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Muzzle Training 101

Here’s a great YouTube video on how to get your dog used to wearing a muzzle. Dogs hate muzzles when they first go on, so it’s essential to train them to wear them comfortably if you need one. Muzzles do not keep a dog from wanting to bite, they just keep them from being able to. I only use muzzles to introduce a dog to a person or another dog when I’m sure it should go well, but I still want the situation to be safe, in case I’m wrong. I also use them when dogs who may bite have to be handled, as at the vet. We can’t count on our own timing, because dogs are ridiculously fast!!

If your dog may bite someone and you’re not sure what training to do, learn more about BAT. Behavior Adjustment Training can make your muzzle obsolete.

Definitely follow his sage advice to put the muzzle on at times that are pleasant to the dog, or you will end up undoing all of your work to get the dog to like the muzzle. Dogs are great at making assocations.

Written by Grisha Stewart, Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle [Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [del.icio.us] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon] Tweet This Post!
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8 Responses to “Muzzle Training 101”

  1. Shoshannah Says:

    Here in Israel, dogs are allowed on public transportation (bus, train) as long as they are leashed and muzzled.
    Since I don’t own a car, muzzle training my dog gave us much more freedom, allowing me to take him with me to many more places.

  2. Shoshannah Says:

    And here are some photos from today, where you can see we had a day out, and thanks to the muzzle (and muzzle training) he was able to take the train with me, meet people, and go play with friends :)
    http://picasaweb.google.com/shosh.forbes/suDDE#

  3. Annie Says:

    I was recently on a small ferry crossing Puget Sound. Dogs were allowed anywhere as long as they were muzzled. I didn’t know any of this, so Bella had to wear a soft muzzle with no training. Luckily she’s a pretty compliant dog. Although she was NOT thrilled about the idea on the crossing, returning she treated it like something she’d done all her life. However I wish I’d known about this training method previously. Shall try the same technique to get her comfortable with an airline crate. Any recommended methods for that?

  4. Grisha Says:

    You can use a similar idea for teaching them to be comfy in a crate. Here’s a little post on crate training: http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/crate-training-dogs-puppies

    I didn’t know about the ferry and the muzzle. Which ferry was that?

  5. Annie Says:

    It’s the ferry to Hat Island. Great that the dog can come aboard (as there are no cars on it), but I was unaware that a muzzle was required. Luckily she was a good sport about it.

    Thanks for the crate link. Bella has no problem with a wire crate which she used for her first year. However, she is really leary of an airline crate. I tried tossing in treats, feeding her meals in it and she would get the treat or eat her dinner, but would not stay in it. It was a friend’s crate and I thought maybe there was an odor from the other dog she didn’t like, so really scrubbed it down. Nope…and now it’s too small. Looks like now I’ll have to buy a new, bigger one.

    I’ll begin from ground zero and follow your suggestions. Thanks. And you’re probably used to hearing this, but Ahimsa really is the best. I’ve told so many people about it. Thanks for providing the city with such a great facility. Now if you could just open a branch in Renton! : )
    Annie

  6. Iben Says:

    As it is now law in Denmark for some dog breeds to wear muzzles in public I thought about advertising for the italian basket muzzle or basket muzzles in general, since I have seen people muzzling their dogs with those fabric muzzles that makes it very difficult for the dog to pant, take treats etc. I will not be selling the muzzles, just thought of writing a short note to other veterinarians and perhaps in some of the dog magazines. Do you know of any ‘scientific’ evidence or text about why we should use the basket muzzles? Would be nice to have when convincing dog owners to use and vets to recommend the basket muzzle:)
    All the best
    Iben

  7. Grisha Says:

    Hi Iben,

    Good idea to write that up. I think it would also be useful to write an article on getting dogs used to wearing muzzles, too, or refer to something like Chirag’s video. I don’t know of any articles on the different kinds of muzzles, but I think it would be easy for people to see the benefits if you just laid out your opinion about breathing, whisker freedom, drinking, taking treats, etc.

  8. Annie Says:

    I’ve had a new situation arise where a muzzle will be used regularly. There is a beach we will be staying on that regularly has an array of dead puffer fish on it. As you know, puffer fish are highly toxic and some dogs have lost their lives to eating them. My dog loves the beach and it is an area where she can run off leash. The muzzle is a way she can be loose on the beach AND safe from eating the fish.

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