Vet's Advice: July 2017

June 22 2017

Your dog may have never shown any inclination to harm a fly, however should you muzzle train him or her anyway? And, what is muzzle training?

Muzzle training - the pros and cons

 Your dog may have never shown any inclination to harm a fly, however should you muzzle train him or her anyway? And, what is muzzle training? 

Muzzles come in several different formats, some are soft material muzzles that slip over the nose while others are the basket style (Baskerville), these are better for use on walks as dogs can still pant. Some dogs, as pictured, will wear a muzzle on walks due to fear aggressive behaviours towards other dogs, vehicles or possibly even people. A muzzle should not be used instead of behavioural training, but instead as a tool to be used alongside a structured behavioural programme through advice from an APBC registered animal behaviourist (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors). Other dog owners often give your dog more space if they can see he or she is wearing a muzzle, which can help for dogs with fear aggressive behaviours feel more secure. 

But what if your dog doesn’t need to ever wear a muzzle for the reasons listed above? Some people would argue that it may be worth training them anyway to accept a muzzle as if the worst should happen and they become injured and are in lots of pain, they may need to wear a muzzle for a vet to be able to examine them. If they have been introduced to muzzles in a non-stressful way previously, then they will not find it scary if they need to wear one. 

To muzzle train your dog, you want to gradually introduce the muzzle in a positive way. Allowing your dog to lick dog treat paste or soft cheese paste from the muzzle first so that they voluntarily place their nose into the muzzle. Do not fasten the muzzle for the first few times you practice. After a few tries, fasten the muzzle but release it again rapidly. With basket muzzles, you can poke treats through the gaps in the muzzle even once it is clipped behind the ears so you can reward them while they wear it. 

The Blue Cross website (listed below) has a fantastic video showing muzzle training. However if you have any questions, call us on 0117 924 7832. 

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-and-muzzle-training

http://www.apbc.org.uk