Muzzle Training: Why It’s Important & How to Do it
Many people believe that only aggressive dogs need to wear a muzzle, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every dog should be muzzle trained – stick with us as we explain why. We’ll also be sharing some tips on how to muzzle train your dog.
Why Muzzle Train Your Dog?
The most obvious reason for muzzle training is if you have a dog that’s prone to biting, or even just a reactive dog that could potentially bite.
However, for everyone else, muzzle training is still important. Imagine that your dog gets injured at some point in the future, leaving them in pain. They likely won’t be very receptive to a vet exam – pain can cause even the most placid dog to snap. This is where a muzzle comes in. If your dog is already muzzle trained, they’ll happily accept the muzzle, making the whole experience so much less stressful for them.
Reactivity can also develop at any point in a dog’s life. If your dog ends up being attacked by another, then this could trigger them to act defensively around other dogs in the future, making a muzzle very useful.
Finally, some dogs also need a muzzle because they eat inappropriate things while on a walk. Whether this may be animal waste, chewing gum, or anything else, a muzzle can help to keep your dog safe while you work on training the issue.
Choosing a Muzzle
There are so many different muzzle styles out there. If you’ve never bought one before, knowing which to pick can seem overwhelming.
Out of all the styles available, basket muzzles are the best. They look just like a basket/cage that fits over your dog’s nose and mouth. They may seem a bit prison-like, but they’re actually the kindest since they still allow the dog to comfortably eat, drink, and pant.
Always avoid muzzles that wrap around your dog’s nose and hold their mouth closed.
Muzzle Training Step 1: Introduce Your Dog to the Muzzle
The main aim when you first begin muzzle training is to build up positive associations with the muzzle. You want your dog to be happy and excited whenever they see you bringing the muzzle out, because they know that the muzzle means that something good is about to happen.
To do this, start by showing your dog the muzzle. Let your dog sniff it, and then give your dog a treat. Repeat this a few times.
Then, gently touch the muzzle to your dog’s nose. As soon as you do, give them a treat.
Once your dog is happy with that, you’ll then need to hold the muzzle with one hand and have a treat in the other. Hold the treat behind the muzzle, so that your dog will only be able to reach it by putting their nose into the muzzle. Again, keep repeating this until your dog is happy to put their nose into the muzzle.
Muzzle Training Step 2: Putting the Muzzle On
You’ll now need to repeat the previous step of encouraging your dog to put their nose into the muzzle. However, before giving them the treat, fasten the straps of the muzzle around your dog’s head. Then, give them a treat, followed by a few more, before removing the muzzle.
If your dog panics or tries to paw the muzzle off, then this means that you’ve moved too fast. Go back a few steps, ensuring that your dog is truly comfortable with the muzzle before you try to fasten it.
Keep practicing fastening the muzzle, slowly leaving it on a little longer each time.
Muzzle Training Step 3: Wearing the Muzzle Regularly
Your dog may not need to actually wear a muzzle at the moment, but it’s still important to incorporate the muzzle into your daily routine.
You can do this in a few ways. Try putting your dog’s muzzle on before you start a training session at home. Alternatively, put the muzzle on before playing with your dog, or before taking them for a walk.
You won’t need to do this every day. Once your dog is happy with the muzzle, once or twice a week is all you need to keep up with your muzzle training.
As you can see, muzzle training isn’t complicated. Follow the steps above and your dog should take to the muzzle quickly and happily. It may not seem like something your dog needs right now, but it could really be so useful in the future.