Just the thought of having our dogs muzzled can be really disturbing. This is a matter that needs to be openly discussed for the safety of the dog, an individual or both.
With the right kind of muzzles, your pooch may get acclimatised to wearing one as easily as with other dog equipment such as a leash, a collar, and a harness. Whilst it is good to consider training your dog with the use of muzzles, it should not be used as an easy way out from any behavioural problems.
4 Types of Dog Muzzles
A dog muzzle in the right size should easily fit over the dog’s snout and securely fastened for several reasons. What type of muzzle is best for a dog? There are different types of muzzles to help to achieve different goals.
1. Emergency dog muzzle – This is also referred to as home-made muzzle, useful for emergencies such as an injured dog or any conditions where he is likely to bite. Home-made muzzles can be made out of gauze, rope, leash or any other safe material.
2. Grooming dog muzzle – This type of muzzle is used for grooming alone. It is usually made out of nylon which should comfortably fit around the dog’s jaw and nose. This is not recommended to use for training as the dog wearing this muzzle cannot pant, drink or eat treats.
3. Basket dog muzzle – This type of muzzle can either be made of metal or plastic. Designs vary but it is best to choose one that has enough space for dogs to drink, eat, and pant.
4. Soft dog muzzle – This is usually made of nylon or leather. Soft muzzles may sound ideal but it poses more threat than the basket muzzles. It prevents your pooch from panting which is the canine’s way of sweating.
Out of many muzzle designs we find in pet stores, the Baskerville is one type that is ideal to use. It leaves enough space for the dogs to breathe, easily drink and eat treats. It is very important to let your pooch pant as it is the only way to regulate their body temperature. If you see any signs of discomfort such as difficulty in breathing whilst your dog is wearing a muzzle, remove it immediately.
When to muzzle a dog
There are good reasons for muzzling a dog as well as cases where you are required to have him muzzled:
- During emergencies
A dog muzzle is the best option when an injured dog is likely to bite other people due to severe pain or fear.
- Grooming sessions
Some dogs are relaxed and unfazed with grooming procedures. However, there are some that may need a muzzle as an early precaution.
- Breed-specific legislation
It is unfortunate that there are some countries or states that have breed-specific legislation (BSL) where certain breeds are required to wear a muzzle when in public places. The following breeds are required to be muzzled and held with a strong lead when in public places in the UK:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Japanese Tosa
- Fila Brasileiro
Why owners muzzle their dogs
There are many reasons why owners opt to muzzle their dogs; here are some:
Correcting aggression in dogs takes time and patience in training. Whilst on a learning process, it is best to keep your dog muzzled when out in a public area. However, it should not be used to address your dog’s behaviour. Instead, it can be considered as an aid in training and safety precaution in keeping people and other animals safe. Be sure to introduce muzzles as a calming tool to your pooch and not the other way around.
Be in control of undesirable situations.
Stressful situations may happen when your dog is around unfamiliar people or dogs. Some dogs tend to be more nervous than others which can cause them to be snappy when approached by strangers. It can be overwhelmingly stressful when your dog bites or snaps at strangers. To avoid such distressing situations, it is best to have your dogs muzzle-trained.
Owning hunting dogs
Many, if not all, dogs under the terrier group were historically bred to hunt vermin such as mice, otters, rabbits, and others. As such, these breeds are known to have strong hunting skills which made them likely to chase around anything that catches their attention.
Know that aside from the terriers there are also some other dogs that have a higher prey drive. It is best to keep your dog muzzled whenever it is off the lead in a public area.
The key to introducing muzzles to your dog successfully is to let him associate the muzzle with positive experiences. The combination of love, patience and of food treats helps greatly in successfully training.