Dog Muzzles & Muzzle Conditioning

In recent years, dog muzzles have developed a strong, negative association. The good news is that this negative association has developed because more people are recognizing that dogs are not toys, but living creates in need of love, care, respect, and understanding. The bad news is that this association has developed because of muzzle misuse--not the use of muzzles in general. In fact, when used properly, muzzles can be a great way to help dogs handle social anxiety, pressure, and more. We at Julius K9 offer dog equipment across the US through our online store, including tools like muzzles. Whether you’re searching for a “dog harness near me” or other kinds of K9 equipment, we not only provide the tools, but also the training to use them properly.

Muzzle Use Vs. Misuse

The controversy of muzzle usage has developed largely because of how muzzles have been misused by a dog’s family due to lack of proper understanding and education. It comes down to the use of muzzles to as either a way to curb a problem or to punish a dog’s bad behavior. This is not the correct way to use muzzles, or any tool for that matter. Dogs lash out around things that make them uncomfortable, so when a muzzle is thrown on them immediately before they’re placed in those uncomfortable situations, they will associate the muzzle with negativity. Instead, dogs should be conditioned to be comfortable with the muzzle. When done correctly, this adds a layer of safety when helping your dog needs to be in some of those circumstances, such as crossing another dog while walking, and can even help your dog to feel safer and less reactive to those stimuli.

Dog Muzzles and Muzzle Conditioning

So how exactly does one go about muzzle conditioning their dog? The truth is actually quite simple. First, let’s talk about the anatomy of the muzzle itself. There are different kinds for different purposes, but the muzzles meant for long-term wear will be fairly spacious. It’s designed to prevent your dog from being able to bite or attack, but the spaces in the muzzle will still allow them freedom to eat, drink, pant, and do basically everything else without restriction. These should fit comfortably on them, so it’s important you have the right size for your dog’s face. 

The process of muzzle conditioning your dog is all about creating positive associations with the muzzle rather than negative. As mentioned, simply using the muzzle as a way to restrict your dog’s reaction to stress will cause them to believe the muzzle is the cause of those stresses. Instead, over the course of about two weeks, the muzzle is effectively turned into your dog’s food dish. Rather than eating food from a dish, you’ll instead place the muzzle in your hand--flipping the webbing over the outside of the muzzle--place food in the muzzle, and present it to your dog while giving the “muzzle” command. Doing this will cause your dog to associate the muzzle with their meals, and make them feel happy and comfortable wearing them.

When Should Muzzle Conditioning be Used?

Not every dog needs to be conditioned for muzzles. The muzzle itself is ultimately a tool for helping your dog stay calm in situations that stress them while preventing potential attacks just in case. This means it’s particularly useful for dogs that get stressed easily, particularly when there is a trigger to their stress that they’ll try to attack. Examples would be other dogs, children, men, other species, etc. Remember that the muzzle is not a punishment--it’s a safety net.

Contact Us for a Dog Harness Near Me

Now that you know more about how dog muzzles are properly used, and know how not to use them, you may be interested in purchasing one. The online boutique at Julius K9 offers shipping throughout the US, so if you need dog equipment, such as a “dog harness near me,” then contact us to see our products.