Muzzles look scary and they often make the dogs who wear them out to be big scary monsters, but really, dog muzzles are commonly used to help improve a dog’s behavior. But, before you start using a dog muzzle for barking, biting, or scavenging, it’s important to take the right steps when introducing them.
At The Vet Set, we want you to get the takeaway of proper muzzle introduction and etiquette because it makes a difference. Follow along in today’s blog as we give you practical ways to train your dog to use and be comfortable wearing a muzzle.
Whether your dog is braking or excessively lunging at other dogs on walks, it’s important to first introduce them and let them get comfortable before going out with the muzzle on. Below are some steps to take with your dog so they can feel confident in a muzzle.
The very first step is to simply show your dog the muzzle to show it that it’s not harmful or dangerous. Just casually bring it out and allow them to explore it — let them sniff and lick it and see that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Once your dog is a little bit more familiar with the muzzle begin to touch the muzzle to their nose and with each successful touch, reward them with a treat. This not only brings a positive association with the muzzle, but now they have a vested interest when it comes out.
Now that you’ve touched the muzzle to their nose with great success, begin to place the muzzle by place a treat in the muzzle so they can get used to placing their muzzle within it. Keep repeating this step until it’s natural and easy for them to do.
By this point, your dog will probably love the muzzle because of the positive rewards they get! Now it’s your turn to put the muzzle on your dog. After you’re able to place the muzzle, be sure to continue giving your dog treats. Repeat this step until they don’t mind it and feel comfortable wearing it.
Taking it one step further, place the muzzle on your dog, secure it, and then take it off. Build trust with your dog and once the muzzle is removed, give them a treat. Keep repeating this but increase the time the muzzle is left on each time so they can wear it comfortably for longer and begin to feel confident in it. And the best part, they know that eventually it will be removed!
A muzzle is a great tool to keep your dog and others safe and should you choose to use a muzzle with your dog, it is crucial that you take the proper steps and muzzle etiquette to acclimate your dog.