Why I Love A Good Muzzle!

My Fury with her Basket Muzzle

Seriously, I love basket muzzles (not the kind they use at the vet that can inhibit breathing and cooling). Basket muzzles can keep dogs alive and other dogs, people, and children safe from a dog that may become aggressive. It is very difficult for a dog with a basket muzzle on to get a bite (unless you are crazy enough to put a finer inside) or the dog can get a little dog fur. I even train all my dogs to not only accept but work obedience for me in a basket muzzle!

It takes a little getting use to, but they love it when I feed them through their muzzle.  At first I tape it off and put their food in there like a feeding trough, then they learn to wait for food nuggets to be fed in through the holes!

WHY??

Because in some of the doggy sports in which I compete the dogs are required to do obedience in a muzzle.  It takes a while to desensitize a dog a basket muzzle and to teach them to love it; but it is possible if you put just a little time in!  I feed her out of her muzzle! Did you know that all Greyhounds wear muzzles while they race?  They can get so overstimulated by the movement of the lure that they can bite one another. Most don’t mind their muzzles at all; they associate the muzzle with the fun of running (although I do not condone the way racing greyhounds are bred and kept!!)

The Right Kind of Muzzle is Crucial

Although these muzzles prevent bites, they also inhibit breathing and the ability for the dog to cool himself.

Although these muzzles prevent bites, they also inhibit breathing and the ability for the dog to cool himself.

Nylon muzzle (like they use at the vet or the groomer) that keep the mouth tight and shut are not meant to be left on for any real period of time much less while the dog is unattended.  These muzzles keep the dog’s mouth shut and after a period of time it becomes difficult if not impossible for them to breathe and then cool themselves.  Using this kind of muzzle for long periods of time or in the heat can kill dogs.

I also don’t care for metal basket muzzles.  The metal is often cheap and not well finished making some of the edges sharp and it can be painful if your dog hits you or rams his muzzle into the end of it.  The metal can also get hot in the sun and burn.

I do however like the soft plastic (almost feel like rubber) muzzles that Greyhounds use and the soft leather ones that police and protection dogs use while training. All dogs have to be taught to put up with and even enjoy his muzzle, it is not something that comes natural.

Won’t My Dog Look Like Hannibal Lector

YES!!!  It is likely that he/she will. I actually giggle a little when I put my little female Dutchie in a basket muzzle she is so sweet and affectionate with people that it is kind of funny to watch people leap across the street. It is also likely that people will judge you and your dog when he wears one. But I have become immune to ignorant judgmental people over the years.  They will think whatever they want, and really you have no control and as I tell myself, it is none of my business.

It is none of my business what someone else thinks about me or anyone else, this helps to keep me humble and put the worry of judgment in my past. Many countries in Europe force owners of certain breeds to muzzle their dogs in public whether or not the dog has aggression issues, but as Americans we seem to have more of an emotional issue seeing dogs in muzzles.

The Real Truth of the Matter

If your dog needs a muzzle to be safe or to keep others safe then he needs a muzzle. The real truth is that if your dog happens to bite another dog or a person, you will be much more embarrassed.  And, your dog might be deemed “dangerous” and the city or the county in which you live could force you to have your dog euthanized.

A six month old Rottweiler puppy was taken away and deemed dangerous by the county in a county where I lived.  The owners of the dog said the puppy merely scratched the child, the parents said the dog bit.  I was young and new to dog training, but all I saw was a happy, go lucky, untrained puppy.

The parents and the court won and the six month old puppy was euthanized for being an excitable  puppy with no obedience training (obviously this was the owners fault). I dare a parent to say a dog in a basket muzzle was able to bite (unless a finger gets into the muzzle). And although scratching and pouncing is bad and can and will carry a fine, it is usually not a euthanize-able offense.

Muzzles Keep the Idiots Away

They even make them for short snouted dogs!

They even make them for short snouted dogs!

And, I mean that in the nicest way possible. We have all met the person that no matter what you say about your dog not being comfortable about being petted or not liking other dogs.  HE has a way with dogs, all dogs love and understand him… yeah right.

Or, his dog LOVES other dogs and is friendly so your dog will certainly like his off leash wild dog too, right? People often mean well, but they are ignorant and people like this aren’t capable of being taught a lesson; because they already think they know it all.

Ever try to teach a teenager something, with the eye rolling and the ignoring you… that is what it is like to try and educate a person who thinks he is good with all dogs, or his dog is fine with dogs so all dogs should be. But put a basket muzzle on your dog and watch the seas part.

No one will let their kids or their dog or themselves charge or scare your already nervous, fearful, or aggressive dog; if your dog is already wearing a muzzle.  It is like a blinking sign that says STAY BACK!!! Let the muzzle do the work for you and ease some of your stress!

When I had my NIX, he was skittish of people from the time he was 9 weeks old and a muzzle gave him and I peace of mind in the beginning of our training program while he was learning  to gain confidence and live around people. No matter how cute he was, people didn’t want to get close to the puppy with the muzzle on his face;  but without it children and adults would come running to pet him (he was just sooo cute!).

He didn’t mind the muzzle and until I could learn to control him and the people around him it was the best way to keep everyone safe. Eventually he was able to live a very controlled but social life and he never bit a soul, but in the beginning I needed a way to be able to socialize him with confidence and desensitize him to people during training, for more on understanding desensitization click here.

Lack of Socialization

Muzzles and a diligent owner keep bites from happening!

Muzzles and a diligent owner keep bites from happening!

Many people that have dogs with aggression problems lock their dogs up at home and never take them out. They are embarrassed that their dog is dog aggressive or that he/she is skittish or aggressive to people or children; and so they keep their dog at home and stop socializing. They think this is the best way to keep everyone safe.

Socializing and trying to control people with a dog that suffers from aggression can be very stressful and that stress and anxiety that you are feeling travels down the leash to the dog; making the dog feel as if his aggression is warranted and also making him worse.

So How Do You Socialize an Un-Social or Aggressive Dog?

First, hopefully you socialize them effectively as a puppy and for more on that click here.

You socialize them safely where there is no chance of a bite. You socialize them with a muzzle and you still learn to control their environment.

Some people believe in flooding, a term in psychology where whatever the individual is terrified of they must face it on a large scale. Say you are afraid of spiders… if I were to treat you with flooding I would lock you up and cover you in spiders.  Some of you would get over your fears, but most of you would be traumatized to the point of needing medication and being a million times worse with your fears.

I don’t believe in flooding dogs either! I don’t think that you should take them to the dog park to overcome their fear or aggression toward dogs, or to take them to Chuck E. Cheese if they are scared of or aggressive toward kids. The key with good dog training is to teach your dog that you can control their environment and to trust you.

If you allow them to be traumatized you are not to be trusted. If you can, however, learn to control people (keeping them from bothering your dog) while you are training and your dog learns through positive experiences that he doesn’t need to get aggressive or worry because he trusts in your abilities not to traumatize him then you can begin to move past some of his undesirable behaviors.

 

Desensitization which is a slow process is always better more on that here.

A muzzle can give you the confidence to work on his behaviors without having to worry about bites.   And, this confidence will transfer to the dog, who will learn his environment isn’t really all that scary.

That Doesn’t Mean He is Cured

All police and military dogs get use to working in and wearing muzzles!

All police and military dogs get use to working in and wearing muzzles!

That doesn’t mean that your dog is cured!! People work on a behavior and then when they haven’t seen the aggression for a few weeks or months they think the dog is “cured”.

This usually isn’t the case, the key is that you have taught him how to act and react appropriately, but if pushed he is likely to revert back to his old ways.

Through therapy I might be able to teach you to overcome your arachnophobia.  You may no longer be afraid of a spider outside your window or in the bush 50 feet away.  But would you want to be covered in them??  Probably not!

The key is to know your dog and know he or she has fears, anxieties and a propensity toward aggression toward certain stimulus and be prepared.

These triggers don’t go away, you just learn how to control your dog and teach him to calm himself.  But don’t fall prey to thinking that aggression is curable with a simple fix!

The dogs that people think they can “fix” are the dogs that end up biting someone later in their lives when someone lets their guard down.

If you have a nervous or aggressive dog you always have to be on guard that is what keeps everyone safe; because keeping everyone safe is what life and dog ownership is all about!

If your looking for a muzzle you can search online or check out this site http://www.morrco.com/dogmuzzles1.html

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Comments

  1. Lejla says:

    My dog doesn’t wear it however if it was a legal requirement i wouldn’t mind to make him wear it. In some countries it is a legal requirement to have your dog wear a muzzle anywhere outside your property whether your dog is small or big,agressiv or not. I would suport such a legislation as I am scared of other people’s dogs.

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  2. Gigi says:

    This is all very fine, but even these dogs who have been in the shelter, some are very agressive and scared, even for obidience training. Some do not even let a Dog trainer get to them, and when the trainer is trying to get him to have confidence, people are so ignorant, they do not like that training, because they do not understand anything, how it work, and dont want to put time and effort into it. This happens once in a while, that some people think they are smart, but that this is showing the opposite they dont even understand.
    I am never happy with a muzzle on a dog. Even here People should be more educated, one lady came and wanted to buy they muzzle the vet and grommer use, she was a senior, she wanted to put it on the dogs for 8hours, because it was barking. Many, many people who have a dog are so ignorant, it is making me sick to my stomach. If you dont know anything, make yourself smart, before you hurt your pet.

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    Minette Reply:

    Muzzles can be great if the right type is used and safety is in mind for dog, owner and the public.

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  3. Dee Davis says:

    I believer your points are valid and have always looked at muzzeled dogs with sympathy for them. The basket muzzel is a better way than the muzzels used in vets offices. We live in South Texas where the heat can be very intense. Walking a dog without the ability to open his mouth can be an invitation to disaster. The basket muzzel eliminates that problem.

    Are these available in pet stores or online?

    I’ve never looked into this before but intend to right away.

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    Minette Reply:

    Some pet stores carry them, usually the metal ones, which can heat up in TX heat too, so I’d try and find the plastic varieties.

    http://www.morrco.com/dogmuzzles1.html

    There is a site… I just hate to use a website for fear people think I am aligning myself with a website or doing marketing… which was not the point of course 😀

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  4. Richars Mason says:

    GREAT help!!!!Thank you.

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  5. Jack says:

    Perfect timing! I am currently shopping for a muzzle for my Malinois to wear when we go to the vet, and since I know nothing about them I was leaning towards the less intimidating looking nylon type. I’m glad you posted this before I bought one. Can you recommend a specific brand that you like? Thanks.

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    Jeanette Reply:

    Just bought a nylon muzzle for my chocolate lab and it took him about 3 minutes to pull it off and rip it apart. I’d hate to see you spend your money on one for your Malinois and watch it get demolished before your eyes. I am now on the hunt for one a bit more sturdy.

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    Minette Reply:

    Nylon is never safe anyway!

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    Minette Reply:

    http://www.morrco.com/dogmuzzles1.html

    You can check these guys out or just do a search on the web 🙂

    The vet will appreciate it I’m sure

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  6. Lorraine says:

    I was just about to go and buy one of those nylon muzzles also. I just wanted to keep my dog and others safe when we went out and never dreamt they could actually be harmful especially with the onset of summer and hotter weather.
    I will certainly be getting a basket one now and try getting her used to it by putting nibbles through it.
    Thanks for a very informative and important message!

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  7. Adrienne says:

    I have 3 greyhounds and they wear their muzzles when I am gone from the house. They have thin skin and play rough – I don’t want to come home to a bloody mess. The muzzles are for their safety.

    I also put muzzles on when they are riding in the car. A couple of them can get “snarky” and I wouldn’t be able to stop the car in time to make sure no one gets hurt. I have sometimes forgotten to take them off when they get out of the car and go for walks.

    Damage still can be done while wearing muzzles but it is minimized.

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  8. Kerry says:

    I’m wondering about other reasons to muzzle a dog. Those small leather muzzles what are they for? training muzzles and ones that stop a dog from eating things off the ground? especially in the spring. why do nonaggressive dogs wear muzzles?

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    Minette Reply:

    Yes some people use them for dogs that eat inappropriate things and some of us do obedience and protection sports with them like I mentioned in my article.

    My dog is super social but occasionally she wears a muzzle for obedience work so I can compete and just to get her use to it.

    They can also be great at the vet if you have a dog that is nervous, fearful, or aggressive.

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  9. Maven says:

    The muzzle is a great idea. However, I don’t know how well my pooch would act towards it! She turned 1 year old two days ago and I have never even tried to use a muzzle. I wish that a certain someone at the dog park would get one for their dog. Whenever I take my dog to the park and said person is their with their canine companion, she nips and bites at Sadie {{ my dog }} who doesn’t do anything in response. Sadie is very good natured and wouldn’t dream of nipping another dog, not ever to show her that she was fed up with being bullied. At first I didn’t think that this was a problem until we left the dog park one day and Sadie was limping. That was the last straw and I haven’t been back since.

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  10. Beth says:

    I have the same question as Jack–could you recommend a good muzzle–like the blue nylon one in your photo above?-Thanks so much for your e-mails.

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    Minette Reply:

    I never recommend nylon muzzles unless you work at a vets office or a groomer and are using it for super short periods of time, they aren’t safe.

    I updated the post to show a website that sells many varieties of basket muzzles

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  11. Rosa says:

    My cute little yorkie is very aggressive, so aggressive that when I walk her all she does is pull and bite on the leash.. it drives me crazy. I wait her out then when she is ready we walk. People think its funny or that she doesn’t want to go outside and try and approach her to calm her, really… and I have to constantly tell people she is cute but aggressive and does not like strangers. Like you said, some actually think they are the dog whisper!! I want to invest in dog training because I just don’t have the time but in the mean time was also considering a muzzle. Like Jack posted, please recommend a specific brand especially for small dogs.

    Thank you.

    Rose

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    Minette Reply:

    I updated the post but you can check these out http://www.morrco.com/dogmuzzles1.html

    or do your own search on the internet, there are many sites to choose from

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  12. Val says:

    I tried to buy a basket muzzle for my adult Rottie bitch, but none of the muzzles I have tried fit her. We tried the standard muzzles and they would pinch her lip corners over time, we tried the short muzzles but they would rub her nose. Short of measuring her and sending for a custom muzzle (with no guarantee that will fit when it comes) I don;t know what else to try. I live in UK – anyone have any recommendations?

    I wanted it mainly to address scavenging, but it would be useful for the occasional times she can be dog-aggressive.

    Also, any idea how to secure them when you use a martingale (half-check) collar? This is the kind of collar that seems most comfortable and suitable for her as her neck is so large, but it wouldn’t secure a muzzle as by design she could, with effort, get it over her head.

    Thanks for any advice anyone can offer.

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    Minette Reply:

    These guys will make you a custom made muzzle and give you the instructions on how to measure http://www.leather-dog-muzzles.com/

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  13. Linda says:

    I currently have a rescued pit that is fear biter I already planned on a basket muzzle. I know that keeping him away from all his fear without helpng him move past it was doing him no service. Thanks for telling others and as a trainer myself I will remember to educate others as well.

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  14. Zoey Sembler says:

    I AM ACTUALLY THINKING OF GETTING A MUZZLE 4 MY 5-MO.-OLD PUPPY ‘CAUSE SHE TRIES 2 EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT WHEN WE WALK HER. SHE PICKED UP PART OF A WOOLY BEAR CATERPILLAR & STARTED IMMEDIATELY FOAMING AT THE MOUTH & PUKING. SHE WAS FINE, THO’ I’M THINKING IF 4 NO OTHER REASON, THE MUZZLE MAY B A GOOD IDEA. HAS ANYONE HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH MUZZLING HELPING WITH THE TODDLER HABIT (BOTH HUMAN & CANINE, IT SEEMS) OF WANTING 2 TASTE ALL THE DEBRIS & DETRITIS SCATTERED AROUND THEIR WORLD?

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  15. Felicity O'Neill says:

    I wear a basket muzzle on both my dogs – NOT because they are aggressive BUT because they are both scavengers and eat the most disgusting things possible when off lead.

    I then get the resulting mess on the kitchen floor the following morning!

    Neither of them like being muzzled but just have to tolerate them.

    Muzzles make our walks enjoyable again for me as I am not constantly trying to stop the disgusting habit with never a hope of getting to the offending substance before the dogs.

    Felicity

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    Diane Rusbridge Reply:

    Felicity, I muzzle both my girls for the same reason and also to save me money as here in britain slugs and snails carry worms which can be fatal to them are around in more and more numbers medication is available but costs around the price of a muzzle and has to be repeated monthly so after month one its save save save. The muzzle also stops any unwanted attention from strangers which suits me

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    Diane Rusbridge Reply:

    Both my girls wear their muzzles and save me money as here in britain slugs and snails transmit worms which can prove fatal so they are not able to pick up anything which a slug or snail has visited.The cost of the medicine is around the cost of a muzzle every month so after month 1 its save save save. The added bonus is no unwanted attention from strangers. Considering that a muzzled dog is a safe dog with reguarding biting im amazed that muzzled dogs are such a turn off.

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  16. Jesse Moldavsky says:

    My Sydney was the sweetest pet, but would “graze” at the park and eat goose stuff and other harmful substances that would come to a $300.00 vet bill. Hence, the basket muzzle. She wasn’t cute or friendly looking or fuzzy, and it broke my heart, but sometimes you just gotta do the right thing for your pet.

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  17. Linda Schiller says:

    I don’t know why this was sent to me, however it came at the perfect time. I have a Giant Schaugher female of 53 lbs. She is 20 months old and she just bit a lady while I was taking her for a walk. In the past I had put a muzzle on her but as she got older I thought that she had become accustomed to walking on a leach. While walking this last weekend the leach broke and I don’t know if the snap scared her or what when through her mind. She ran forward and bit the lady walking about 10 feet ahead of us. I have now once again started walking her with a muzzle. Seems like when she bites it is always behind the knees or in the café area. Other then having a muzzle on her I don’t know what else to do. I do sometimes have problems with her taking the muzzle off. Wondering which kind is best.

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  18. Jeanette says:

    I need to get some advice… I am a first time dog owner and got my chocolate lab about 4 mths ago. When he is with me, he behaves. He sits so I can take off his leash. He sits when I give him his treat,etc. but when certain people come over my house (like my son) he growls and has even nipped him a couple of times. Then my sis-in-law came over and without warning, he took a chunk out of her leg. Sooo…as mentioned in my previous post, I bought the nylon muzzle. Giant waste of time. Other than getting a new muzzle, which I fully plan to do – what other tips can people give me for training?? Can a dog like this be trained or is a muzzle the only answer??

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  19. Sandra says:

    I am not worried about Karina biting anyone – she might lick them to death. The muzzle is a great idea for her because she (chiweenie) likes to find every dead bird, dead rat, dead snake she can and try to consume them before I can get to her. She even goes after slugs. This might solve that problem while we are outside.

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  20. Mendi says:

    I have been thinking about a muzzle for a while (I have a 2 yr. old lab) not because she is aggressive but because she just won’t stop barking when we let her out in our back yard. She absolutely hates our neighbor. Now even when he isn’t out there – she runs to the back and barks…I’ve tried so many things to get her to stop. Anyone out there have any advice? Do you think a muzzle will work or the barking issue?
    Thanks for any advice.

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    Minette Reply:

    Muzzles are not for barking, because they can bark with a basket muzzle on and leaving a cloth muzzle on might kill her. Instead teach her to be quiet.

    Search for articles on barking in the search bar on the right hand side of this article and there are many to choose from!

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  21. Pam Parsons says:

    Hi, I use a muzzle on one of my dogs because she has always been a very anxious dog and is an inveterate chaser!! She is a Collie-Springer cross and she loves to chase; bikes, joggers, golf carts, the greensmen driving the course, any dog she can make run…. and although I have done lots of work to decrease her chase instinct it is only partially fixed….
    I really don’t entirely trust her, so she wears a muzzle so that she can run free and does not need to be always on-leash.
    In fact she is much more responsive to ‘wait’ or recall when wearing her muzzle I am sure it registers that it is no fun when she can’t really threaten her ‘target’… and I believe she knows that she is more vulnerable if another dog decides to react
    I have no regrets taking her out in her muzzle… it means freedom to her, and peace of mind for me!

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  22. Vivienne says:

    Hi there

    I have a client with a french bulldog. He has a muzzle (on probation for a year) much like the French bulldog muzzle pictured above in the article. I am wondering if anyone knows of a different kind of muzzle for a frenchie, that is, one made of lighter stuff but will still prevent him from biting. The one he has is very heavy and quite frankly doesn’t fit well at all and can slip sideways.

    Is someone making basket muzzles for French bulldogs out of a light weight material with a better, tailored fit. I have tried to research online, but alas all I can find is heavy duty steel and leather.

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  23. Jan says:

    Thank you for a new in site on muzzels, I have never thought of them this way, and I like what you say about them. I don’t plant to purchase one but the info is nice if I ever do. Thank you!!!!!

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  24. Hey Chad!
    Great article and yes, i agree to all!
    Three more points:
    1. In an air conditioned vehicle for limited time periods, with multiple dogs, muzzles are a great, economic substitute for cages. My pack loves to pretend they are hunters descending on a hunting grounds and bark loudly and agrressively upon disembarkation, where plenty of opportunity for teeth into fur exists due to high excitement. After the excitement of landing at the park finishes, they come to me for muzzle removal.
    2. Muzzles are a great teaching tool for excessive barkers. I used to think the muzzle was merely a management tool not a training tool, but you are right. Training potential is unlimited here. I just show the cloth muzzle to the excessive barker now and she correct herself.
    3. Entrepreneurs out there need to work on a basket muzzle (not metal) that doesnt break! At thirty three dollars a pop, up here in Canada, the basket muzzle is immediately eviscerated by its owner. I have thrown a few hundred dollars away on them. the metal one is too brutal when its owner smashes its head on another dog.

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    Minette Reply:

    I never recommend cloth muzzles unless it is for short times and you are there and it is no way to train a dog not to bark…

    They do make leather basket muzzles and soft plastic basket muzzles that will not break, they can be chewed but certainly not break.

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  25. Therese says:

    I adopted a chiwawa shitsu mix a year ago from a family with young children and a cat he is now 18 months old and letting him out in the yard or going for walks is frustrating he goes crazy barks becomes aggressive when he sees other dogs tried everything got him neutered get him tired before walks play fetch the ball run with him nothing works thinking of getting a muzzle the problem is he has a short nose checked online can not find one also read not recommended to use muzzles on short nose dogs getting a trainer or taking classes too expensive I am a calm and patient person all I want is to enjoy going out for walks and my dog to ignore or accept other dogs passing by.

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    Minette Reply:

    basket muzzles come in all sizes and can be made specifically, use the link I provided or search online.

    cloth muzzles should not be used on short muzzled dogs but basket muzzles don’t hinder breathing.

    If in doubt always consult with your vet.

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  26. Katie says:

    Hi Minette,
    A little off topic, but I was wondering if you had any ideas how to keep your dog out of the trash can? I have an 11 month old GSD who is ALWAYS in the trash. He gets a lot of exercise and everything, but we just can’t seem to keep him out. He have a step trash can and he has learned to open it with his nose… it’s really annoying! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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    Minette Reply:

    Read this 🙂 http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/trash-2/

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  27. karen smith says:

    i’m sorry but i do not believe in muzzles….people getting a dog should do so with the full intention of training it properly and knowing exactly what they are doing.Too many people don’t…human ignorance is is such that animals suffer and the planet is in the terrible state that it’s in.IBELIEVE in TRAINING PROPERLY AND THOROUGHLY,and plenty of research into canine life and understanding my dog completely.Ive spent hours with him and he has a beautifull character.Almost every problem with any dog…is the owners fault and alot of them do not even realise it.Ihave a very strong belief about dogs..one has to consider their behaviour in the WILD…no dog in the wild wears a muzzle.To me,it isn’t natural…and i’m sick and tired of dogs suffering because of children tormenting them so much so that the dog “turns” on them.Of coarse,i know there are times when a dog can bite for what seems to be no reason,but in my book,an agressive dog…is ONLY the fault of an ignorant owner.

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    Minette Reply:

    Wolves and dogs kill each other in the wild every day!

    And, no it is not always the owners fault!

    Sometimes good people get aggressive dogs and hopefully you will continue to be lucky but there are plenty of aggressive dogs out there and owners and people that need help.

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  28. Jacquie Austin says:

    Although I see your point to a certain degree, I am concerned that in the normal way of life, the man/woman on the street will not handle the muzzle training with the same understanding as yourself.

    I have a nervouse rescued dog who is fine with other dogs until they insistt in sniffing him and won’t leave him alone. He will try to get away from dog but if it won’t leave him alone, he has no choice but to warn the other dog to stay away, (surely this is the natural way of things)? So far I have been lucky enough to call my dog to me and ask the owner to call their dog off. When the muzzled dog is treated to this kind of nuicense it’s up the owners of the other dog to call it off but alas this doesn’t always happen. This is where the other owners are at fault and cause these kind of problems.

    If a muzzled dog is being pestered in this way, could it not make the said dog even more worried or become aggresive towards other dogs, as it has no alterative but to run away, which then causes the chase instint to kick in and stops the muzzled dog from protecting itsself?

    Of cours there are those dogs that for one reason or anther are aggresive to all dogs they meet and usually most owners keep them on leads but alas I have met several who allow nasty dogs to do as they please while looking in the other direction.
    I call my dogs to me if I see another dog on the lead, assuming that it is on the lead for a good reason. I make them sit by me until the said dog has passed. Also the same applies if there are children about who are unatended by an adult.
    I will not use a muzzle for the reasons above but should it tranpire that one of my dogs turned nasty, then I would certainly use a muzzle but not as a matter of routine. I do not enjoy seeing people shying away from a dog wearing a muzzle as it stops the dog from normal interaction with people and other dogs etc.. But that’s just my opinon!
    Could it not be that a dog seeing people shying away each time he/she passes by them, perhaps delevope a kind of sence of power of scaring people and start chasing them? Dogs aren’t silly as you know!

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    Minette Reply:

    The point usually is TO change the behavior of the muzzled dog and have control and if the dog is on a leash (which he should be) there is no reason that you would allow another dog to pester him…

    It’s not for every dog as most don’t need them but they can be invaluable for some dogs and people to keep them safe!

    [Reply]

  29. Dee says:

    I love the suggestion of using a muzzle! I took the beta dog of my pack for a play date with his litter mate and some furry friends a couple of weeks ago (the Alpha was left home because she can be very dog aggressive). All was fine at first, then a new arrival (14 weeks old but large breed) came in and both litter mates attacked! We were all shocked as no warning was given and they had never reacted like that before. Luckily no blood was spilled and we just ended the playtime and went home. With muzzles on both dogs they could have had a new friend. I am going to get 2 so my pack can go back on outings again without fear of them nipping or biting. When I have been asked (in the past) if my dogs bite I answer “They havve teeth, so they have the potential to”. You just never know if they are having a bad day. Love these blogs! Thanks and keep them coming!

    [Reply]

  30. Wendy says:

    I have a soft nylon muzzle which I use sparingly on my sometimes overexcited border collie in a public place eg outdoor cafe. The effect is immediate. No jumping up, no barking. She lies down on the footpath on her front, forlornly looking up as if to say “get this abomination off me”. She hates it. 5 minutes is enough, after which I just show her the muzzle and she calms down. It’s better than any hand signal – she understands fully what I want her to do. She’s not aggressive, just over-excitable. She’s actually a trained therapy dog, and she behaves incredibly well with the elderly in the home. When she’s out and about with just me, she can sometime lose her head a bit. Well, can’t we all?

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  31. Diane Rusbridge says:

    My two girls like to pick up and eat anything so because slugs and snails carry worms here in britain and the jury is out on if they have to eat the slug or snail or that the worms are left on anything that they visit i muzzle both of them.This helps the dogs as they dont have to have monthly medication which at the price of a muzzle is a cost worth saving. The added bonus is no unwanted attention by strangers when out walking and surprisingly other owners leashing their dogs and controlling them in our presence which should happen in all circumstances anyway but doesnt when dogs are not muzzled.

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  32. Rich Danilchak says:

    I have a 10 week old female Westie. Her name is Lily but I call her Taz because when she gets angry or frustrated she resembles A tasmanian Devil I have seen in videos. She bites and growls and hisses etc. She is also teething and bites while playing. She also snaps at feet like she is herding everybody. Fist question: How do you let her play with teething toys if she is muzzled. The muzzle seems like a preventative measure and does not in itself train the dog not to bite when muzzle free1 Can a muzzle be used a a training device and put on only when she begins to bite and then taken off when she calms down.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The muzzle is more prevention than training, it is going to prevent a real bite and sometimes actually helps calm dogs. It allows you to train in some situations that might otherwise not be safe.

    I would not use it on a puppy, instead I would teach bite inhibition and encourage exercise.

    This article was for dogs who are severely dog, people, or child aggressive or who are or may be fear biters in the face of dogs/ people/ children.

    [Reply]

  33. Carolyn says:

    Where did you get that blue muzzle? I’m going to need one as I dont trust my heeler mix with kids. I think a brightly colored one would be less scary (not to mention less embarrassing for me!

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I’ve had that muzzle for 15 years and got it from an ex-racing Greyhound adoption organization. You will just have to do a search online, sorry!

    [Reply]

  34. Jeremy says:

    My dog hated the muzzle. I started smearing peanut butter on the wire cage and would hold it up until he came and put his face in the muzzle. I’d put some more peanut butter on the cage then proactive a couple commands after he’d licked the muzzle clean. Each day I would increase the time in the muzzle and by the end of the week we could walk around the block in the muzzle. In 2 weeks he could wear the muzzle for about 90 minutes just fine.

    [Reply]

  35. Bretta says:

    I’m in a moral delima. We have multiple dogs and all have been socialized. The problem one is a male mix I got at 6 days old, he is lab and we believe German short hair pointer. He has been socialized, been around other animals and places. Over the past few months he has been like Dr. Jackle and Mr. Hyde. He will go up to our German Shepard mix and just out of the blue go off on her, if I lead her to the back bed room he goes after her. I am debating on purchasing a muzzle for him to wear and get resocalized, since he has been grounded from going to rodeos with us. I would love some advice on my chaos, yep that’s his name and it fits him to a tee.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Muzzles can be fallible if just put on and not used with training, I would contact a veterinary behaviorist to see the behavior and help put you on a behavior modification program.

    Dogs acquired so young often have aggression issues and a veterinary behaviorist can help.

    [Reply]

  36. Judith Chinea says:

    My 3 1/2 year old 17 kg male mix, medium energy type dog will snap if someone gets too close to me with sudden, rapid movements or an object in their hands when I stop to windowshop or talk to someone. I am a woman in her 60’s and it is just the two of us. We live in Buenos Aires in a busy neighborhood. If we are walking there is no problem, I like to go for long walks with him, but if I stop or sit on a bench he gets very protective. (I am not the timid, little old lady type who needs protection.) I notice he does the same thing in the park if he is playing with a female dog and a male dog comes near. Since I am not his “bitch” I want to stop this type of behavior. The problem is that what triggers it off is a person’s sudden, unusual movements which happen rapidly and trigger a “get back” snap from my dog, something which I can’t anticipate. He doesn’t bite them (he has never been allowed to use his teeth on a person’s skin, even in rough play) but his teeth have scratched them and caused damage to their clothes and they yell that they have been bit. He does not bark or lunge at them and when I correct him with a jerk of the lease and make him sit he remains calm. I have never seen this problem in any website. He only does this with me and not if anyone else walks him. Someone suggested I put a muzzle on him but would this help correct the problem? How would he associate the muzzle with that particular problem since he would have to wear it all the time?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    First I would be less worried about whether it would correct the problem and more worried about him breaking skin. All it takes is for someone to say he bit and have a scratch and you could be looking at euthanasia. So the muzzle will keep everyone safe.

    It probably won’t fix the problem if you don’t pair it with behavior modification and give him sometime else to do. Although just having a muzzle on can take the wind out of their sails.

    In addition to the muzzle I would add a down stay on the ground or have him give you eye contact and focus. Giving him a job will make him feel less like he needs to protect you and more like he needs to do his job.

    [Reply]

  37. CC says:

    Love your article. I ended up finding the cute brightly colored basket muzzle for my guy, per your suggestion. Do you know of people using them when letting their dog off leash with kids or runners? He’s a herding mix including blue heeler so he’s got that hard controlled bite that doesn’t break the skin but leaves one heck of a painful purple bruise! He’s had a herding instinct test and we may pursue training but I want to muzzle him with kids. Do you think this could cause aggression/do more harm than good by frustrating him? Note: he’s not aggressive towards people and joggers are fine. There seems to be a speed/sound component at play too!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I wouldn’t do off leash things like that, and yes a muzzle can frustrate and make aggression worse in instances like that… there has to be obedience and control added

    [Reply]

  38. Tracy says:

    I have 5 dogs. One of them started chewing the dog beds. I quit buying the beds, and now, he has started chewing up my throw rugs. I have 4 dogs that are 9+ years. He, the chewer, is about 7 years old. I am at my wits end. I cannot tie him up in our yard, as the heat in the summer gets in the upper 120 degrees. Would one of the plastic basket muzzle work for my problem?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    that will likely kill him too… he needs a crate INSIDE

    [Reply]

  39. Alfie says:

    My one year old dog will play with other dog but then he will start to get a bit rough with them. pulling ears and tails and when the other dogs have had enough of him he will keep on going. Should I put a muzzle on him when he starts behaving like this . I have tried putting him on te lead for time out.

    [Reply]

  40. CHRIS says:

    I HAVE A BLUE HEELER RESCUE DOG ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD HE HAS NIPPED HARD ON OUR WALKS SHOULD I MUUZZLE HIM

    [Reply]

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