The Muzzle Puzzle

There is sadly an all too common and negative perception surrounding the use of muzzles, which often stems from a lack of understanding or misconceptions. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more depth.


How does it make you feel, if you see a dog approaching you,
who happens to be wearing a muzzle?

“Oh no, that dog must be aggressive, or has a bite history”

“It’s such a shame, the poor dog”

“It must be so uncomfortable and distressing, the poor dog can’t eat or drink”

“Can they even breath in that thing”

What preconceptions might we have about the owner?

“They obviously can’t control their dog”

“Why haven’t they invested in training so that their dog doesn’t need to be muzzled”

“Oh, that’s right, just stick it in a muzzle, how would you like it”

Although slightly dramatised, I bet some of the above are familiar thoughts!


So, why do dog’s wear muzzles?

Though it’s true that some dogs wear muzzles because of behavioural issues that can make them reactive or fearful when faced with certain stimuli or situations, this is not the case for others. Dogs wear muzzles for a variety of reasons, let’s take a look at some of those.

Safety during trips to the Vets of Groomers;
medical examinations or grooming procedures can sometimes be uncomfortable, particularly for dogs who are anxious or fearful, or who may have had an unpleasant experience in a similar environment.

Preventing dogs eating from the floor, when out on a walk;
some dogs will snaffle up just about anything they find whilst out on a walk, whether that be left over scraps, stones, sticks, poisonous plants, or other non-edible materials. Wearing a muzzle can prevent dogs from ingesting dangerous or toxic substances.

Breed specific legislation;
Dogs registered via the Dangerous Dogs Act banned list, must wear a muzzle in public places. Sadly, this does nothing to help our prejudices in relation to certain breeds, or the size and physical characteristics of certain dogs, who may have no history of aggression, at all.

In the event of an emergency,
if a dog is in pain or has significant injuries, it may be appropriate to utilise a muzzle. Dogs who are in pain can redirect their pain onto other dogs, or to us as humans. Muzzling in this situation not only keeps anyone examining the injury or providing emergency first aid safe, but also prevents the dog doing further harm to itself.

How should I approach muzzle training with my dog?

First and foremost, make it fun! And under no circumstances just whip out a muzzle and stick it on your dog.

A few quick tips:

– Always build positive associations.

– Allow your dog to explore and investigate the muzzle, on the floor, sofa, or on your person.

– Use high value rewards to entice your dog’s nose into the muzzle in short, sharp bursts.

– Place the muzzle between your knees (in a seated position) and use high value rewards to entice your dog’s nose into it. This is useful further down line when you may need two hands to secure the muzzle.

– Use movement – hold the muzzle in one hand, using the other to pop a high value reward through, move around in the space, so your dog acclimatises to the movement and follows the muzzle.

We have teamed up with the awesome “The Muzzle Movement” who provide comfortable, well fitting and snout snazzy muzzles, with biothane straps, offering a variety of fabulous colours, and themes.

Check out these super snazzy snout holders at Muzzles– The Muzzle Movement using code WAGNBONEADVENTURES to claim 10% off your order.

How else can we help?

WagnBone Adventures will be running a series of free online workshops, to guide and assist you in positively and effectively muzzle training your beloved pooch. If you would be interested in joining one of our sessions, please contact us in order to be placed on our waiting list.

How to get in touch?

You can contact us via:

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