Muzzles is unfairly association with dogs that are either aggressive or those who attack. However, that is not true. According to experts, every canine needs a muzzle at a point in his or her life. There may be several situations when a pet parent might need to use a muzzle. It might be for the safety of people around them as well as their pet.
Putting a muzzle on your beloved pet can be very disturbing. It may make you wonder if he or she can breathe, drink or even pant while wearing a muzzle? Does it hurt him or her? And why is it even necessary? There are situations where a muzzle might be necessary and situations where it is not, but how can you decide when it’s needed and when it’s not.
To help many pet parents understand the need for a muzzle and the type of muzzle, we have created this mini-guide. A muzzle is meant to be used only for a limited period of time and only when your furry one is under supervision.
These are the situation where a muzzle is a must –
- Medical emergency (If they are injured or scared, they are more likely to bite)
- If he or she has a history of biting
- If he or she is aggressive
- During grooming sessions
- During a veterinary examination
- If he or she is anxious (Canines that are stressed or upset might bite)
- Requirement according to breed-specific legislation [BSL] (According to this legislation, certain breeds have to wear a muzzle in public spaces.)
Muzzles are mainly used to prevent a dog bite. They are not and must not be used to prevent any behavioural problems. One must not forcefully keep their mouth closed to prevent barking, chewing, or other behavioural problems. Keeping their mouths closed to prevent behavioural issues is a temporary solution. Moreover, it may be considered a sign of animal cruelty. To help your canine with such behavioural problems you must consult a canine behaviourist or trainer.
While choosing a muzzle for your furry baby, ensure to pick the right size and the right kind of muzzle. That’s right, there are two types of muzzles available in the market i.e. basket muzzle and a soft muzzle.
It looks just like a basket and is available in leather, wire, plastic, and rubber material. You can purchase them and alter the fit according to your pup’s mouth. It is recommended to use a basket muzzle and not a soft muzzle because canines are more comfortable in it. In a basket muzzle, their mouth isn’t being held closed, they are allowed to open their mouth to eat, drink and pant. It can be used for training purposes as one can slit a piece of treat into their mouth easily.
Soft muzzles are made using fabric such as nylon or mesh, or leather. A soft muzzle will wrap your furry one’s mouth and hold it close. They will not be able to drink or eat while wearing a short muzzle. Canines even face difficulty in breathing while wearing a soft muzzle. It must be used for a short period of time and only under supervision.
It is crucial to train your dog to accept a muzzle. If trained at a right time, under low stressful conditions, and by using the right rewards, a canine will be able to accept a muzzle. Your veterinarian or canine behaviourist will be able to guide you and train your pet to use a muzzle. However, we have a few points that can help you train them.
Allow him or her to sniff the muzzle for a few weeks
Play with him or her using the muzzle. You may touch his or her nose with the muzzle or play any other game suggested by a canine behaviourist. Continue playing the same game for a few more weeks.
To motivate them to put their nose in the muzzle, hold the muzzle in one hand and treat in another hand. He or she will have to put his or her nose inside the muzzle to reach the treat. Repeat this step till he or she is comfortable putting his or her nose inside the muzzle.
After your canine puts his or her nose into the muzzle to take the treat, gently put the muzzle on, fast the buckle, and remove it immediately. Continue doing this until it is not a big deal for your pet.
Then, put the muzzle on, feed him or her a treat leave it for five seconds, and take it off.
While following the step, increase the time gradually, and do not forget to feed him or her treat after.
If your canine needs to wear a muzzle due to any of the reasons mentioned above, remember to pick the right fit for him or her. Picking the right muzzle fit is the key to using it properly. It must not be too tight or too loose. One must realize that muzzles are not a solution to behavioural issues. Positive training and its consistency can help canines suffering from various behavioural issues.