Should You Muzzle Your Dog in Public?

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Should You Muzzle Your Dog in Public?

For many dog owners, muzzles carry certain connotations. This can make it hard to commit to the idea of their dog wearing one out in public. They don’t want their best mate to seem dangerous, mean or untrained. But being a responsible owner means accepting when your dog needs a muzzle. When should you muzzle your dog in public?

For dogs with a history of biting people or other dogs, the reasons for wearing a muzzle are obvious. Being around other people and dogs can be stressful, and it can be easy for them to lash out. While your dog is learning to behave or in rehabilitation, it’s best to avoid public spaces when you can. However, going out in public can’t be avoided altogether, so it’s important to take precautions when you do.

Think of muzzles as safety devices – not torture devices. Your dog will be perfectly comfortable with the right muzzle on. It’s your responsibility to make sure that people out walking, jogging and cycling aren’t bitten. Decreasing the likelihood of this happening is not only good for public citizens, it’s good for your dog too.

Always remember that a muzzle isn’t a replacement for training and socialization. For example, you should never take an aggressive dog to a dog park before they’ve been properly socialized and trained. The point is – muzzling your dog in certain situations can make matters worse. And this can only make the road to recovery harder and longer.

However, if your dog has bitten children in the past, don’t encourage kids to smother your pooch with affection and have your dog always wear a muzzle in public.

Training your dog to wear a muzzle

Even if your dog isn’t particularly aggressive, getting them used to wear a muzzle can be a good idea. From being out in public to visiting the vet there are many situations that can be stressful for them. While getting your dog to wear a muzzle isn’t hard, it takes time and patience. Importantly, it’s about helping your pup associate wearing ale with positive things.

Firstly, you’ll need to associate rewards with a sound. This could be a clicker, whistle, or something else. Wt after they’ve ed down. Your next step is to slowly introduce a muzzle. While still holding a treat and making the sound, try to put the muzzle on your dog – rewarding them with a treat as soon as they accept. Keep doing this until your dog puts their nose in the muzzle for longer and longer periods of time.

Once your dog is successfully wearing a muzzle, it’s all about making them comfortable wearing it for extended periods out in public. Remember, don’t ever scold your dog for trying to scratch it off. Instead, try to work on ways of distracting them. The goal here is to build up the routine until they’re happy and willing to wear the muzzle outside.

Fun muzzles to try

The one big drawback of muzzles is how they look. Traditional muzzles made of metal, leather and rubber can induce fear in many people. In effect, this can make your pooch feel more anxious and stressed, and therefore, aggressive. That’s why it’s important to research the different muzzles available, and consider choosing one that’s a little easier on the eyes.

Fun and colourful muzzles, such as the Cesar Millan Funny Muzzle, are designed to create a positive, happy energy around your dog. You can also try out duck-billed protective muzzles that work in much the same way. On one hand, they’re keeping your dog restrained. On the other, they’re helping change people’s negative perceptions.

Shayen de Silva

Since I’ve been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing I’ve loved more than telling a good story.

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