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Everything You Need To Know About Dog Muzzles

People often wrongly associate a muzzle-wearing dog for being aggressive, but this isn’t always the case.

In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about dog muzzles. 

Read on to find out what type of muzzles are available to choose from and how to select the right one for your beloved companion!

What is a dog muzzle?

A dog muzzle is a piece of equipment that is worn over the snout of a dog. This device prevents it from opening its mouth to bite.

Most muzzles are designed with air holes so that the dog can still breathe easily.

Others muzzles come in the form of adjustable straps, allowing some freedom for the dog to drink (and in certain cases, eat).

Reasons for your dog to wear a muzzle

dog wearing an adjustable muzzle

There are several reasons why your dog should be muzzled.

Your dog is recovering from an injury

If your dog is recovering from an injury, it has a higher tendency to bite others as an act of self-defence.

He gets stressed around strangers

A dog is also more prone to biting when it gets stressed around strangers, as they may feel threatened and fearful.

Your dog has a history of biting people

If your companion has a history of biting others, you should definitely get him to wear a muzzle whenever you bring him out. This makes it safer for everyone.

He’s undergoing training or behaviour modification

A muzzle is a great dog behaviour modification tool. It’s especially useful for training breeds that are known to be more aggressive.

It’s required by law

Depending on the country you live in, there may be laws about muzzling your dogs when you take them out.

For example, the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) of Singapore states that the following dogs must be muzzled in public areas:

  • Bull Terrier
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd Dog (and related breeds)
  • Rottweiler
  • Mastiffs (including the Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso, and Dogue De Bordeaux)
  • Crosses between any of the above breeds

Meanwhile in the UK, the Dangerous Dog Acts 1991 requires specific breeds such as the Pit Bull Terrier and Japanese Tosa to be muzzled in public places.

Types of muzzles

Muzzles may vary depending on the materials used, but there are two main types.

Basket muzzle

dog wearing a basket muzzle
Image credit: Dog Gear Review

A basket muzzle tends to be loose around the area of a dog’s nose. This allows the dog to drink, pant and eat. They may come in different materials such as plastic, leather or wire.

Pros
Cons
  • Great for long term use; dogs can wear it for about an hour at a time
  • More comfortable than soft muzzles
  • Putting it on takes a longer time
  • May be difficult to find one for short-nosed dogs

Soft muzzle

dog wearing a soft muzzle
Image credit: Business Insider

Also known as sleeve muzzles, a soft muzzle is typically made up of nylon, mesh or leather. It firmly wraps around the snout of a dog to prevent it from opening its mouth entirely.

Pros
Cons
  • More suitable for dogs with short noses
  • Able to be worn quickly
  • More lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Prevents your dog from panting, eating, drinking and barking
  • Unable to give treats as a reward during training
  • Less comfortable than a basket muzzle
  • Should only be worn for 10-15 minutes

Choosing an appropriate muzzle for your dog

Here are two main factors to consider when choosing an appropriate muzzle for your dog.

What is the main purpose of muzzling your dog?

The most important thing to consider is the purpose behind muzzling your dog. 

Each activity differs greatly in terms of the amount of social interaction your dog is exposed to and time needed for the muzzle to be worn. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide on the most appropriate muzzle for your dog:

Basket muzzles are the overall better option as it’s more comfortable for your companion, while still allowing him to pant, eat and drink. 

Soft muzzles should only be used for specific scenarios such as during a veterinary examination or as a last resort when basket muzzles aren’t available.

What is the size and shape of your dog’s snout?

Aside from choosing the right type of muzzle, you must also ensure that the device fits your companion comfortably.

Here’s a quick guide on how to measure your dog for a muzzle.

measuring a dog muzzle
Image credit: Pinterest

Training your dog to wear a muzzle

Wearing a muzzle for an extended period of time can be frustrating and stressful for your canine. 

That’s why it’s important to start training your dog to wear one as early as possible.

In this video, Zak George shows how you can easily train your dog to wear a muzzle.

  1. Associate a treat or reward when your dog positively reacts to the muzzle

Place the muzzle near your dog and observe its reaction. When he shows an interest and begins sniffing the device, reward him with a treat immediately. This positive reinforcement puts your companion in a good mood whenever he sees the muzzle.

  1. Get your dog comfortable with putting its snout in the muzzle

After you’re certain that your canine is in a good mood, you can start to ease him into wearing the muzzle. Hold some treats at the end of the muzzle and encourage your dog to put his snout into the muzzle’s opening to retrieve it.

  1. Get it to voluntarily place its snout in the muzzle

Now, instead of placing treats at the end of the muzzle, simply hold the muzzle up and wait for your dog to voluntarily place his snout in it. 

After it does so, wait for him to remove its snout from the device before rewarding him with a treat.

  1. Associate the act of wearing the muzzle with a specific phrase

This step is very similar to the previous one. 

The main difference is that after your dog places his snout into the muzzle, you have to say a specific phrase. This helps him to associate the phrase with the act of putting the muzzle on.

  1. Secure the muzzle collar

You can now look towards securing the muzzle on your dog. 

This step may take awhile, so remember to be as patient and encouraging as possible. Also, look out for signs that your furry friend might be stressed and take sufficient breaks in between.

A muzzle is beneficial for both you and your dog

Teaching your canine how to wear a muzzle is an important aspect of dog training that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Doing so benefits you, your dog and all the people that come into contact with him.

You can be sure that groomers and vets are appreciative when dogs are brought to them with a muzzle on, as this allows them to perform their jobs safely and confidently.

Article by:
Kuan
Contributors:
Playing video games and taking naps are two of Kuanyung's favourite activities. He is also passionate about space exploration and philosophy. When he was a kid, he had dreams of becoming an astronaut.

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