Muzzle Up pup: Breaking the stigma around muzzles
When you hear the word muzzle what image comes to mind? For most of us, it's probably of a big, aggressive dog snapping wildly at us. Muzzles are often perceived as something only required for dangerous dogs, but they can be incredibly useful tools for all kinds of dogs and situations. In today's doggy science post I'll be talking a little bit about the different ways in which a muzzle can be used to both benefit and protect your pooch.
The root of aggression in all dogs is fear. No dog snaps or bites unexpectedly because it enjoys it, these are physical reactions to an external factor causing the dog to lash out. It could be pain from an injury, nervousness from a past experience, or even something as simple as a someone wearing a type of hat the dog has never seen before. If a dog's fight or flight instinct is triggered, their automatic reaction may be to bite. In this case a muzzle is used to protect the dog and others around them, whether out on a walk, at the vets or groomers, or when introducing new dogs to each other.
Eating Things They Shouldn't
It's happened to even the most eagle-eyed of us. You turn your back for one second and there's your dog, wagging excitedly with something very dead and very disgusting in their mouth. Muzzles can be an excellent tool to use when training your dog not to pick things up off the floor, especially if you have a working/hunting breed that just can't resist rooting through the undergrowth. They can also be used for dogs who have food allergies/diet restrictions to keep them safe from any tasty tidbits they might find lying around.
Some breeds, especially sighthounds, will chase and catch any small furries if given chance. Retired racing greyhounds are often seen wearing muzzles for this reason, they were bred and trained to go after any fast moving, fluffy objects. The muzzle is protecting your local wildlife.
Give Me Space
Muzzles can simply be worn as a cue to tell other dog owners to give some space. This may be because the dog is recovering from an injury/surgery, is nervous of new people, or is undergoing training and needs distractions to be kept to a minimum.
If you would like some more information on muzzels, or how you can train your dog to enjoy wearing one, the Muzzle Up Project is a fabulous rescource for this!