Muzzle Training for dogs

In many situations your dog may need a muzzle, for example on public transport or at the vet. So that your dog does not associate the muzzle negatively, you should get him used to it positively and carefully. It’s best to practice this when your dog is still a puppy – I’ll show you how it works best:

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Muzzle-Training Part 1:

The correctly fitted muzzle. Your dog should be able to open its mouth wide enough, to be able to pant and drink water. When your dog is very active or it is hot outside, it is crucial for your dog to be able to open its mouth and pant since the tongue regulates the body temperature. Your muzzle is too short, if it sits too close to the dogs eyes. This is very uncomfortable for the dog and must be avoided! Pease don’t just use the muzzle on your dog in moments where it is unavoidable, like for example at the vet. Then your dog will associate the muzzle with those negative feelings. You should rather use the muzzle regularly in your day to day life and in various situations to avoid those negative associations. Muzzle-loops don’t count as muzzles! In the next post you will learn how to positively get your puppy used to wearing a muzzle! 

Muzzle-Training Part 2: 

Preparation Training Take an almost empty yoghurt cup and let your puppy lick it until it is completely clean. You can do this multiple days in a row and every day we try to pull the cup further and further over your dogs snout. Once you are feeling like this is working out nicely, you can cut out the bottom of the cup and stick a tube of liver sausage for dogs through it. Please smoothen the edges of the cup a bit so that your puppy can not cut itself when sticking its nose through it. Now you can lure your doggy to walk a couple of steps with you while it is licking the paste out of the cup. This little exercise will make the next training step much easier, since the dog is now already used to getting something pulled over its snout. And all of that while also getting lots of yummy treats! In part three of this series we will talk about how to integrate the actual muzzle into the training. 

Muzzle-Training Part 3 

As soon as we have established the exercise from part 2, we can start with the actual muzzle training! We start off the same way as with the yoghurt cup and let the dog lick some of the liver sausage for dogs out of the muzzle. With every try we pull the muzzle further over the dogs snout and we also animate our puppy to follow us. Once this exercise works out well, it is time to hold the straps of the muzzle behind the dogs ears. And once again after a couple of tries, you can also close the straps of the muzzle, so that your dog is now actually wearing the muzzle for the first time. If your puppy is sensitive to noises, the closing of the muzzle can also be trained in an extra training step. Here, you first let your dog sniff the click closure of the muzzle, for that it already earned at treat. Then you open and close the closure in a to your dog adjusted distance and feed some treats while doing so. Please pay attention to any sings of stress in your puppy and adjust the distance if necessary. Once your dog is comfortable with that, you can close the muzzle closer and closer to the dogs ears. It is very important to make small training steps and not to overwhelm your dog, just like in the rest of the muzzle training!! Your dog should be able to wear the muzzle inside the apartment for a couple of minutes before having your dog wear the muzzle outside. Almost every dog will try to take off the muzzle at the beginning, so please only keep the muzzle on as long as your puppy s able to stay calm. You can also integrate small exercises that are very easy for your dog to stretch out the time of muzzle wearing. 

Muzzle Training Part 4 

During the last days, you learned how to positively get your puppy used to wearing a muzzle! Did you already try those exercises and your puppy is already able to wear the muzzle? If you are already at the last step and your dog is already able to wear the muzzle out on the street, please start in a quiet side street to keep the distractions for your young dog as minor as possible. From day to day you can then start to integrate more and more distractions when the muzzle is being worn. I am looking forward to reading about your experiences with muzzle training in the comments!

Your Puppytrainer Romana Stieglecker

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