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Understanding the Dog Muzzle

Updated: Sep 12

A muzzle is often seen as a representation of an animal so horrible that its mouth has to be physically restrained at all times.

This outdated “Hannibal Lecter” stereotype has not only prevented those dogs from living a normal life but has also cast shame upon pet parents everywhere.

So let’s talk muzzles!

There are two main types of muzzles, the soft muzzle and the basket muzzle. A soft muzzle is used to keep the mouth closed. The basket style muzzle on the other hand allows for much more freedom.

We suggest always using a basket style muzzle that allows the dog to eat treats, drink water and pant freely. The muzzle should be fitted correctly to ensure safety and maximum comfort.

Proper training and conditioning of the muzzle is key! Train your dog to love the muzzle just like you train your dog to do anything else, use lots of treats and love!

Take your time and go slow while teaching this behavior.

Listen to your dog and move at their comfort level. Once your dog loves the muzzle, begin to do simple behaviors while they wear it. Ask for behaviors they know and love (sit, down, come) or take them on short walks to start.

The muzzle should be seen as a “No big deal” thing.

Even if your dog does not require a muzzle for everyday life it is still recommended to train them how to accept one. A dog that is scared or injured can turn to fear aggression very quickly.

Planning for this scenario can save you valuable time and reduce stress in your dog. Even if you never have to rely on one, it is a good idea to be proactive and train the behavior.

If you see a muzzled dog, you can assume that the pet parent is erring on the side of caution and is using their best judgement.

All dogs, just like people, have a unique and intricate back story that may be long and complicated.

The muzzle may allow the dog a freedom that was once stripped from it or give the pet parent the confidence to move freely around their community.

Never feel embarrassed for using a muzzle!

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