We love our dogs as part of our family – we want them to be a part of our lives. From being at home to doing fun things outdoors, our dogs want to be part of the fun things that we do.
Finding the best way to have our dogs hang out with us is important, as not all dogs enjoy the same things; some dogs prefer small groups of people, family only, or can get protective when others are around.
If you have a dog that seems to get upset or too protective around other people, you may need to consider a muzzle for your pet. Although many people are averse to using this tool on their pet, there are times when it can assist with training and ensuring that the people around us will stay safe from a dog that may be unpredictable.
One of the most important factors when considering a muzzle is to ensure that you understand how to measure a dog for a muzzle and how to use it appropriately.
Improper use of a muzzle can lead to injury, and even death, for a dog. It is essential to do your research and understand if a muzzle is what is needed to reduce the risk of biting and aggression.
If you have decided that you need to consider using a muzzle, be sure to review the information included here to protect both you and your dog.
How to Measure a Dog For a Muzzle
Before you start looking at a muzzle, think about why you are looking at this as a training tool. Does your dog have a history of biting people or other dogs? Does your dog get over-excited and use its mouth too much? Does your dog eat things that make them sick?
These are some of the primary reasons that individuals choose to use a muzzle. Although muzzles are a common training tool, many people have misunderstood the use of a muzzle. Ultimately, if a muzzle is used correctly for training, it can be an excellent tool to ensure both the human’s and the dog’s safety during this time.
Before you choose a muzzle, there are some things to think about – the first one is how to ensure you get the correct muzzle for your dog.
Although not a complicated process, it is critical to measure the muzzle and not just “guess” on the size. A muzzle that is not fit properly can reduce the muzzle’s effectiveness and could injure the dog.
To start, measure the distance from the base of the dog’s eye to the end of their snout. This measurement is for the length of the muzzle. Next, start about an inch below the dog’s eye and wrap the measuring tape around the muzzle, snug but not tight. This will give you the circumference of the muzzle needed.
Determine The Type of Muzzle You Need
Depending on what you are using the muzzle for will determine the type of muzzle you should use. If you are using a muzzle for short periods, for training, or being at the groomer, an Occlusion-type muzzle, which keeps the mouth wholly shut, can be utilized.
Caution should always prevail when using an Occlusion muzzle because with the dog’s mouth held shut, they cannot pant, which means that they could over-heat.
If you want a muzzle that can be used for more extended training periods, adventures outside, or other reasons, a Basket muzzle is a better choice. The Basket muzzle allows the dog’s mouth to still open so that they can breathe and pant easier.
This ensures that your dog will not over-heat if running or training with the muzzle on. It is still best to limit the time in a muzzle as it does restrict them, even with the Basket type.
A dog in a muzzle for extended periods cannot drink water, which is vital to ensure they do not overheat.
One other factor to consider before purchasing a muzzle is the type of material that it is made of. Some muzzles are made of dense plastic, while others are made of metal. Some dog breeds may be too strong for the plastic version, so discuss the options and do your research before purchase.
How to Fit a Muzzle
Once you determine the type of muzzle you want, it will be essential to ensure that it fits properly. An improper fit can result in injury to the dog or the dog being able to get out of the muzzle.
When fitting the muzzle, the longer portion should be under the jaw with the snout covered. Clip the muzzle into place and make it snug around the face, but not tight. The goal is to ensure it is secure but not restraining the dog.
How to Train a Dog to Tolerate a Muzzle
Once you have the correct fit for the muzzle, it is time to train the dog to use it. The goal is to make the muzzle an everyday experience, not as a punishment or as something to be feared.
If you introduce the muzzle in a way that allows the dog time to adjust to it, it can then be used as a tool for training, grooming needs, or as needed.
- Attach the muzzle to the dog’s collar, but do not put it on their face.
- Allow them to get used to it being with them for short periods.
- Do not have them play with it or chew on it, but rather let them be familiar with it being on or near them.
Once you feel your dog has had some time to see the muzzle, you can put a bit of a treat or peanut butter at the end and put it on the ground. Let them smell and lick at it and get the treat, so they begin to equate the muzzle with something good. Again, the goal is to make it a familiar tool and not force them into the process.
If you have spent some time making the muzzle part of their day, you can begin to put the muzzle on in brief periods. Positive reinforcement, lots of “good dogs,” and a treat when it comes off will reinforce that the muzzle is okay.
Using a muzzle for training can be very useful when it is trained correctly. Ensuring that you have a good, secure fit and using a good initial training strategy will allow your dog to get used to wearing the muzzle when needed.
A muzzle can be a great addition to a training program if needed – be sure to reach out to dog trainers, your vet, or other professionals who can advise different strategies to make training with a muzzle successful.