Muzzles are a valuable and highly underutilized tool. Properly desensitized, muzzles give freedom to anxious, fearful or reactive dogs, while keeping humans and other animals safe. Muzzles can be used to create a bite or mouthing barrier during grooming, veterinary care, post op care, pain management, behavior modification, and living around reactionary triggers.
The key to muzzle use is proper desensitization. This means training your dog to wear a muzzle long before they need it. You never know what the future hold so we recommend all dogs be trained to accept a muzzle.
Start with the right equipment. We recommend Baskerville Ultra Muzzles. They can be purchased at some local pet supply stores or online. Here is a link to some on Amazon.
Once you have the correct equipment, you need to follow a detailed desensitization protocol to ensure your dog has a positive association with the muzzle. DO NOT simply strap it on and require your dog to accept it. Below is an excellent video on how to teach your dog to wear a muzzle:
One your dog is accepting the muzzle, have the dog wear it in a variety of locations. Just visit these locations in the beginning. Do not do anything else to the dog.
- Vet’s office
- On a Walk
- In a pet store
- At a friends house
- In a parking lot
Keep sessions short in the beginning and be generous with rewards.
Once your dog is comfortable with the muzzle don’t take it for granted. Bring it out a few times a month and practice. Keep it upbeat and fun. The association with the muzzle should be a good thing for all. Make sure that if you use the muzzle for a particular task such as the vet or grooming, that you use the muzzle at other times as well so that an association with stressful things does not develop.
Any questions or for assistance - contact your Kindred Companions Instructor