Muzzles!! A tool designed for aggressive dogs! Right??? Not exactly!!
Muzzles are most commonly used when working and handling aggressive or reactive dogs with the potential for a bite, but that's not they're only use and not only what they were designed for. They are designed as a barrier and they prevent bites for sure, but they are also used for many other purposes, not every muzzled dog is aggressive.
There is a huge stigma attached to muzzles which puts many owners off muzzle use, a sad fact which is preventing a valuable tool being utilised by owners for numerous reasons. From a safety aspect, of course muzzles will prevent a bite but they also prevent dogs from eating things which they shouldn't, they prevent dogs from chewing through leashes, chewing on stones which may break their teeth (just to name a few). As a training aid they can be used to prevent the dog from practising self reinforcing, unwanted behaviours such as grabbing and tugging on clothes... the list of uses truly does go on.
Don't wait for a problem to arise to begin muzzle training your dog!!
It's important to prepare your dog for the future and for any situation which may arise in their life.
A common circumstance where your normally friendly, stress free dog may find his or herself in the stressful situation of a muzzle suddenly being tied around their face is at the vets. We all hope it'll never be our dog, but imagine a situation where your dog's collar has snapped and he has ran out onto the road being hit by a car. It's likely that your dog will end up muzzled by the vet due to its natural reaction caused by severe pain. By already having your dog conditioned to the muzzle, you can avoid the further stress being added to your dog during a time when anxiety will already be souring. Medications is also something which can affect behaviour and be a future reason for temporary muzzling.
The type of muzzle which you choose for your dog is vitally important.
It should be properly fitted (lease check manufacturer measurement and fitting
instructions) and should always allow for the dog to be able to pant and drink with ease and also allow for the dog to exhibit natural communicative behaviours.
Basket style muzzles are the best choice and are what I would always personally use ( as beautifully modelled by Maxi in the photograph).
Proper conditioning to any new tool is also essential. The muzzle should be seen by your dog as something fantastic and associated with positivity and happy feelings to achieve the most benefit from it.
UNTIL EVERY DOG HAS A HOME
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