There are different reasons why dogs need to wear a muzzle. Some dogs wear muzzles for safety reasons, others to deter unwanted attention from strangers, some to prevent scavenging and to be ill. All dogs should learn to be comfortable with a muzzle in case of emergency treatments at the vets. Therefore, muzzle training is important at any time.
Like with all training, you can make your muzzle conditioning sessions fun! Every dog should learn to wear a muzzle, even if they don’t need one right now. The most important is to let your dog to accept the muzzle in its own pace. Your dog has to be comfortable with the muzzle all the time because you never know when would it be necessary to wear it.
Which muzzle is the best for your dog?
It is not easy to decide which muzzle is the best for your dog and there are few things to consider when getting one. First of all, the muzzle has to fit your dog’s face. It shouldn’t hurt them or stop them acting normal like panting or drinking. The best material the muzzle is made off should be durable, so it doesn’t break. Otherwise, it can hurt your dog. The basket type muzzle is to recommend because you can feed your dog treats through it quickly, and the dog can breathe freely and drink. Basket type muzzle is best when your dog needs a muzzle all the time. However, when they need it only occasionally, for example, at the vet’s, it can be nylon muzzle or similar.
Size of the muzzle
The size of the muzzle is also essential. How to choose the best for your dog you’ll ask. Look for the recommended breeds online or ask your vet or a trainer. Like any dressing equipment for your dog, measuring your dog’s face and taking care your dog’s nose is not touching the muzzle, is one of the ways to choose the right muzzle for your dog. Be aware also that your dog’s face is free enough to breathe and to take treats through it, as well as fit proper sufficient so your dog can’t shake it off or take it off with its paws. And the last but also important thing too is that the strap is not too loose or too tight, let it be possible to slip one finger through it.
Muzzle training: introducing a muzzle to your dog
The muzzle is not a favourite thing for many dogs. So introducing the muzzle to your dog gently and slowly will make them like it at the end. Here are the steps of how to do muzzle training to your dog.
Step 1: Start the training without a muzzle
Associate giving a treat to your dog with a verbalising, like saying ‘yes’ or ‘good boy/girl’. When giving them treat wait until they calm themselves and then go with a treat and verbalisation together.
Step 2: Introduce the muzzle
After few successful attempts when they react to the sounds and treats carefully introduce the muzzle. Try holding it in the other hand.
Let your dog sniff the muzzle first and when they do give them a treat and praise them all at once. Repeat that several times.
Step 3: Repeat your dog’s nose entering the muzzle
Put some treats in the muzzle too and keep treats in your hand as well. Whenever your dog puts its nose in the muzzle to take treats, do praise your dog. When you get the muzzle on, and your dog is not trying to get out of it, give your dog new treat and verbal praise. Of course, after a few repetitions click it on your dog’s face. After a couple of moments, take it off with approval.
Step 4: Increase the time of wearing the muzzle
Next step is increasing the time of wearing the muzzle. Build up the time from 10 seconds to 20 seconds, then 30 seconds to 60 seconds and so on. Try to do muzzle training in various locations; like the house, a garden, or even in the park or a dog hotel, so your dog can get used to it everywhere.
Finally, when your dog is wearing a muzzle and seems ok with it, head outside for a walk. Soon, your dog will forget all about it with all the distractions that are there.
Be confident in every step of the muzzle training, so your dog feels safe and confident too. Make the muzzle wearing a positive experience and not the punishment for your dog. See our suggestions on how to do it in this video.