Muzzles and Dog Training
Muzzles have long held a stigma among the general public as being necessary only for “bad” dogs. The truth is, muzzle training is something that every dog owner should definitely consider as a ‘life skill’.
It’s not uncommon for us trainers to hear copious of comments when out with our muzzle trained dogs.
“That dog has a cage on its face!”
“Stay over here”
“Don’t get too close to it!”
“How cruel is that?”
“Why would you bring an aggressive dog out in public?”
Dogs wearing muzzles are nothing to fear, there are many great advantages to muzzle training and many of them have nothing to do with biting.
A dog may be out in a muzzle for any number of reasons, such as:
They snatch food and foreign objects off the ground – This can be a real health hazard, so until the dog has a reliable leave it command, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
They live or are visiting an area that uses baiting for pests – 1080 is a poison still commonly used throughout Australia to eliminate pest species, however, it is just as lethal to our dogs if they eat it.
Training in case of potential accidents and injuries – While no one wants to imagine a scenario in which their dog is seriously injured, accidents can and do happen. A dog that is afraid and in pain is more likely to bite, so it is often necessary to muzzle the dog for the safety of the person handling them. Being already familiar with wearing a muzzle will reduce the amount of stress on the dog.
Behaviour modification – A muzzle is a great management tool when working to correct inappropriate behaviours that a dog may have developed in response to strange people or dogs. Most owners of reactive dogs will tell you how much their own confidence and handling abilities improved when their dog was muzzled.
Desensitisation – Some dogs require the aid of a muzzle only in very specific situations, such as during trips to the vet or the groomer. To ensure the dog is comfortable wearing the device and to prevent the muzzle from becoming predictive of something unpleasant like a trip to the vet, owners will often have their dog practice wearing it at unrelated times like during a walk.
General training and exposure – We are HUGE believers of having the ability to practice skills in as many different environments as we can get to. Some places, such as Bunnings, will only permit entry if your dog is muzzled.
Whether wearing a muzzle or not, we should all be respecting the space of other people and their dogs when out in public. If someone tells you not to approach, don’t take it personally; and don’t take it as an invitation to engage them in conversation from a distance.
The next time you see a person out walking their dog in a muzzle, instead of immediately wondering what is wrong with the dog, appreciate the awesome effort these owners are putting into equipping their dogs with the necessary skills to live their best lives!
If you would like to learn about muzzle training training, touch base with us on our contact us page.
*Photos used are credit to @adventurepaws_dog_training and @muttley__crew