Although we don’t like to do it, it is sometimes essential for dog owners to muzzle their dogs. This may be due to a court order, safety, injury or any number of other things. The main problem with needing to muzzle your dog is that the dog doesn’t understand whats happening. It doesn’t know that it is only temporary and that it’s in no danger. We have seen a number of people asking for tips on this recently so in this article, we will be taking a look at how to get your dog used to a muzzle.
How To Get Your Dog Used To A Muzzle
If you come at the task without a plan or strategy then getting your dog to wear a muzzle can prove a massive task. These tips and tricks, as well as a little patience and consistency, will have your dog wearing its muzzle without complaints. We will be using positive reinforcement for this process so be sure to have your dogs favorite treats to hand.
The first thing you need is a high-quality adjustable muzzle that will fit your dog correctly. This will ensure that the muzzle is comfortable and help reduce the urge for your dog to try and remove it during the training process.
Associate A Command
Multiple dog owners training their dogs to wear a muzzle have reported having quicker success when using a command word. This command word can be a simple as “muzzle time”, it’s just is to let the dog know whats coming. Some people choose to use a dog clicker rather than a command word but it serves the same purpose.
To begin the process show your dog that you have a treat for it, say the command word or use the dog clicker and then give it the treat. Randomise the duration between showing the dog the treat and using the command word and giving it the treat. This helps to get your dog used to expect a treat when it hears the command word and increases dopamine levels.
Pull Out The Muzzle
Now that your dog is used to getting a treat after hearing the command word, it is time to introduce the muzzle. During the introductory process put the muzzle on the floor and let your dog play with it. While it is playing be sure to give the command word and treats multiple times.
Once you feel your dog’s interest is wavering it is time to start to place the muzzle on your dog. Many people put the muzzle on and fasten is instant. This is a mistake and can cause your dog undue stress making the process longer and harder.
Initially, just put your dog’s nose in the muzzle for a second or two, give the command word and then the treat. Repeat this process a few times while slightly increasing the duration each time. Also, start to work on putting the muzzle around your dog’s ears but remember not to fasten it yet. Keep giving the command word and offering treats throughout this process.
Over the course of a few days, your dog will become more and more relaxed and comfortable with the muzzle. You can now start to fasten the muzzle during training sessions and seeing how your dog reacts. Provided you give the command word and a treat at the start of the process, your dog should be able to wear it for a few minutes initially without issue.
Increase The Timeframe
Over the next day or so, fully put the muzzle on your dog and increase the duration each time. It shouldn’t take long before your dog is wearing it for hours without issue. A key thing to remember is that this is a process, it takes time and patience to work. Trying to force the process or cut corners as this tends to increase the training period rather than speed it up.
The Best Dog Muzzle For Biting Dogs
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all best muzzle type for dogs. The correct muzzle for your dog depends on its breed and the reason you need the muzzle. For example, a dog muzzle for barking for a terrier to prevent it biting its stitches will be totally different to a muzzle for a Rottweiler to stop biting. Be sure that you only consider dog muzzles that allow drinking even if you only plan to have it on your dog for short periods of time!
We feel that the Ewinever Adjustable Safety Muzzle will be enough for most dog owners. It is an all in one package meaning you get five different sized muzzles to hot swap between if required. This can allow you to start muzzle training as a puppy and move through the sizes as your dog grows.
It is a general purpose muzzle and will be able to prevent bitting, loud barking, chewing and wound licking. That said, it is NOT a heavy duty muzzle designed for large strong aggressive dogs. If you are having to muzzle your dog due to a court order and it being aggressive check out this muzzle covered in more detail later.
The muzzle is made from high-quality durable nylon meaning that is will not chafe against your dog and cause pain. Fear not as your dog will still be able to breathe and drink without issue with the muzzle fitted. At the time of writing it has over 375 positive reviews on Amazon from dog owners.
The Heavy Duty Muzzle
If a heavy duty muzzle is required for an aggressive dog, we recommend the Baskerville Ultra Muzzle. It is a relatively soft and lightweight basket muzzle with all-around mouth protection. Although it prevents your dog from biting, it can still eat, drink and breathe without issue with the muzzle fitted.
The muzzle is made from a reshapable rubber meaning you can heat it up and reshape it for a custom fit. It is a safe and secure muzzle that will conform to the majority of court order types. At the time of writing it has over 1850 positive reviews on Amazon.
How Is A Muzzle Supposed To Fit
It is important to know how a muzzle is supposed to fit your dog. As muzzle types change from brand to brand we always recommend that you read the included instructions but the majority of muzzles should leave enough room at the back strap for you to fit a finger between the strap and your dog’s skin.
It should also leave enough room for your dog to stick its tongue out without excessive effort. An easy way to test this is to put the muzzle on and then touch your dogs nose a few times with your finger. This will trigger the default reaction in most dogs to lick their nose letting you see how it fits.
How To Put A Muzzle On An Aggressive Dog
If you have an overly aggressive dog that may try to bite you when applying the muzzle there are a few things you can do. Due to legal reasons, we are unable to offer advice on this particular subject on the site and recommend that you seek professional advice from a dog trainer. The tips in the video below may be able to help you though.
How Long Can A Dog Wear A Muzzle
Again, there is no set answer on how long your dog can be left with its muzzle on. This will change from brand to brand and muzzle type to muzzle type. Our advice would be to read the included instructions and try to keep it as short as possible.
My Dog Won’t Let Me Put A Muzzle On Him
If your dog still won’t let you put a muzzle on him we advise you contact a local dog trainer in your area. Specialist help will be able to get hands-on experience with your dog and help you more than we can.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Dan Harrelson – On the way to the vet – https://flic.kr/p/4FxYdo
Raed Mansour – Muzzled – https://flic.kr/p/eyPgaz
Justin Hall – Merci holds Pixley on the Muni transit – https://flic.kr/p/5nxZSm