Muzzles are sometimes viewed in a negative light, but can be a great tool for proactive dog parents. Basket muzzles in particular allow for panting and drinking, all while providing a barrier as a precaution in various situations.
Although a common view is that only aggressive dogs need muzzles, every dog has the potential to bite given the right (or wrong) circumstances. In an ideal world, every dog would be muzzle trained so that when a new or uncomfortable situation arises, they will be receptive to wearing a muzzle as a precaution. This proactive approach is recommended by The Muzzle Up! Project.
Diesel & Stella, MUR Alumni and their friend Bernie
Kaya, MUR Alumni
Basket muzzles can be a great tool when a dog is in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation such as being poked and prodded at the vet, playing with a new group of dogs, or meeting a child or cat for the first time. For some dogs, seeing another dog on a walk is uncomfortable, leading to barking or lunging. Wearing a muzzle, paired with other training, helps many dogs with this type of reactivity!
Molly & Wiley, MUR Alumni
Sabre, MUR Alumni
Muzzle training is all about creating positive associations using treats and games to help a dog learn to accept the muzzle. Start slow, and help your dog get used to the muzzle simply by holding it while offering treats to them each time they sniff it! Eventually move to having them choose to put their nose into the muzzle for a treat. Remember to work at your dog’s pace, and use the muzzle in positive situations as well as uncomfortable ones, in order to keep positive associations.
For more detailed instructions about muzzle training, see this article!