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The Dog Muzzle: From Taboo to Totally Necessary

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Dog Muzzles, are you against them or for them? We all know that if your dog wears a muzzle out and about in public spaces, he will not get too much love from people. A canine companion donning a muzzle doesn’t look like a friendly “companion.” With the ugly stigma attached to the dog muzzle, it’s not likely that he will get the scratches or pets that he would without the muzzle.

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You may have a lot to express about using the dog muzzle. However, if you’re unsure about how humane the muzzle is or if it’s even necessary for a dog to wear, you’re in the right place. We are going to get into some deeply researched information about muzzles. Then, we can look at 15 fantastic dog muzzles you can train your dog to wear with the easy 7-step guide from the American Kennel Club. Are you ready?  Then let’s take the bite out of the muzzle stigma now.

Dog Muzzles: Necessity or Not?

If you’re leaning closer to the idea that dog muzzles are inhumane or unnecessary, let’s see what the American Kennel Club and Merk’s Vet Manual say about it. Sure there are many instances when a dog owner may use a muzzle incorrectly or are just downright abusive to their dog. However, that isn’t the basis of the stigma attached to the muzzle. Those instances are purely the dog owner’s fault, not the fault of the dog or the muzzle. Many people who stand firmly against the muzzle are generally swayed by the look of the muzzle. Now, let’s see the good and healthy ways a dog owner or trainer can use a dog muzzle to put it in perspective for any skeptics here.

Are Dog Muzzles Even Humane?

There are four main instances of appropriate situations in which the muzzle can be and should be utilized. We’ll get into this more down below. What you’ve possibly been put off when it comes to the dog muzzle may be the basket muzzle itself. It is where the dog’s mouth or head looks imprisoned by wire bars. The dog muzzle may look uncomfortable and inhumane, but the opposite is the reality. When a muzzle is used correctly, and for short periods by a loving and attentive dog owner, the muzzle can be a great tool for dog training and avoiding biting. Let’s look at how the American Kennel Club (AKC) teaches a dog owner, just like you, to train your puppy or dog properly.

The AKC’s Guide to Properly Fit a Muzzle & Muzzle Train a Dog in 7 Steps

In just 7 steps and with loads of treats and patience, you can train your dog to wear a muzzle willingly. First, though, you must have a muzzle ready. You can measure four features of the snout to find a well-fitting muzzle. Measure the dog’s snout’s circumference, length, width, and height. Remember, the muzzle should fit correctly to mitigate discomfort like chaffing or an insecure fit.

When you’ve found the right muzzle for your dog you should begin the training in a safe space for the dog, and before mealtime so he’ll be hungry for treats. If you don’t know yet what type of dog muzzles are right for your dog, stay with us, we’re going to get to that soon, too. Hold the muzzle in hand with each strap pulled back, so your dog doesn’t see them and only sees the hole to which he will eventually touch his nose. First, let him sniff the muzzle to get comfortable with it, put it behind your back, giving your dog treats before you reintroduce the muzzle to him. Go at a slow pace. You can’t rush this training and expect a successful outcome. Once he’s comfortable with the muzzle, you’re going to touch his nose to the muzzle for a few seconds treating him with each touch. Next, with a treat in one hand and the muzzle in the other, have him put his snout into the muzzle to get the treat. Repeat this process until it’s not a big deal to your dog anymore. By the conclusion of this step, he may do it on his own, looking for a treat, which is a fabulous show of initiative, don’t you think?

After the 3rd step, it should be gravy, baby! Next, slip the muzzle on the snout for a second and take it off, rewarding your dog with treats. Repeat this step until he’s comfortable with the muzzle being on his snout for a few seconds before you go on to the 5th step. In this 5th step, you slip the muzzle on his snout and fasten it, but immediately remove it as you treat him.  Repeat it a few times, and then you can put the muzzle on him, fasten it, wait for about 5 seconds before removing it, and reward him with treats. Finally, you graduate from 5 to 10 seconds, to 30 seconds, and so on. Do this training method again in public spaces for an anxiety-ridden pooch until he’s got it. You can also use the clicker method for muzzle training that Cesar Millan swears by for positive reinforcement.

When Should Your Dog Wear a Muzzle?

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So, we’ve got the fit and the training down, but how does a dog owner recognize the necessity to use a dog muzzle? We all see the best side of the best dog in the universe at home. However, others may not see how wonderful your dog is in public places. He may have a phobia of other humans or dogs, making him feel overwhelmed and afraid. And what does a scared, nervous dog do in reaction to these feelings? You guessed it! He’s going to do what a scared dog does best; ready yourself for a dog bite or jump or lunge at whatever is perceived as a threat at that moment. And all of a sudden, the ”best dog in the universe” has become a aggressive dog. With a clearer picture of the need for a dog muzzle, let’s look at when it’s appropriate for your dog to wear a muzzle.

While Amongst Strangers or Strange Dogs

After you’ve just read about how a perfectly ‘good’ dog at home can become fearful and aggressive in the face of unfamiliar situations, you know it’s important to keep his health in mind and the safety of others. The more you help your dog overcome his fears of people or muzzles or whatever it is, your bond with him grows and strengthens as you learn and adapt. If your dog has a history of biting or you’re unsure if he may bite, you must muzzle your dog. An aggressive dog generally has an underlying issue like anxiety or a phobia. Such dogs require training and a properly used muzzle for your safety and others.

While at the Vet or the Groomer

Now, onto the next appropriate scenario in which a dog muzzle is necessary; taking the dog to the veterinarian or groomer. When bringing a dog injured or in pain to the vet, she may be a safety hazard. The hazard lies in the heightened risk of being the victim of a dog bite and extends to you, your vet, and others. A dog in duress or pain may be in a state of hypervigilance, therefore increasing the risk of biting. Your dog groomer also may want you to put a muzzle on your dog before entering the shop. Sometimes a dog doesn’t enjoy the process, no matter the importance. That’s just a fact of ‘dog life.’ So let’s muzzle up before we visit the vet and groomer for everyone’s well-being.

If Your Dog Is Destroying Your House

Every puppy is guilty of toilet paper rampage and chewing furniture and toys. However, we can certainly discipline the puppy by teaching him what’s acceptable and what isn’t. If your house is being destroyed or there are just occasional occurrences of this behavior from a grown dog, a muzzle and proper training will get your house back in tip-top shape. Then you can feel all the love you wanted to feel but was compromised by the terrorism your house was under.

If Local Laws Demand Your Dog to Don a Muzzle

No matter how unfair or unjust, the new Federal laws against specific breeds (namely the Rottweiler, Pit Bull, and wolf hybrid dogs) have led to forcing muzzles on the snouts of innocent dogs. The unjust acceptance of automatic labeling and the mandated spay and neuter of aggressive breeds are pieces of the new ordinances against some large dog breeds in America. This new legislature handed down from the supreme court has been enacted in nearly all states in the USA. A muzzle is to be worn by large dogs and aggressive small dogs in public in 13 states.

The Different Types Of Muzzles & What They Do

There are three basic types of dog muzzles for our longer-snouted furry friends. And a short snout muzzle for those dogs that aren’t as horizontally inclined, such as the pug or French Bulldog. Each type of muzzle has its specific function. Let’s see what they are.

1. The Basket Muzzle

The famous basket muzzle is derived from the rigid look of the quite literal basket of the muzzle. It is why it’s thought to seem inhumane, but it’s comfortable. A dog can wear it on outings to just about anywhere that your dog is permitted. Through the wires of the basket muzzle, a dog can pant, drink water, accept small treats and eat kibble comfortably. However, those wires make the dog unable to bite anything, and he can’t destroy the ‘wires’ by biting them. So, that means if you have a dog that has a history of biting behavior or you aren’t sure if your dog might bite, this basket muzzle is a great start to training her to learn how to be around people or other dogs without having the bite defense in her arsenal.

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Here are our favorite basket muzzle picks for your dog.

#1 The Company of Animals Baskerville Ultra basket muzzle is our top pick and is the top pick! The Baskerville basket muzzle will also prove its favor to your dog, as well as the ultra-lightweight, comfortable fit with the best breathability. Your dog can pant, devour treats, and easily lap the water. What your dog can’t do anymore is bite people or other dogs. The Baskerville Ultra comes in six sizes and is fully adjustable by the strap and buckle closure. It can also be reshaped with some simple boil and set instructions for a true custom fit. This plastic basket muzzle package comes with two dog muzzles and is fantastic for small breeds like the Westie.

Our #2 pick is the black Mayerzon basket muzzle for small dogs and the red Mayerzon basket muzzle for your medium to large pooch. If red isn’t your color, we love the black Mayerzon muzzle in large instead. The Mayerzon dog muzzle is a very close runner-up to the number 1 spot. This basket muzzle is made of ultra-soft yet durable rubber. It is breathable, comfortable, and lightweight for a day at the park. Your dog can breathe easily, pant, drink water, and eat all the treats she can manage! Your dog can’t continue to do is engage in biting, barking, or chewing. The Mayerzon basket muzzle is a must-have for an aggressive dog who needs to learn to coexist better. A bonus to this purchase is the 60-day money-back guarantee and the 1-year warranty you’ll get automatically upon ordering.

Our #3 and final favorite basket muzzle is the genuine leather, Ukraine-made Collar Direct dog muzzle. This muzzle is perfect for larger dogs like the German Shephard, Dalmation, Rottweiler, or Australian Shephard. This leather dog muzzle is the best for the large, aggressive dog that needs to learn how to act appropriately while out and about. Your dog can accept treats, lap up water, and pant to cool herself. What your dog will not be able to do is engage in any biting, licking, chewing, or barking. The dog muzzle is adjustable, but you’ll find the size chart handy if you measure accordingly.

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10/03/2022 03:13 pm GMT

2. The Soft Muzzle

The point of using a soft muzzle is to provide temporary prevention from biting or other aggressive dog behaviors. A soft muzzle, also called the sleeve muzzle or the occlusion muzzle, comes in various materials like genuine leather, nylon, and mesh. A dog owner can use the soft muzzle while at the veterinarian’s office for the safety of others. Plus, some dog trainers use soft muzzles until they understand the dog’s temperament. Knowing the necessity of the soft muzzle is vital before buying or using one on your dog. It’s equally vital to understand that you can only use the soft muzzle for short stints of time in climate-controlled environments or colder weather. Don’t ever outfit your dog in a soft muzzle in hot or humid climates. When wearing a soft muzzle a dog can’t use their natural central air conditioning unit known as panting. The dog’s pant can also blow off the anxiety of getting a nail trim or something else that the dog isn’t thrilled about experiencing. Since they can’t eat or drink water when wearing the soft muzzle, they can be in grave danger of adverse health effects. While the soft muzzle has its benefits, the dog owner must use caution.

Check out these new and improved soft muzzles for the next appointment with the dog groomer.

We have discovered a soft muzzle that has the same functionality as the Baskerville Ultra basket muzzle, but you can slide it in your pocket when you’re on the go! The Crazy Felix soft nylon muzzle store has a muzzle for every dog of every size. Starting at the XXX-Small to fit the little Jack Russel Terrier or Maltese. We love the grey and black  XX-Small Crazy Felix soft muzzle for a dachshund-sized dog or the small size Crazy Felix in orange.  These soft muzzles come in various colors to suit the taste of every dog and owner. What the Crazy Felix soft muzzle does allow is panting, yawning, and lapping up all the water and treats he can stand, but it doesn’t allow scavenging, biting, licking, or barking. The soft muzzle from Crazy Felix is fantastic for aggressive dogs and great for larger dogs. The large Crazy Felix in black will always be flattering for any dog!

Another great discovery in the sleeve muzzle, or soft muzzle, is the Downtown Pet Supply Quick-Fit soft muzzle. With an adjustable strap and a quick-release buckle, this is sure to be a perfect addition to your dog’s outfit to the pet groomer or vet. It’s still an occlusion muzzle, so the dog muzzle here isn’t for all-day use. Be quick to release your dog from the restraint as soon as possible. The durable yet comfortable nylon muzzle comes in a wide array of sizes, like the size 0 Downtown Pet Supply black muzzle. Be sure to measure your dog’s snout before buying to mitigate any returns and prolonged waiting for your new soft muzzle.

The next best dog muzzle of the soft type is the Pro Guard softie. The patented Dupont fabric with a super breathable opening for the dog’s mouth is a scratch, puncture, and abrasion-resistant soft muzzle for any size dog. In the strap and buckle closure system, the adjustability comes in the adjustment of the strap. It is a good, inexpensive option to get you going on your way to muzzle training your dog or for the occasional trip to the groomer or vet.  The medium Pro Gaurd softie muzzle is light orange and is a delightful option for your medium-sized dog.

Now our favorite, most comfortable, and adjustable dog muzzles! From the stupendous quality, and the comfort pads that mitigate chaffing, the GoodBoy muzzle guard tops all the lists! This muzzle acts as a guard by the added cushioning it provides for your dog and the slightly different approach to dog muzzles. We love that it allows your dog to pant, eat treats, and drink water by the adjustable strap. The GoodBoy dog muzzles are the most versatile, so we’d like to share a couple we love. First, the large GoodBoy muzzle guard in baby blue and black which is perfect for your german shepherd, bull terrier, or labrador retriever in your life. Last, the medium GoodBoy dog muzzle guard in black on black for your border collie, Australian shepherd, or golden retriever.

3. The Short Snout Muzzle

Any dog with a short snout will likely be a prime candidate for the short snout muzzle. We’re talking about a pug, bull mastiff, English bulldog, French bulldog, boxer, and Boston terrier, among many others. You should measure the short snout muzzle differently than other dog muzzles. To start, get a seamstress measuring tape and measure from just below the chin to just behind the ear. Leave a finger behind the measuring tape to give enough comfort to the dog, but don’t make it too loose. The muzzle will not allow chewing or biting, and should only be worn for short periods.

4. The Homemade Muzzle

Every type of muzzle is available to have one custom-made to fit the snout of your dog. But, if you’re in a pinch you can use a nylon pantyhose or gauze strips to make a makeshift muzzle. You want to ease your way to applying the makeshift dog muzzle to your dog. Be sure to come with treats and sit or lie down with your pooch in a safe space for him. Take your time to ensure that your dog is completely content with your interaction. Then, gently start to wrap the material around his snout with a finger width of space under the wrapping. You need to start to wrap around the back of the dog’s head and end the process with a secure tie-off and a kiss. Remember that the homemade dog muzzle is only meant for an emergency muzzle and shouldn’t be used for longer than 30-45 minutes. You must purchase a muzzle that is all hers and that she can get properly acquainted with as soon as you can.

To Muzzle a Dog

If a dog owner finds a muzzle disturbing at first glance, we only hope to enlighten that dog owner with the research we’ve done for them. It’s not only a humane way to treat your dog but an amazing way to grow and strengthen that bond between dog and dog owner. With muzzle training and as the dog wears the muzzle, the dog is getting some love and treats, and you know that you’re not a permissive fur parent.  Wins all around!