Okie dokie, you guys know how much I love muzzle training and how important it is to me.
Recently my mother was talking with someone, and the wire basket muzzle I own came up in the conversation. The person was apparently disgusted, repulsed, I would put such a thing on my dog. Making statements of “why would you use that,” and “why not use one of those thin ones” (thin one being a Gentle Leader).
To the general public, muzzles and dogs in muzzles have such a bad stigma. They are seen as things only aggressive dogs wear; and if your dog is aggressive, you must be a bad pet owner in some way.
This is so not true. And more often than not, the exact opposite.
Muzzle training is SO beneficial, every dog should be trained to wear one. “But my dog isn’t aggressive, she doesn’t need one,” that may be true! But think of it this way: how many folks were put in swim lessons as kids by their parents? A heck of a lot, me included. Some kids that lived by a lake, some that had their own pool at home, some that lived nowhere near a body of water. Why? For if a dangerous situation arose where they found themselves in water, they’d know what to do and how to calmly swim to safety.
Now, for dogs, like recall and crate training, muzzle training is their swim lesson. Dogs who don’t have a drop of aggression in them will benefit just as much as a dog who wants to bite everything in sight.
But muzzling is not limited to aggression, there are numerous reasons a dog may need to be muzzled:
- Pain – dog’s are more inclined to bite when in pain
- Fear – when flight and freeze are no longer options, fight is
- Trash eaters – some dogs eat things on walks, and during their training the owner can have the added security of the muzzle
- New introductions – to people or animals, should things go sideways
- Post-op protection – many folks turn to basket muzzles over the traditional cone of shame
- Travel – in some communities a dog must be muzzled on public transport or even if riding freely in your own vehicle
- Sports – several canine sports require a muzzle for part or all of the sport
I’m sure there are many more, so feel free to add on.
And let me put this out there, not all muzzles are created equal. It’s took four open-basket-type muzzles to find one that fits Canon properly. They come in various styles and materials. Leather, metal, cotton, nylon, plastic, and biothane to name a few. It may take one try or four, but there’s a good chance with all the options that there’s a muzzle style and material that will work with every dog.
Now, the muzzle the individual was upset over? Take a look:
(Flower crown to make it less “scary”)
This is the wire basket I finally found that works for Canon’s nose length, allows him to pant, drink, and take treats, and is comfortable. This is for vet visits. Canon is not aggressive towards our vet or the staff, he adores them and thoroughly enjoys going. BUT, her waiting room is small. Very small. The exam room door is smack against the waiting room chairs, and it’s nice to have Canon muzzled should we walk out and BAM! A dog. In this case, his muzzle is worn for, oh, five minutes tops.
And the “thin one”? Look below:
This is not a muzzle and it will not protect your dog or others. Gentle Leaders and head collars are training tools that the leash clips to, to guide the dog by their head. I (personally) do not know of any muzzles that function in such a manner. And if a head collar is closed so tight the dog cannot open it’s mouth, it’s being used incorrectly.
So, I hope that opened up someone’s mind to muzzles! They are wonderful tools and come in so many styles, materials, and colors. I hope more people open up to them and make them a regular part of their dog’s gear.
Happy training from my dogs and I, to you and yours!