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Train You Dog To Wear a Muzzle

albuquerque muzzle

albuquerque muzzleWearing a muzzle is a great training tool, good for social situations with other animals, and good to help prevent any potential accidents from aggressive behavior. But you don’t just want to throw a muzzle on your dog, you need to train them on how to wear it so the muzzle becomes something they welcome instead of something they fear.

Start with Puppies

The easiest time to teach your dog to wear a muzzle is when they are a puppy. Puppies can be taught to wear muzzles and have the training integrated into play and touch training so they associate the muzzle with affection and good times.

Fitting a muzzle

A bad fitting muzzle is an ineffective muzzle. During early stages of muzzle training, you don’t need it to fit properly. You only need it to fit enough to fit on their face until they learn to put their face into it willingly. Once your dog training is done, then it is time to get a muzzle that fits your dogs place properly.

A good rule is that a muzzle fits snugly but isn’t tight. Your dog should be able to open their mouth but not all the way. When fitting your muzzle it is a good idea to get the help from your trainer or vet.

Muzzle Training

The first part of muzzle training is to get your dog to place her face in the muzzle.

  1. Hold the muzzle with the opening facing your dog and keep the straps folded back and out of the way.
  2. Show her the muzzle and use a click sound then give her a treat. Your dog just needs to look at the muzzle, hear the click to get the reward.
  3. Once your dog is comfortable with looking at the muzzle, start moving it closer to their face. Get them to look at the muzzle, make the click and give them a treat. Generally 5 to 20 times at each stage is good for reinforcing behavior.
  4. Once the muzzle is close to their face, ask them to look at the muzzle, make the click and say muzzle or face and put a treat inside the muzzle so your dog has to go into the muzzle to get the treat.
  5. One comfortable getting it inside the muzzle, offer the treat from the outside of the muzzle so your dog has to put her face into the muzzle before being able to get the treat.
  6. Once your dog starts pushing her face into the muzzle, start buckling it. Give her a treat for putting her face in the muzzle and then again after buckling.
  7. Then start only giving the treat after buckling the muzzle.
  8. Once your dog is comfortable putting their face in the muzzle and having it buckled, practice doing it at different heights and angles. Some dogs are good at one height but not another, and you want to make sure your dog accepts the muzzle in any position.

Remember that muzzles are not scary. It will be no time before your dog is excited to put on her muzzle.

No Candy For Your Dog

halloween candy dogs

halloween candy dogsHalloween was amazing!! So many costumes. So many kids. So much candy. Now that you have all this candy what do you do with it? Often, unless we are 10 years old and have an insatiable hunger for candy, we cannot eat all the candy that we have in our trick-or-treat candy bucket. When you are trying to figure out what to do with your candy, do not give it to your pets.

Tootsie Rolls and caramel apples are off the list, of course, but here are some acceptable goodies that can keep him happy even though they won’t be in any kid’s Halloween bag!

Your dog and cat cannot eat any of your Halloween candy. There is not a single piece of it that won’t potentially make them sick or even risk death.  But that doesn’t mean that they have to be left out of the fun. You can give your pets the healthy treats.
Carrots, cooked sweet potato, green beans and even lettuce are super yummy and your dogs love them. It might be health food for you but for fido is a great treat to eat. Strawberries, melons, blueberries, bananas, apples and pears (without seeds) are also super yummy. If you are feeling ambitious you could make them a special treat that will be better than any candy and will be healthy too.
If you notice your pet vomiting, having diarrhea, lethargic, or loss of appetite please call your vet immediately as he might have eaten something he shouldn’t have.


Not Just Aggressive Dogs Wear Muzzles

albuquerque muzzleMost people believe that muzzles are used only on aggressive dogs to keep them from biting. This is not true. Muzzles have a lot of uses for even well behaved dogs.

Some uses of Muzzles:

The Vet

Dogs are typically nervous and anxious when the visit the vet. They are in a strange environment, often with a lot of unfamiliar animals around, and then they meet someone who pokes and prods and often sticks them with a shot. Just like our visits to the doctor, it is not the most fun in the world. When a dog experiences anxiety and fear and they are in a situation they cannot leave that can turn into aggression. It is not uncommon for very well behaved and sweet dogs to snap at the vet or vet tech. It is not because they are aggressive, it is because they are afraid. If a dog does get aggressive the vet will sometimes put on a muzzle or use gauze to wrap around their mouth to create a muzzle. This can also be stressful for your dog. Additionally if your dog bites someone, even the vet, they often have to be put into quarantine which can be very stressful for them as well. Putting on a muzzle prior to the visit is a good way to help prevent any unwanted injury to you, anyone trying to assist the dog, and even your dog himself. . If your dog is already use to the muzzle then wearing it is not a stressful experience.


Meeting New People

Many dogs get anxious in new situations or meeting new people. Working with them through behavioral therapy can help them learn to cope with unfamiliar environments, situations and people. Using a muzzle while you are doing the training is a good tool to help keep everyone safe while you are doing more challenging therapy.

When your dog is meeting other dogs or other animals, using a muzzle is a good way to help ensure that they don’t have any sudden outbursts of aggression. Even dogs that are great meeting other people and other dogs might not be great meeting a cat or a horse. A muzzle is an excellent tool for desensitization training.



More places in the country and world are requiring dogs wear muzzles in public, especially bigger dogs. If you travel to a country, like France which requires muzzles for larger dogs, you may have your trip ruined if your dog is not muzzle trained and you can’t bring her in public. Muzzles laws have also been put into place as an alternative to banning breeds, like Denver where pit bull’s are outlawed.

Racing and Other Games

As more and more people are getting into the dog life, more sports for dogs are coming about. Racing is gaining popularity and in any race muzzles are requires.



Types of muzzles.

Basket muzzles are the most common type of muzzle. They are bulky but are easy to feed through the basket. It is also easy for your dog to pant and drink with the basket muzzle. The basket muzzle is the safest for long term wear and even though they can eat, pant and drink, your dog still cannot bite anyone.

Mesh muzzles are great for quick use like at the vet or during transportation, or in a pinch. They can easily fit in a bag or pocket. They do not allow for panting and keep your dogs mouth closed so they cannot pant or eat. This is why they should only be used for short term.

A “softie” muzzle is a comfortable fit and similar to the mesh muzzle. It still allows your dog to pant but not to eat treats or bit. Though for highly aggressive dogs, some have been able to bite through the soft sides which makes the muzzle ineffective.

Some people like to use head halters, and they can work as a muzzle but do not offer the same level of control as a safety muzzle.

If you are unsure about using a muzzle or how to safely use a muzzle with your dog, talk to your vet or a trainer.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.