Don’t fear the muzzle

I have been meaning to train Qwerty to a muzzle for a long time. He has never bit any one. He doesn’t even growl, unless he is mad at the cats for trying to steal his food. He isn’t reactive. I am not sure he has a mean bone in his body. Why on Earth would I do this?

To be honest, every dog should be used to wearing a muzzle. You can have the best behaved, best trained dog in the entire universe, but imagine if they get hit by a car and have broken bones and need x-rays. To do that they need to be put in very uncomfortable positions, even the best dog could bite when in that much pain and distress.

In the case of a fire in your house, your pet has been exposed to smoke, a fire fighter may need to give your pet oxygen. The oxygen mask used feels very similar to a muzzle and is a tool that could save your dog’s life. It is a scary situation, but if your dog is already used to having something over their nose, it is a little easier to handle.

Photo credit @bazel_the_vizsla Instagram

Dogs who like to eat things they shouldn’t also wear basket muzzles when out and about. There are some dogs that have had multiple surgeries to have things they have eaten removed from their GI tract, the more surgeries, the higher risk of weakened intestinal walls and perforations of the intestines. The basket muzzle can help keep those dogs from ingesting more things they shouldn’t and helps prevent surgeries.

For the dogs who need them for bite prevention, this does not in any way mean the owner is a bad owner. I would argue this is an Amazing Owner. These owners see that their dog struggles with something and has potential to hurt someone or even themselves. These owners are using a tool to help their dog be the best it can be. Muzzles allow these dogs to have freedom and go places they wouldn’t be able to go without the muzzle. This allows for the dog to train and get over it’s fears or reactivity and hopefully get to a place where they do not need the muzzle all the time.

The moral of this story is, all dogs should wear a muzzle at some time in their life, it’s up to us whether or not the first time they wear it is pleasant or traumatic.

One thought on “Don’t fear the muzzle

  1. Muzzles are more a sign of responsibility now because sometimes you can’t be too careful, especially when you have to account for the responsibility of other dog owners. When I have Jasper at the dog park I will muzzle him because people just let their dogs wonder around regardless of whether or not they are trained!

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