The Pet Behaviour Centre
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Muzzle Training

The use of an appropriate muzzle is important in helping to reduce or eliminate certain unwanted behaviours associated with aggressions. The use of a muzzle will increase the safety of people and other animals where a dog has already bitten or shown aggression. It will increase the confidence of the owner and helpers during counter-conditioning techniques. Using a cage-type muzzle still allows natural behaviours to occur, eg panting for ventilation, barking and drinking. Certain veterinary procedures may require the dog to be muzzled. Certain breeds are legally required to be muzzled.

Which type of muzzle?
The type of muzzle that we recommend is the “Baskerville” muzzle. This muzzle allows dogs to breathe easily and to pant if they need to. It also has the advantage of having a “basket” type of structure with holes in it, which is ideal for “posting” in treats allowing you to still reward your dog for appropriate behaviour when he/she is wearing the muzzle.

Introducing The Muzzle
It is important that your dog has positive experiences of the muzzle from the outset - as you can imagine, dogs are not going to like having a muzzle put on and, all too often, muzzling becomes a fight every time the dog goes out. To avoid this situation, the muzzle should be introduced gradually and introduced as something nice.

To get your dog used to wearing a muzzle, put a piece of your dog’s favourite food in the bottom of the muzzle and bring it up to the dog’s nose. He/she will smell the food in the muzzle and put their nose into it themselves. Gently slide the muzzle over the dog’s nose so he/she can get the treat, then remove it again.

Keep repeating this exercise but on each occasion leave the muzzle on for longer so the dog gradually gets used to wearing it.

It is a good idea to use the word “muzzle” as you put the muzzle on, as your dog will associate this with the action.

Try not to put the muzzle on at the same time or place every day, or your dog could start to anticipate it. Put the muzzle on and take it off again, at different times of the day and in different locations. Close-fitting muzzles restrict ventilation and panting and often reduce or prevent drinking or the ability to vomit which can have serious or even fatal consequences.

Muzzles are inappropriate for barking behaviours and destructive chewing. Their use in such behaviours may cause fear-related aggression. Better techniques are available to deal with these problems.

Telephone: (01) 4949800 Fax: (01) 4932158 Email: [email protected]