The truth about dog muzzles
Dog Muzzles and Stigma
It isn’t uncommon for people to see a dog in a muzzle and associate them with aggression. Without even knowing what the muzzle is being used for, some may automatically think the dog is wearing one because they bite. What many don’t know is that muzzles are used for various reasons and most certainly doesn’t mean that dogs who wear them are “dangerous”. When used correctly, muzzles serve a useful purpose during necessary events and situations.
The overall purpose of muzzles is to keep everyone and everything safe. Your dog may negatively associate a muzzle if they’re used incorrectly and for the wrong reasons. It’s never encouraged to use one to correct behavioral issues such as barking. If you do this the dog might consider the muzzle as a form of punishment. We are all about positive training and reinforcement at JenLovesPets! Training treats are key when reinforcing your dog. Think of how frightening it would be if suddenly an unfamiliar device was placed over part of your face! That’s why introducing it should be comfortable for your dog and therefore could take some time. Providing them treats at the sight of a muzzle and during the fitting process will help them ease into and view it as a positive, enjoyable experience.
There are lots of great brands and types of muzzles out there for your dog! To narrow it down, determine what specific event and the reason your dog will be using a muzzle for. There is plenty of variation but essentially there are two “main” types.
Slip muzzles are also known as soft muzzles and they are best suitable for use during shorter periods of time. Despite being made with softer materials, they are tight fitting and can be rather uncomfortable for your dog. The snug restraint makes it more difficult for them to do basic things with their mouth such as drink, eat, and pant. That’s why this type is only to be used quickly. Professionals say that dogs should wear these no longer than 15 minutes and probably even less for short-nosed breeds. So you may be wondering which situations these softer muzzles are ideal for? Some dogs have anxiety and become fearful in general or during certain procedures. As humans, we love getting pampered and getting all pretty! Trips to the nail salon for us is usually something we enjoy as we relax and get our nails done. For some anxious dogs, this is not a fun experience and they might despise getting their nails clipped. A muzzle would be beneficial to use in this case. Muzzles are also sometimes used If your dog is sick or experiencing pain in a known area of their body that the vet needs to touch. Naturally, your dog may want to bite out of fear and pain when examined in that area, so a muzzle is also great for these scenarios. Another good feature of this type of muzzle is the ability to put it on and remove it so quickly.
Basket muzzles are made with harder material such as plastic or leather and as their name suggests- they resemble baskets. In comparison to soft muzzles, these have a gentler fit and not as restraining around the mouth area. That’s why these are perfect options for longer periods of time! They may take more time to put on your dog than the soft muzzle, but overall they seem to have more comfortable features. You can use these in longer situations when you want to be extra safe. Some dogs, including even the friendliest ones, could feel anxious in new situations or around unfamiliar faces so a basket muzzle could add that extra safety. Plus you’ll be able to reward your dog with training treats even while they wear these since the basket design allows them to!
When it comes to dogs and muzzles everyone has their own opinions on whether they want to use them or not. I highly recommend becoming familiar and educated muzzles in general and how to appropriately use them, in a positive way! I hope this information is helpful in reducing the stigma around muzzles!