Dogs have become man’s best friend, despite the fact that they used to play an important role as guard dogs and hunters. Today, they have become a companion within our homes, and you could say they are even one of the most popular pets to own.
Because of this, we have now had dogs in our homes for thousands of years without them being a source of help – though, as we know, many are still used today within different services; police, guide dogs, search and rescue, etc.
Whilst dogs can behave angelic at home, some may show aggression or unease towards other dogs when out in public. A lot of people will often resort to muzzles as a way of training their dog in hope to correct the issue.
There are a lot of reasons why a dog parent may muzzle their pooch, but a lot of people might not be muzzling them correctly.
If you walk to the park, how many dogs do you see muzzled and what are your initial thoughts? Sometimes we assume that the dog is a fright to other dogs, but this is not always the case.
The Best Way To Help A Dog Wear A Muzzle
You should not just stick a muzzle on a dog and hope for the best. Instead, a dog needs to be eased into wearing one, usually starting at an early age is the best idea.
This way they can be conditioned into wearing one, and they will have plenty of time to get themselves used to wearing it, ultimately meaning that they will feel much more comfortable in doing so.
The muzzle should also not be used for too long a period, such as outside of the situations where he will be needing to wear one.
This could cause your dog to refuse to wear it if this keeps happening, or cause extra issues for the both of you which will become counter-productive.
Why Do We Muzzle Dogs?
There are a lot of reasons why a dog parent may muzzle their pooch, and it is not always because they appear aggressive.
They may be anxious in certain situations when it comes to other dogs, and because of this they perhaps appear loud, forceful and may bite – though this does not mean they are nasty.
One of the main reasons to muzzle a dog is when they show signs of anxiety or are becoming easily disturbed.
Putting a muzzle on during these times will show your responsibility as a good dog owner, especially if your dog could potentially affect other dogs around them.
There are certain situations where you may feel a muzzle is necessary, such as at the vets or a groomer.
A dog will understandably feel anxious because of the other animals, different smells, unfamiliar rooms, and being looked at by a stranger. To avoid any little bites or unnecessary behaviour, a muzzle is recommended in this situation, or anything similar.
Not all dogs will have the same anxiety, just like humans, so wearing a muzzle to places like the vets is not always needed. However, even so, you never know when something distressing will occur, so always have one to hand or have the dog wear one anyway.
The Different Types Of Muzzle
When a dog is anxious (or any dog for that matter), you need to buy a muzzle that fits him correctly. It needs to feel comfortable so that he will not become even more anxious about what is on his face.
There are uncomfortable types of muzzle, and these need to be used for shorter periods of time, otherwise you could risk your dog becoming very agitated and him not wanting to wear it.
The occlusion muzzle is one that keeps the dogs mouth completely shut and prevents them from moving their mouth at all.
This and ones that are similar should never be used during any hot weather due to the dog not being able to drink, so never, ever use this for a long period of time.
Also, dogs cool themselves down by panting, so by having a muzzle on that restricts their movement means they will not be able to do so, potentially causing your dog to have health issues.
There are many different types of muzzle depending on what you are after, so do your research before buying the first one you find.
Dogs And Aggression
What most people (who do not own a dog) think of when it comes to a muzzle is an aggressive dog, but as we know, that is not always the case.
Even when an aggressive dog is muzzled, the muzzle itself is not training the dog to be less aggressive, in fact, it could be making it worse.
Having the muzzle on may make the dog become agitated and frustrated, ultimately making the dog’s behaviour much worse. Even though you have stopped him biting, he can still use his body to bump into others, lunge at something and use his claws.
If this is the case with your dog, seeking professional help is always the best way to help your dog become trained to overcome what is likely to be anxiety in certain situations.
Sometimes it is just general anxiety, or anxiety of particular situations, but a dog will need help if he is struggling to cope.
There are many different types of treatments, which can be handy if you want to try different ways to calm your dog. The muzzle will likely be used in training, but as the dog gets better, he may not have to use it anymore – or less than he used to.
A dog trainer may even get you to avoid certain situations altogether that provoke your dog, meaning his anxiety will not trigger and it will cause him less stress.
It is all about finding out exactly what it is that bothers him so you can work on it or avoid the situations.
What We Have Learned
Muzzles are useful when used correctly, but can be counterproductive when it comes to an aggressive dog.
Whereas a dog may need a muzzle to stop them from giving the vet an odd small bite due to anxiety, an aggressive dog may find a muzzle frustrating, making him act out even more.
With an aggressive dog, the best thing to do is seek professional training. This will help you to discover trigger points and potentially train him to wear a muzzle without becoming stressed.
Hopefully, you might just be able to give up the muzzle altogether. Even though muzzles can be useful, wearing the wrong style or size can cause more harm to a dog, therefore creating issues that never existed before.
You generally should not use a muzzle to train a dog without finding out the cause of a problem. This will help you to avoid these situations, whilst helping your dog to stay happy and healthy.
Dogs will always need constant care and attention, even after the training is over.
Repay their good behaviour with treats and rewards, and make sure they are comforted in situations where they might usually feel the need to become highly stressed, leading to them having bad behaviour.