About Dog Muzzles

A dog muzzle is a device used for two main purposes--to train service dogs and dogs owned as pets and to protect owners and dog trainers when working with stray, aggressive or injured dogs. Some cities require certain types of dogs to be muzzled when outdoors or playing in a public dog park. The dog muzzle comes in a variety of different styles, materials and security grades and can be used for a number of different training purposes.


A dog muzzle is a device that covers the snout of a dog, restricting the dog's ability to open his mouth. The dog muzzle can be found in a variety of different materials, from nylon and leather to wire and mesh. Depending on the use of the muzzle, it may be an elaborate device that cages the entire snout or a more versatile device that has far less restrictions and may allow for a dog to drink and eat. All dog muzzles are made using breathable materials or are stitched and woven so that there are air holes. A dog muzzle is used to train, restrain and protect dogs and humans by preventing the dog from using his most dangerous weapon--his mouth. A dog muzzle is not used as a tool for punishing a dog.


A dog muzzle can be used for a variety of different things. Many dog trainers use a muzzle to prevent biting, but it can also be used as a tool to train against excessive barking. One main function of a dog muzzle is in basic dog training, particularly for animals in security industries, who are trained to be aggressive in specific situations. For training pet dogs, a muzzle can help curb barking problems and prevent your dog from chewing furniture when you are away. It is also used to retrain abused and/or aggressive dogs who may bite out of fear. A dog muzzle can also be used on injured dogs as their protective instincts may cause them to become more aggressive. Trips to the veterinarian may warrant the use of a dog muzzle as well as post-surgery to prevent a dog from licking or biting at stitches. A dog muzzle can function as a security device when socialising your dog in new settings, like visiting a dog park or having guests over to your house.


There are a variety of dog muzzles on the market today, which can be found in your local pet supply store, your veterinarian's office or online. Dog muzzles come in a range of materials and security grades. Some dog muzzles are as simple as a nylon strap with Velcro that slips over a dogs snout, while more elaborate devices are complete with a metal cage or basket that encloses the entire snout and straps around the head. Some dog muzzles are adjustable and fit on a wide range of dog types and sizes, while others are size-specific and may only work on a specific size and breed. While the majority of dog muzzles are designed for dogs with snouts, there are a few types of muzzles available for short and pug-nosed dogs. Because pug-nosed dogs typically have breathing problems, mesh muzzles are designed to drape over the nose and mouth without restricting air flow. Some dog muzzles have features that allow a dog to drink and eat. Dog muzzles should be comfortable and never restrict a dog's ability to breathe.


When used properly, a dog muzzle can be a very useful security and training tool for all dogs, whether they are family pets or service animals. A dog muzzle helps to teach your dog more socially acceptable behaviours by creating a clear boundary. A dog muzzle can make you and your guests feel more secure when your dog joins you in social situations. It can also be a beneficial tool when visiting the dog park. A dog's most dangerous weapon is his teeth and mouth, so if you take this weapon away, he is virtually harmless. If your dog gets nervous with other dogs, he may bite out of fear, but a dog muzzle will help to prevent this. A muzzle helps to curb a dog's barking, which can ease the headaches involved with this trait. Some neighbourhoods will have strict regulations regarding barking disturbances and many cities will fine you for complaints, so restricting this habit will make living in a community much easier. Another important benefit is having piece of mind when you leave the house, because you know the muzzle will prevent damage to furniture from excessive chewing.


There are many opponents to dog muzzle training. Many people argue that muzzling your dog is an inhumane punishment, is painful and can restrict a dog's ability to breathe. However, muzzling your dog can be a useful tool and proper training and use will teach your dog that you are not punishing him when you muzzle him. While there are other ways to discourage barking, you cannot ignore the dangers of a dog's bite. Dogs are inherently good and will only attach when threatened, but abused dogs or those who haven't been trained properly can pose a serious threat to other dogs and humans. When handling stray dogs, aggressive dogs or a dog who has been injured or is in serious pain, a dog muzzle is the only thing that will protect you. A dog muzzle doesn't have to be used when training a dog, but all dogs should be desensitised from wearing one if a situation arises warranting its use.

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About the Author

Based in New York, Jillian Downer has been writing travel, fashion, and active lifestyle articles since 2004. Her work has appeared in "Travel + Leisure," "Outside Magazine," "Women's Health," "Footwear News," and "US News & World Report." Downer holds a Master of Arts in comparative literature from New York University.