please talk to me about muzzles

(11 Posts)
kissedbyamoonbeammyarse Wed 29-Apr-15 12:44:07

I have never used one on a dog before and I really conflicted about it. She loves to sniff and dig. Does a muzzle interfere? My trainer recommended a basket one. My dog has fear aggression and quite often is aggressive with other dogs. We are training her. She is becoming a bit better but is unpredictable. I keep her on the lead which makes her worse if another dog approaches. She has not bitten another dog as she is all noise then hides behind us. However, I think it is a real possibility. I suppose what I need to know is, is there specific muzzle training, is there a most comfortable type and (this sounds daft) I am training her using treats, can I still do this when she is wearing a muzzle?
This really is new for me, I would appreciate opinions and advice.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Apr-15 13:57:21

Unless she's got a long pointy face (in which case I'd look at sighthound ones) the Baskerville ultra is the best for giving treats with and because it comes in three colours you can definitely find one that is obvious, they're also nice and lightweight.

There's a video on muzzle training.

Having a muzzle on does interfere with some things, you will have to practise giving treats for instance as it's easy to miss, you can't use any distraction games which involve treats on the ground as they take too long to get them and so it doesn't work and you have to be pretty inventive about what you use to play fetch as toys can't be picked up.

But everything else is fine, sniffing, digging, drinking all completely do-able with it on.

The big bonus it has is not actually that it prevents biting (though it does) it's that firstly it makes other owners aware from a distance that your dog isn't going to like being approached and it usually makes you a bit more relaxed, so you're more relaxed dealing with the dog which makes it easier to train.

kissedbyamoonbeammyarse Wed 29-Apr-15 14:55:08

That's great tabulahrasa. Thanks for the video link. Never occurred to me to look for those. I feel a bit better about it now. I am just in from a dog walk and every dog we met (maybe 8) were off lead and allowed to approach my dog. Despite my yellow ribbon, despite me putting her behind me and walking backwards. 4 out of 5 owners were texting or chatting on their phones. I quietly got the rage. Luckily today Skye was not aggressive.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Apr-15 15:01:06

You still get the odd one that lets their dog approach, but most people see a muzzle and get worried...which is stupid really because my dog poses more risk without it, lol.

Still, it means most dogs don't get too close to him, which makes for much better walks.

orangeyellowgreen Wed 29-Apr-15 20:57:59

Some dogs are muzzled because they pick up dangerous rubbish or things which cause them upset stomachs, so not everyone will assume your dog is unfriendly.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Apr-15 21:12:30

I'm rarely asked why he's muzzled tbh, I think me moving out of the way and then shouting over that he is not friendly if their dog starts to approach kind of gives it away, lol.

Yes some dogs wear muzzles for other reasons, but sensible people assume it's to prevent biting until they know otherwise - I do too, that way there's never an issue.

kissedbyamoonbeammyarse Thu 30-Apr-15 08:48:24

I ordered one and watched the video. Bonus the her sheep poo habit will be broken! I worry too that, if dogs are avoiding my dog, how does she learn to socialise? Are we then in a catch 22? I guess that working with the trainer the ultimate aim is to lose the muzzle in the future. My dog does have a lovely, gentle nature in the house so I hope she shines outside eventually!

tabulahrasa Thu 30-Apr-15 09:20:26

If you'd be working towards her actually mixing with other dogs then you won't want to be doing that with unknown dogs randomly approaching her anyway.

You rope in friends and friendly dog walkers with nice calm dogs and persuade them to let their dogs be stooges grin

kissedbyamoonbeammyarse Thu 30-Apr-15 16:03:47

grin I am. I have 2 friends so far. I passed a lady with a GSD today. I crossed to the other side of the road and she reassured me that he was friendly. I guess people make assumptions about certain breeds as it seemed she thought I was avoiding her dog. I explained my dog wasn't so friendly. Hopefully I meet her again and will up the courage to ask for her help. I have joined a dog walking group as well.

WonderIfThingsWillChange Thu 30-Apr-15 20:02:47

One of my dogs used to be muzzled (Baskerville style) and we always struggled with treats as he would drop them but he absolutely loved the training paste (Arden grange I think) and primula cheese and ham in a tube that I could squeeze some out and he could lick it directly off the tube.

Most people are more respectful when they see you with a muzzled dog and will recall their dogs but there are always some of the "mines friendly" group that allow their off lead dog to pester the on lead muzzled dog and I became quite good and blocking these dogs from reaching mine!

once his fear of dogs had improved enough that he had not growled, barked or lunged at another dog in months we kept using the muzzle for my peace of mind so he wouldn't pick up my anxiety, and it's worked for us.

kissedbyamoonbeammyarse Thu 30-Apr-15 20:27:22

Paste is a great tip. Thank you.

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