Muzzling Your Dog

You might feel that muzzling your dog is cruel and uncool, but it might be the best thing you can do for yourself and your dog. And they might think they look pretty sexy in their bondage gear.

When I "fostered" Harley (the ruggedly handsome Rottweiler in the picture) 8 years ago he was very angry with the world and took it out on a few dogs and the odd human. Some dogs are aggressive, this doesnít make them bad dogs and itís unfair to punish them when a muzzle can allow them to get used to socialising, keep them out of trouble and keep other dogs and humans safe.

If your dog has shown aggression towards another dog or human do them and yourself a favour and muzzle them. When you are walking and an off-leash dog innocently comes bounding into your dogís space, a muzzle can save a lot of trauma and vet bills.

Over the years Harley has chilled out a lot, and most of the time he is un-muzzled. However, like some humans I know, his angry streak still lurks below the surface. So when he is outside my property, when new dogs or the pool repair man come visiting or we are on the beach, I pop his muzzle on and we can all relax. Muzzles can also help if your dog canít avoid those Ďdeliciousí rotting treats, or that pile of yummy excrement.

And for beach walkers a muzzle can avoid emergency surgery when a piece of kelp gets stuck in their gut. Needless to say Harly was a foster failure and is still with me.

The best type of muzzles to use are the basket types which has holes in it so you can still give them their treats. They can also happily pant, drink and eat so they can wear this fashion accessory for some time.

To positively associate the muzzle, take a treat and put it in the muzzle so that your dog has to put their mouth into the muzzle to get it. Repeat this until your dog happily puts their nose into the muzzle. When you are sure that they are happy with this step you can do the muzzle up and continue popping treats into their mouth.

Start walking your dog with the muzzle on so that they only have positive associations with it. It's also best to do this training when it is they are still puppies so that if you ever need to pop a muzzle on they have already been positively trained.

There are definitely some humans I would love to see muzzled, but while this may not gain social approval, I have only had positive experience from muzzling a dog when itís necessary.



From the dog's point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog. ~Mabel Louise Robinson


††       BERNICE JAFFE © 2010

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