Visiting the vet may be a scary time for your dog, especially if they are in pain.
They might find it hard to understand what is going on, and some dogs might resort to snapping, growling, or biting when they get scared or uncomfortable.
It is only one reason why your dog should get used to wearing a muzzle. Aside from that, it might eat things on walks which may upset its stomach. It might also eat the poop of other animals.
Worse, it might become a “risk” to other smaller animals, or they might get scared, especially when in the proximity of other dogs or people.
How To Select the Dog Muzzle
To select a dog muzzle, you must first be familiar with the different types of muzzles.
Only when you are familiar with the different types will you be able to choose the right one.
Next, consider what activity you will do for your dog. You may have to use different types for different activities.
Types of Dog Muzzle
Muzzles for your dog can be a basket, soft, and homemade. More details on these below.
A basket muzzle is how it sounds – it is a basket strapped to your dog’s mouth and nose area. It can be leather, plastic, or rubber and can be bought from a store or custom-made to fit your dog’s features.
Many people think this kind of muzzle’s “prison bars” appearance is inhumane, but it is quite the opposite.
Many dogs feel more comfortable in basket muzzles because their mouths are not held closed, unlike when they are wearing soft muzzles.
Some basket muzzles even have slits on the side so that pet owners can slip treats like hotdogs on the side, which is best for training purposes.
This dog muzzle is usually made from mesh, leather, or nylon, and it wraps around your dog’s mouth to keep it closed.
It might be less comfortable than a basket muzzle since it prohibits your dog from panting, which means it cannot disperse heat nicely.
Notice that panting is a dog’s version of sweating, so soft muzzles should only be used for short periods. Also, make sure to avoid using it in hot climates.
Regardless if you have any other choice or not, a dog muzzle made by the owners themselves can serve its purpose but is not recommended unless in cases of emergencies.
You should only temporarily use a homemade dog muzzle, and you can create one by using pair of pantyhose or a roll of gauze. However, these materials are not exactly ideal.
So, now that you know the different types of muzzles, which muzzle is ideal for your dog’s activities?
- Outdoor activities – a basket dog muzzle is the best option if you plan to walk your dog or spend a day in the park. It will allow them to pant (to release heat) and drink water. For added comfort, the muzzle should fit your dog’s snout closely.
- Taking your dog to the vet or the groomer – a soft muzzle is ideal since this would only take a short period, and your dog will be staying in a temperature-controlled environment.
- A breathable mesh-style muzzle for dogs with short snouts would be your best option.
How To Train the Dog to Get Used to The Muzzle
Of course, your dog would resist a muzzle the first time you try to get them to wear it. It is normal.
What you have to do is allow your dog to learn how to be comfortable while wearing a muzzle so that there will be little to no struggle at all the next time you try to make your dog wear it.
Here are some step-by-step procedures you can follow:
1. Introduce the Muzzle to Your Dog in A Gentle Manner
Of course, you would not want to slap the muzzle onto your dog all of a sudden without even giving them the time to examine it and get used to seeing or wearing it.
What you can do is place the dog muzzle on the floor and let your furry friend look, sniff, or touch it.
Every time they do so, make sure to give them a tasty treat to encourage good behavior.
Also, please do not force your dog to touch the muzzle in any way. Just let them get comfortable with it on their own.
2. Encourage Your Dog
Place a treat (like a small chunk of cheese or sausage) on the muzzle and let your dog sniff it, and take it out from the muzzle.
Once your dog gets used to putting its nose inside the muzzle, you can help your dog understand by repeatedly saying “muzzle on” every time they do this action.
3. Hold but Do Not Fasten
Again, place a couple of treats on the bottom of the muzzle.
When your dog puts their nose in, say “muzzle on” and gently hold the straps behind its head for a few seconds. Then, release it and allow them to take their nose out.
Repeat this step until your dog becomes comfortable with this. You can also try talking to your dog while doing this to make it feel even more relaxed.
4. Fasten the Muzzle
The next step is to fasten the muzzle around your dog’s neck without their nose inside the muzzle.
5. Fasten the Muzzle Briefly
You will fasten the muzzle again, but this time, close the clasp of the muzzle behind your dog’s head while his nose is inside the muzzle.
Undo the clasp immediately after and let them take their nose out.
Remember not to rush at this point, mainly because you are already close to finishing all the necessary steps, and you would not want to undo all the training your dog has undergone.
6. Slowly Increase Muzzle Time
Again, it is recommended to do this gradually.
Remember to put treats in the muzzle first before letting them put their nose inside, and keep talking to them, comfort them, and let them know that they are doing pretty well.
How To Use the Muzzle?
Using a muzzle starts with knowing how to fit it correctly. If it is too loose, your dog will be able to remove it quickly. If it is too tight, your dog will not be able to breathe, drink, or pant, which may cause painful chafing.
You will know that the straps are fitted well if you can insert one finger between your dog’s head and the strap.
You can get various sizes and see what works well with your dog. For better results, you can ask the help of a professional trainer or an experienced muzzle user.
Ordering online can be pretty scary (since you are not sure if the size you will receive is just right), so make sure to take your dog’s measurements and ask the seller’s help in selecting the right size for your dog.
No matter your reason for letting your dog use a muzzle, it is essential that you know that muzzles are not a solution to behavioral issues.
Remember that these cannot replace consistent and positive training, and these are only temporary remedies.
What is important is that you put in the time, effort, and energy to help your dog understand what behavior is acceptable and what is not so that they can go to the park and interact with other dogs and humans even without a muzzle on.