dog playing in a muzzle

Muzzle Training

TRAINING MUZZLE

Use a treat to lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle and feed the treat while your dog is wearing the muzzle

Dogs can be trained to love their muzzles.   The key is to teach your dog that muzzles predict something positive like yummy treats or fun play sessions.

Here are some easy steps to follow to get your dog comfortable in a muzzle.

Be sure you are practicing these with a well fit basket muzzle, nylon muzzles are not meant for training.

Step 1: Muzzles taste good.

Your dog has no problem sticking his nose in a jar of peanut butter to lick out the yummy stuff.  The same can be true for your muzzle.  Place peanut butter or cream cheese on the front of your basket muzzle and hold it towards your dog.  Let your dog place his own muzzle in to lick it out.  Don’t try to snap it on or hold it on your dog.  Practice several sessions like this until your dog is no longer suspicious of the muzzle.

 

Step 2:  Hold a treat and feed through the muzzle.

Hold a treat with one hand and the muzzle in the other.  Encourage your dog to place his nose in the muzzle by showing him the treat on the other side.  Once his nose is in the muzzle say “yes” or “good” and feed your dog the treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog sticks his head in the muzzle just to get the treat.

 

Step 3: Put it on cue.

Now, that your dog is comfortable putting his face in the muzzle we want to name that behavior.  Practice the same behavior as last time, but say “MUZZLE” once before you lure your dogs face into the muzzle.

feeding muzzle art

Hold your muzzle and treat away from each other and treat when your dog looks towards the muzzle or puts his nose in.

 

Step 4: Phase out the lure.

For this step have the muzzle in one hand and your treat in the other, but don’t lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle.  Say “Muzzle” and hold the muzzle open if your dog moves his face closer to the muzzle say “Yes” or “Good” and give your dog a treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog can consistently put his nose in the muzzle without being lured.  Remember your still going to reward your dog your just not going to bait him into the muzzle.

 

Step 5: Snapping the muzzle.

Now repeat the last step and snap the muzzle closed and give your dog three treats then unsnap it.  Repeat this until your dog no longer has a reaction to the muzzle being snapped shut.

dog training art

Snap the muzzle on and give lots of treats

 

Step 6: Wearing the muzzle.

Repeat this last step, but instead of unsnapping it right away have your dog chase you with a fourth treat.  Then feed your dog the treat and unsnap it. Repeat this until your dog doesn’t show any discomfort or hesitation moving towards you with the muzzle on.

 

Step 7: Muzzle party.

Just like care keys predict a car ride, a leash predict a walk we want a muzzle to predict a fun play session.  Start with step 6 and then finish with playing with your dog for 3-5 minutes.  You can chase a soccer ball together, run around the house together, let him chase a flirt pole ect.  Gradually make these muzzled play sessions longer and longer and you will start to see your dog can’t wait to put his muzzle on.

dog playing in a muzzle

playtime in a muzzle

Learn more about muzzles Muzzle Myths

We would love to add photos of your muzzled dog.  Please send photos to ahmia.bennett@gmail.com

Muzzle Myths

muzzle myths

lab comfortable in a well fit muzzle

“Muzzles have done more to protect owners and their dogs than legislation”, quote by Dr Mugford.

A muzzle is not a bad thing… yes, that’s right lets say it again.  A muzzle is not a bad thing.  Many people feel a tinge of shame, fear or embarrassment when they are told their dog should be muzzle trained.  I would love to see the muzzle stigmas removed.  Here is my attempt to help dog owners understand muzzles just a little bit better.

 

Let’s start by busting some myths:

My dog can’t eat or drink with a muzzle on. 

There are different types of muzzles.  Some are ideal for vet clinics and others are perfect for training, because they allow your dog to drink, pant and eat through the muzzle.  The best muzzles for training reactive dogs are basket muzzles.

 

A muzzle will not fit my dog. 

Yes, it will.  Deerhounds, rotties, pugs, and great danes there is a muzzle that will comfortably fit every dog breed.  There is a muzzle on the market for every dog in every shape and size… heck there are even goat muzzles available.  There are even muzzles that can be purchased, heated up in the microwave and custom fit to your dogs face.  Make sure that you pick a muzzle that fits your dog and if your not sure how to do this click here fitting muzzles.

 

Muzzles will make my dog look scary looking. 

Maybe, this is true, but muzzles are frequently used by responsible owners in all sorts of situations – such as controlling excitable animal during vet visit, when meeting new dogs, or during busy events and gatherings – and new products have been designed to be welfare friendly. They are another great tool in the training box for responsible owners – alongside good discipline and positive reinforcement – and ultimately provide peace of mind if you are worried about a dog’s reaction.

 

My dog can’t protect himself in a muzzle.

Yes, that right they can’t.  That being said it is our responsibility to protect our dog.  If you are putting your dog in situations where he feels like he needs to protect himself or really actually needs to protect himself then that maybe a even bigger problem.  If your dog has a opportunity to bite a human or another animal that could be a really big problem.  Thousands of dogs a year are euthanized for behaving badly.  This allows you to protect your dog from his own behavior.

 

“I can handle my dog without a muzzle.”  and “I really don’t think he needs one” 

A dog biting a human or animal is a really big deal.  With tougher laws surrounding antisocial dog behavior coming into force, dog owners might find themselves worried what the changes could mean for them. The legal changes mean a possible 14-year prison sentence for owners of dogs that kill, as well as tougher terms for people whose animals attack a person in a home or private property, or attack assistance animals such as guide dogs.  Here’s the deal you don’t only wear a seat belt when you ride in a car because you anticipate getting into a car wreck, it is just incase.  If you wear it and don’t get into a wreck it’s no big deal, but if you get into a wreck and your not wearing one you may wish you had been.  The same is true for a muzzle, if there is any potential for your dog biting a human or animal it is your responsibility to fit your dog with a muzzle.  Don’t let ego cloud your judgment.

To learn how to teach your dog to love wearing a muzzle read this: Muzzle Training