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How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle

How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle

How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Muzzle

Great Dane Wire Basket Dog Muzzle with Nose Padding

To train a dog to wear a muzzle is an important part of dog training even if you are not going to use it in everyday life. The necessity to put a muzzle can be unforeseen, so you must be sure that your pet will take it easy. A muzzle should be associated with something pleasant, positive or neutral. Also it is necessary to choose the muzzle of proper size and to be comfortable enough not to tear, rub or irritate the dog’s snout.

Besides, there are many types of dog muzzles which are suitable for different purposes. Each of them has its unique characteristics, for example, wire cage muzzles are very durable, so they are perfect choice for training, dog socialization, but it is not recommended to use some of them in winter because wire can stick to dog's snout; leather muzzles are very comfortable and proper for everyday walking; bear-loop muzzles prevent dogs from excessive barking, and they are good for visiting public places. In any case, if you train your pet to wear one type of a muzzle you won't have problems in use of another one.

We would like to offer you several steps how to train your dog to wear a muzzle. Please be advised that the best way to do that is to consult a professional trainer and we are only able to provide you with some information upon it.

Step One: Introducing the Muzzle 
Let your dog sniff the muzzle to assure that there is no treat. Do not let him to play with the muzzle or to chew it. Wait until your pet turns away and give him a treat. In case if your dog doesn't try to sniff the muzzle when you extend it to him, show him that you’re rubbing a bit of the treat on it. Then extend it toward him again. It will smell delicious, so he'll probably sniff it.

Step Two: Teach Your Dog to Put His Nose in the Muzzle 
Put a treat into the muzzle. If your dog wants it, he will have to put his nose into it. Do not put the muzzle on your pet’s snout; let him put it off himself. He should understand that this dog item is totally safe for him. But remember that your dog can try to get a treat in other way not putting his nose into the muzzle. Despite it, follow the rule: a treat will get a dog whose nose is in the muzzle. Repeat this step until your four-legged friend leaves his nose in the muzzle for several seconds waiting for the next treat.

Riesenschnauzer Nappa Padded Leather Spiked Dog Muzzle

Step Three: Teach Your Dog to Keep His Nose in the Muzzle 
Once your dog is sticking his nose all the way into the muzzle, teach him to hold his nose in there by treating him. If you see that he stays calm almost muzzled for 5-7 seconds, try to fasten the muzzle, treat your dog, and then quickly unfasten it. It needs to be done several times until he is used to the click of fastened muzzle.

If you have a muzzle with leather straps, follow this advice. Take the strap and hold it up behind your dog’s ears, as though you are about to buckle or snap on the muzzle. Now move both of the straps at the same time. Take one strap in each hand and lift them up, as though you are about to buckle, snap or hook the straps together. Treat your dog. Continue until your dog can stick his nose into the muzzle and hold it there while you fasten the neck straps behind his ears. Right after you fasten the straps, unhook the straps and allow your dog to pull his nose out of the muzzle to get his treat.

Step Four: Teaching Your Dog to Wear the Muzzle for Longer Periods of Time 
Now you’ll build up the length of time your dog wears the muzzle, remove it and deliver a treat. It’s normal for your dog to fuss with the muzzle a little, but do your best to distract him and give him something else to do instead. Ask him to walk with you, let him sniff the ground, watch a bird, whatever interests him. You can also teach your dog to take treats that you pass through the side of the muzzle. Now it’s just a matter of letting your dog gradually get used to wearing the muzzle for longer periods of time and in a variety of circumstances and locations.

Painted German Shepherd Dog Muzzle

There are several rules you must follow during training your pet to wear a muzzle:

  • Don’t put the muzzle on your dog forcibly. In this case, he may respond aggressively or be afraid of it.
  • Don’t put the muzzle off when your pet is trying to put it off himself. Remember that it is you who takes the muzzle off. To do that you should distract his attention.
  • Don’t put the muzzle on only to do something unpleasant for your four-legged friend, i.e. to clean his ears during vet visit. Your dog will avoid wearing the muzzle in such cases.