How to Teach Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle
Sometimes, with some dogs, there’s nothing more you can do but use a muzzle. Therefore, you need to teach your dog to wear one. Some dogs need to wear one their entire life, others just for a while. In any case, they’re necessary to take your dog out and socialize safely with other dogs and people.
Dogs which are classified as potentially dangerous need to wear a muzzle during their entire lives. But regardless, a muzzle shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment.
Teach Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle
A muzzle is something worn over a dog’s snout and it’s often uncomfortable. To teach your dog to wear a muzzle you need to make sure that he doesn’t see it as something negative or as a form of punishment. If your dog goes for a walk and feels uncomfortable, and has never worn a muzzle before, then he most likely doesn’t enjoy the walk either.
Your will try taking it off, get frustrated, won’t be able to get close enough to smell things properly, and will just be unhappy. Everyone knows that going on a walk is a dog’s favorite part of the day.
Remember, if a dog needs to wear a muzzle, it doesn’t mean that they’re actually dangerous. There are many reasons that a dog might have to wear a muzzle and be more predictable. For example, breeds of dog which are classified as potentially dangerous are obliged by law to wear a muzzle in public places for their whole lives, regardless of their personality.
Types of Muzzles
In the begging it’s necessary to teach your dog how to wear a muzzle, you need to figure out what type of muzzle you’re going to use. There are many different types to choose from, but ideally you should use a basket type muzzle with openings at the front. This way, you can give them treats when you first take them out, and that way they can develop a positive association with the muzzle.
Introducing the Muzzle
Before you put the muzzle on your dog for the first time, you should introduce him to it at home, or in a safe and familiar environment for your dog. A muzzle is a very strange object and not pleasant at all to wear. So, before going for a walk, your dog needs to be familiar with it otherwise he’ll spend the entire walk trying to remove it.
To do this, try to give the impression that the muzzle is just another object at home. Leave it somewhere your dog can reach it in order for him to see and smell it among his toys and other household objects.
Then, place some treats or tasty food around the muzzle to grab your dog’s attention. Then you can start to place treats inside the muzzle. Your dog will have a good impression the first time he puts his face inside the muzzle. So don’t force your dog to wear it. Let him approach it and do it himself.
Once your dog has no problems putting his face in the muzzle, try to give him treats through the opening at the front. Then, have him receive the treat while he has the muzzle on and continue giving him treats. This way, they’ll see that even if it is uncomfortable, it’s still worth tolerating.
Repeat these steps a couple of times and your dog will quickly learn to associate the muzzle with things he likes. Likewise, after wearing the muzzle a few times, it won’t feel so uncomfortable to your dog.
Games with a Muzzle
Wearing a muzzle doesn’t need to be a punishment, it’s simply a safety measure. So, remember to play plenty of games with your dog even if he’s wearing a muzzle. Show him that they’re not being punished and that they can still have fun and play with you when he’s wearing it.
If you only put the muzzle on to go for a walk without playing with your dog, he’ll just end up feeling that nothing fun ever comes with wearing a muzzle. He’ll probably start to hate it and even start not wanting to go out for walks. It’s easy to create a positive association.
Playing with your dog while he is wearing or having your dog wear a muzzle when he is not on a walk is a good way to teach him to wear one. Make sure not to break this habit.
The Muzzle and Other People
When you’re out walking a dog wearing a muzzle you’ll come across a lot of people who are instantly frightened. Other dog owners will probably not want to get too close because they see the muzzle as a sign of danger. However, this may not be the case. Due to regulations, there are many dogs that have to wear one in public even if they’re not aggressive.
This is really unfair if your dog is not at all violent. There are a couple of things you can do so that your dog receives fewer suspicious looks:
- Make the muzzle more discreet and choose one that’s the same color as your dog.
- Decorate the muzzle in pretty colors.
- Take him for a walk with another dog which doesn’t wear a muzzle. This way you’ll demonstrate that there’s nothing to worry about with your dog.
- Avoid going for walks where there are people. You should avoid other dogs or people if your dog doesn’t like them. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and reduce your dog’s stress levels.
Just like a leash, a muzzle is something artificial. You need to teach your dog to wear a muzzle so he can be himself during his walks. It’s not very difficult and your dog’s will have a better quality of life.