A dog muzzle is typically considered a painful, cruel device only used on untrained, dangerous dogs. But very few people know that dog muzzles can be pretty handy when used in the right way and situation. Irrespective of your dog’s aggressiveness, getting them accustomed to wearing a muzzle is ideal.
Sometimes muzzle is necessary to protect the owner and keep others around your canine friend safe. Therefore training your dog to wear a muzzle can save you both from unnecessary inconveniences in time of need.
However, there are also scenarios where a muzzle might not be the right choice. Learn the absolute truth behind dog muzzles and why they can be the best option for your little pup.
What Is a Muzzle?
A dog muzzle is a mask-like apparatus placed over a dog’s snout to stop them from opening its mouth or biting others. The muzzles are made of straps or have air holes to allow air circulation and give them the privilege to drink and eat in some cases.
The shape and construction of each muzzle differ depending on whether you need it to prevent your dog from biting or eating.
You should not use a muzzle to punish your dog. Instead, train your dog to be comfortable with a muzzle so that when it’s time to wear one, your dog is not stressed out further.
Situations When You Need a Dog Muzzle
Despite an unfair association of dog muzzles with aggressiveness, experts recommend using muzzles in certain situations. Here are some conditions where using a dog muzzle is safe and a must.
Your Dog is Hurt or Scared:
Dogs have the instinct to bite or snap at a face of threat or danger. At the same time, an injured or frightened dog is also likely to bite someone in their surrounding. As dogs can’t convey their feelings like humans, they bark, growl, or bite to express their pain or emotions.
An injured dog may bite someone even when you are trying to help them. A muzzle can keep you and others secure in such situations.
Your Dog Has a History of Biting:
If your dog has bitten someone or another animal in an unfamiliar situation in the past, then it is best to use a muzzle and avoid such incidents.
Using a muzzle also applies to dogs who get uncomfortable quickly when they see new people or other dogs. It gives you peace of mind that everyone is safe until you and your dog’s trainer work on modifying their behavior.
A muzzle can be a temporary tool until you change your dog’s rowdy behavior and mindset.
During Grooming Sessions:
Some dogs often feel uncomfortable during their vet visits or grooming sessions, especially when they see a new place or go through unfamiliar experiences.
Putting on a muzzle during a grooming session serves as a safety net. A muzzle is also helpful when your dog is not fully trained, or you are visiting a new groomer.
Do you know some states demand using a muzzle on a specific breed of dogs when not on private property? This breed-specific legislation (BSL) requires some so-called dangerous species to wear a muzzle in public.
Supervised Management Tool:
It can help you prevent your dog from eating dangerous items or garbage when you go out on a walk. A muzzle can significantly assist if your dog has a history of eating large or toxic objects from roads.
However, you must know that a muzzle can only prevent the dog from certain activities. The muzzle should only be used as a training and behavior modification tool.
Situations Where You Don’t Need a Muzzle
Muzzles are great in all of the above situations, but using them as a tool for punishment or long-term usage will only increase behavioral issues.
Identify the cause of your dog’s misbehavior instead of using a muzzle and forcing your dog to behave appropriately. For example, your dog doesn’t appreciate many people or other dogs, but you use a muzzle to force them to behave. It will stress your dog further.
If something stresses your dog, work to change their habits and overcome anxiety instead of moving them through a muzzle.
Different Types of Muzzle
Generally, you will come across two types of dog muzzles: basket muzzle and soft muzzle. But make sure you purchase the ideal style and fit for effective results.
Basket muzzles are like a basket that covers a dog’s snout with straps attached around the head and neck. These muzzles are usually made of plastic, rubber, or silicone and can also be customized to fit your dog’s face.
An adequately fitted muzzle permits your dog to pant, drink, and receive some goodies. It is a good choice for a muzzle training program as dogs stay more comfortable in it than in soft muzzles.
Some basket muzzles have slits at the side to accept larger treats like hot dogs.
Soft or Grooming Muzzle:
Soft, sleeve or grooming muzzles are usually made of nylon, mesh, or leather. They are wrapped around the dog’s mouth and buckle around the neck. They are more restrictive and stop the dog from barking, drinking, eating, or even panting.
Many vets and groomers use these muzzles for a short time when the dogs are frightened or in pain. These muzzles are not encouraged to train your dog to love a muzzle as it will make them uncomfortable when worn for longer.
Best Muzzles for your Dog
1. Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle
Ideal for behavior modification programs.
The Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle is a basket-style muzzle for stressed or over-excited dogs. The muzzle has a flexible fit and an opening for eating and drinking. It is made of tough, durable material for protection, and the pre-holed webbing allows for an adjustable, quick, easy fit.
The muzzle comes in six different sizes with a removable overhead strap.
2. Short Bulldog Muzzle
Best bulldog muzzle
This adjustable, easy-to-use snout dog muzzle is best for Bulldogs, Pugs, and French Bulldogs. The breathable mesh and durable nylon construction keep your dog comfortable, along with soft edges that protect your dog’s eyes and nose from getting rubbed.
3. Gentle Muzzle Guard for Dogs
High-quality strap with the best fit.
With an improved design, this Gentle Muzzle prevents biting, barking, and unwanted chewing. The Neoprene padding is superfine and has rough straps.
Steps to Train Your Dog With a Muzzle
You should not use the muzzle for the first time, only when your dog is hurt, injured, or frightened. It would be best if you accustomed your dog with a muzzle beforehand to avoid any stress or inconvenience. Otherwise, your dog will associate wearing a muzzle with stressful situations only.
As muzzle training is not only about physical safety, you need to ensure that your dog loves wearing a muzzle for their better health and well-being.
- Keep some treats at hand, like cheese, chicken pieces, hot dogs, etc. Show the muzzle to your dog, and play around the muzzle, followed by a treat. Put the muzzle aside and stop giving the treats as well. It will excite your dog to get a goody whenever they see a muzzle.
- Now is the time to put on a muzzle. Put a few treats inside the muzzle and let your dog eat out of it. Repeat this step once your dog finishes the goodies in the muzzle.
- Use verbal praises or queues like a muzzle or party hat when your dog eats the treats from the muzzle. Encourage your dog by giving more goodies in the muzzle. Increase the sessions of holding your dog’s nose in the muzzle.
- As your dog is happy to put his nose in the muzzle, gently strap it for brief moments and immediately remove it. Leave the strap for 15 seconds and then increase the time gradually to 30 seconds, 1 minute, and so on.
- Initially, keep the sessions short and then increase the time to 20 minutes at home to prepare them for extended times.
Tips to Remember While Using a Muzzle
- Buy a properly fitted muzzle. You must purchase an ideal size and style muzzle for your dog. Your chosen muzzle should be well-fitted and allow your dog to drink and eat treats comfortably.
- Take the muzzle training slowly. You cannot expect your dog to only accept muzzles on the first attempt—associate muzzle with positive attributes, lots of treats, and games like ‘Party Hat’ time.
- Soft or grooming muzzles should only be used for short periods as they close the dog’s mouth entirely and prevent it from panting.
- The muzzle should be used with behavioral training, not as a replacement for your dog’s issues. Consult your trainer to help your dog in the best possible way.
The dog muzzle is an excellent moderating tool that can help you keep your dog safe and prevent them from harming others around them until you train your dog or resolve an underlying issue that makes them uncomfortable.
Muzzles are also highly helpful when your dog is afraid, injured, or visiting a new place. So, it is advised to train your dog beforehand instead of waiting for an hour of need or an emergency.