again.
For more information on my private dog training click here – Dog Training Home Sessions
And remember, if a dog can wear this…!
Then he can definitely wear this…
Happy Dog Training from Dog Barking Mad!
5 Whitehall Road Grays Essex RM175NT