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Training

Muzzle

We believe that muzzle training is important for every dog! Muzzles can be used for a variety of reasons many of which do not involve reactivity or aggression. Many common reasons for a dog wearing a muzzle include: 

  • Bite risks due to aggression or reactivity towards strangers or dogs

  • Bite risks at the vet. Many dogs are not comfortable at the vet office and will show aggressive behaviors not seen outside of the stressful environment. A muzzle also helps the vet staff feel comfortable and stay safe.

  • Bite risks in other situations, such as an injury or emergency (even friendly dogs can bite when they are scared or in pain)

  • Dogs with Pica. These dogs are constantly scavenging/eating things they're not supposed to.

  • Prevents dogs eating poop. (coprophagia)

  • In place of a cone after surgery/for medical care

  • Breed-specific legislation (BSL)

  • Some dogs have fragile skin, and their owners will muzzle to prevent any accidental injuries while they play together

  • Introducing new dogs to a household, just in case

  • Prey drive

  • Some places drop poisonous baits

  • Rough play

  • Some stores require them

  • Public transportation

 

While Muzzles are a wonderful resource there are some things they should never be used for

Muzzles are not: 

  • A supplement for training 

  • A way to get aggressive dogs together with other dogs or people. (The aggressive dog will still display aggression it just will not be able to bite)

  • A way to prevent barking

  • Muzzles should never be left on unsupervised or for extremely long periods of time. 

If you see a dog out in public wearing a muzzle please be respectful. The dog and owner are likely working on some kind of training. An owner that uses a muzzle is an owner that is thinking about the safety of those around them. 

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Fitting a Muzzle

There are many different types of muzzles and each one will have slightly different kinds of adjustments and fit. The muzzle strap should be tight and if you wiggle the muzzle up and down it should not easily come off the dogs head. It is important to note that your dog should not be trying to constantly remove the muzzle from its head. If this is the case you need to do more training to make your dog comfortable in the muzzle. The muzzle should not be sitting in the dogs eyes and they should have plenty of room to open their mouth and pant. We recommend attaching your dogs muzzle to a well fitting collar. This provides the most comfort and safety. Some muzzles have top straps that provide more security. We recommend the top straps for aggressive dogs that are a bite risk. Other dogs this strap can be cut off or removed for more comfort. 

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Sizing a Muzzle for your Dog

Getting a properly fitting muzzle for your dog is extremely important! Putting a muzzle on your dog that does not fit correctly can be dangerous for both your dog and potentially for the other animals or humans your dog interacts with.

 

A good muzzle should be comfortable for your dog to wear for long periods of time. It should allow your dog to completely open it's mouth and pant. A muzzle that does not allow this puts your dog at risk of heatstroke/overheating. You should also ideally be able to feed your dog food/treats through the muzzle for training. 

There are several measurements that are important to have to confirm your muzzle will fit correctly. Only measure your dog if it is safe to do so. If your dog is a bite risk you should not open your dogs mouth or attempt to get measurement without the help of a professional. 

  • ​Muzzle Circumference: Ideally you should get this measurement with your dogs mouth open to simulate an open mouth during panting. Get your dog to hold a ball in its mouth or add 2-3in to your dog's closed mouth circumference. 

  • Snout Length: you should measure about 1/2 inch in front of your dogs eyes to the tip of their nose. This will ensure the muzzle does not ride up into your dogs eyes when it is worn and will make sure the muzzle is not too long to prevent feeding. 

  • Snout Height: What is the height of the muzzle from the top of the nose, down to the chin. Again this measurement is best taken with the dogs mouth open. 

  • Muzzle Width: What is the width of the dogs snout at its widest point. You do not want the muzzle to be too narrow or too wide. 

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