Whilst dog muzzles can be helpful tools, they should ideally only be used in certain situations. Keeping your dog muzzled for hours each day or as a means of correcting an undesired behaviour is a surefire way to create a negative association, which is the opposite of helpful. Here are some appropriate times/situations for muzzling a dog:
When required by law
In the UK, certain breeds of dog are required to be muzzled by law when out in public . This is known as breed-specific legislation, and while it isn’t fair in most cases, it is the law and must be adhered to for the protection of your dog.
This is a great example of why stress-free muzzle training is so important: dogs belonging to restricted breeds that happily wear their muzzles and present a calm, friendly demeanour help to dissipate the stigma of the blanket “dangerous dog” description.
When dogs have a bite history/present a bite risk
If your dog has a history of biting or you feel like they may escalate to biting in the future, muzzling them while in public or around others is a way to keep them and everyone safe. It’s also likely that dog owners who are taken to court will be ordered to muzzle their dog in public.
However, muzzling dogs for behavioural issues is not a long-term solution. A professional canine behaviourist can assist you with training and management techniques to help resolve the problem at its root. This may allow your dog to feel more comfortable and potentially reduce the need for a muzzle over time.
Many dogs become anxious when they visit the groomer or vet, which can sometimes result in biting . Feeling confined or trapped in scary situations such as these can drive even the friendliest dogs to bite. This is a natural defensive behaviour when in pain or frightened, and doesn’t mean they are aggressive.
Muzzling your dog can make the situation safer for all involved, and when a dog has been trained to accept them using positive methods, it won’t further contribute to their anxiety.
Muzzle train your dog the stress-free way
Though often seen as punishment or only used for “bad” dogs, muzzles are actually quite the opposite. When used correctly, they’re a helpful tool for keeping everyone safe; including your dog.
Whether your dog has bitten in the past or you simply want to make muzzling them more comfortable, the steps in this guide will allow you both to enjoy the muzzle training experience.
Breed-specific legislation in the UK requires all restricted breeds to be muzzled when out in public. You’ll be doing them a service by training them to accept their muzzle as something positive, rather than a punishment that they can’t wait to get rid of!