More Than a Muzzle How do you feel when you see someone walking a dog wearing a muzzle? Do you assume that the dog is aggressive? Maybe you have a muzzled dog and have felt these assumptions being made about them? It’s easy to make snap judgements when you see a muzzled dog but these dogs are so much more than their muzzles! In reality, there are many different reasons dogs may wear a muzzle, all of which prioritise the dog’s safety. Prey drive – They may have very strong instincts to chase wildlife. Vet visits – They may be uncomfortable with the handling required in these situations. Anxious or over-excited – They may be worried or frustrated by strange dogs or people and react inappropriately. Scavengers – They may pick up items such as food, faeces or objects, which could harm them. Breed legislation – They may be required by law to wear a muzzle in public due to their breed type regardless of the behaviours they display. Deterrent for dog/human interaction - Though they may not be a risk, a muzzle may be used as a visual indicator that their dog isn’t comfortable with dogs or people. The reason for muzzling contributes to which type of muzzle you choose. There are a lot of different kinds on offer which can be quite overwhelming but you can find out the pros and cons of various muzzle types by clicking here. What’s important to note is that a dog is not defined by its muzzle. All dogs have the ability to react negatively to situations, have good days and bad, but that isn’t a reflection of their entire personality. Just because a dog reacts aggressively in situations that they are uncomfortable with, does not make them an aggressive dog. Muzzles are an important training tool. While careful, consistent training can help lessen and potentially stop these behaviours, a muzzle allows these dogs and their owners the chance to work on these behaviours safely! The owners training end goal may or may not still include a muzzle, both of which are completely valid. If the end goal does still include a muzzle, it does not diminish the hard work the owner has put into working with their dog on their challenging behaviour, a muzzle does not mean a lazy owner. In truth, the fact that their dog can comfortably wear a muzzle is testament to the owners hard work and bond with their dog. Any dog can benefit from muzzle training as situations can arise at any point where a muzzle could reduce the risk for your dog and others involved. Being proactive with your muzzle training will allow your dog to be comfortable and happy in their muzzle if it is ever needed. To find out how to get the perfect muzzle fit for your dog, click here! If you have been put off muzzle training your dog because you’re worried about the assumptions people may make about you and your dog, know that, by muzzle training, you are prioritising your dog’s safety (and the safety of others), making you a caring and responsible dog parent! Likewise, if you have found yourself making snap judgements when you see a muzzled dog, know that dogs wear muzzles for a variety of reasons, all of which come from a place of love and care. It definitely doesn't mean that they are a 'bad' dog or that their owner is too lazy to train them. Next time, give the dog a little extra space and the owner a smile, you might just make someone’s day. For a step-by-step muzzle training guide, click here! Sign up to our mailing list and receive your resource pack which includes an A5 muzzle training kick starter booklet, a vinyl sticker and a paper measuring tape. Get yours here!