If your dog has fearful or aggressive tendencies you should teach him/her to calmly wear a muzzle to ensure the safety of people, other animals, and your dog as well. Using a muzzle can prevent: injuries to children and adults, injuries to veterinarians and/or grooming staff, injuries to other animals during introductions (e.g. other dogs and cats), and wound licking.
There are two main types of dog muzzles; basket muzzles and mesh or nylon form fitting muzzles. Basket muzzles are preferred as the dog can wear the muzzle for longer periods of time, it is more comfortable to wear and small treats can be inserted through the muzzle.
The Jafco Muzzle, a basket muzzle, is lightweight, comfortable, secure and strong. It is designed to be comfortably worn for short or long periods while allowing your dog to bark, pant, and eat small treats. It is easy to clean and cushioned for comfort. The white and black versions are the lightest while the clear version (pictured here) is softer and helps you to observe your dogs’ facial tensions or lack thereof.
All colors and styles of Jafco muzzles have the same shape, number of openings and size of openings. Muzzle openings are 5/8″ in diameter. You can easily fit the nozzle of a cheese canister or pretzel style sticks through the holes for positive reinforcement training.
Mesh or nylon form fitting muzzles can be found at your local pet store. These type of muzzles are intended to be worn for briefer periods of time as they make it harder for your dog to pant normally which is how dogs keep their bodies cool. While it is form fitting, your dog will still be able to eat very small treats while wearing it.
Top Paw’s mesh dog muzzle can be found at PetSmart and many other local pet stores. Top Paw offers many different sizes with a recommended size chart on the back of the packages. Note, in the side picture, the dog is not fitted with the correct sized muzzle. It is too large for this dog’s jaw and the neck strap is too loose. The strap should ride high on the neck below the ears and fit snugly so the dog can’t easily paw it off his/her head. For safety, supervise your dog at all times when he or she is wearing a muzzle.
In summary, a muzzle is a very useful management tool. To modify a dog’s behavior, one should use Prevention (don’t place your dog in a situation he/she is not ready for), Management (manage your dog’s environment to ensure safety) and Teaching (teach your dog alternative behaviors). So along with using a muzzle, help your dog learn to relax in challenging environments by registering for private dog training or a Feisty Fido group class.