January is “Train Your Dog” Month

A muzzle is an important piece of safety equipment that all dogs should be conditioned to enjoy wearing — just in case. A muzzle is not a licence to put your dog into a situation that is too much for your dog. The muzzle is a piece of safety equipment just in case things go wrong. Like a seatbelt– wearing one doesn’t mean you should drive recklessly. A muzzle is but is NOT a substitute for science-based, force-free behaviour modification. For example, if your dog bites other dogs at the dog park, slapping a muzzle on your dog and tossing him in the dog park group is NOT going to help your dog’s mental and emotional health and it will have extreme fallout. Your dog should NOT be at the dog park. But that’s another post…..

There are many reasons why your dog might have to wear a muzzle — your dog is injured and needs to be handled, the vet clinic or groomer requires all dogs be muzzled, your dog is rescued from a natural disaster and is being cared for by strangers who may put a muzzle on your dog. If your dog already knows how to wear a muzzle and has developed a strong positive emotional response to wearing it, then that can help reduce the anxiety your dog might feel in the situation your dog is in.

Here is one of my favourite videos showing how to teach a dog to LOVE wearing a muzzle.

FYI: a muzzle should NEVER EVER be used as a punishment to try to stop a behaviour. It is an important safety tool and if you use to punish a dog, then you will create a negative emotional response to the muzzle and your dog will become stressed/anxious/fearful when your dog sees it or has to wear it.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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