Just like walking on a leash and crate training, teaching a dog to be comfortable wearing a muzzle is a good idea. Some people automatically think a dog is wearing a muzzle because they bite, but muzzles have many uses.
When trained properly with a well-fitting basket muzzle, dogs can eat, drink, and pant normally. To a dog, a muzzle isn’t very different than a leash or a collar unless humans act like it is.
Here’s a few uses for muzzles that we love:
Muzzles can prevent your dog from ingesting undesirable things. Goose poop, cow manure, trash…muzzles are a useful tool for dogs who eat everything and anything.
Muzzles can decrease a dog owner’s stress. Social stigma aside, muzzles increase safety and decrease unwanted incidents that put a dog owner on edge.
Muzzles for emergency vet care. When a dog is in a lot of pain and needs medical intervention, they’re more likely to bite. Muzzles prevent damage to both dog owners and veterinarians. That being said, for dogs who have issues with routine vet care, it’s important for dog owners to teach their dog to feel safe when being handled my strangers.
Muzzles can prevent undesirable interactions. Although the stigma around muzzles itself is undesirable, it can be used to a dog owner’s advantage. A muzzle is an unspoken signal to others that your dog may not be interested in being touched by strangers or interacting with unknown dogs. Therefore, a muzzle is a great tool for under confident dogs who want to go to a public place, but don’t want to meet new people or dogs.
Muzzles can prevent damage. Muzzles are the best tool for dogs who have a bite risk. With that in mind, muzzles shouldn’t just be strapped onto a dog who may bite. It’s very important to remember that a muzzle is a backup safety measure, not a solution. Muzzles aren’t a replacement for supervision, guidance, and training. Instead, they’re a tool used to decrease damage in case something happens that you and your dog trainer didn’t foresee.
In local neighborhoods and in vet clinics, stop thinking of muzzles as a threat and start thinking of muzzles as a lifesaving tool. You might not see a lot of muzzles in Jackson Hole and that’s not necessarily a good thing!