Many dogs are friendly and docile, getting along well with people, other dogs, and animals. However, some dogs' behavior requires management with a muzzle to prevent them from causing harm to other animals, people, or themselves. In some states, breed-specific legislation regulates certain dog breeds.
A muzzle is not a treatment, but a tool. While a muzzle can manage a behavior problem, it will not resolve the origins of the behavior you are attempting to correct or prevent.
If you need help managing your dog’s behavior issues, it is best to talk with a Pet Expert to get specific answers for you and your pet.
5 Types of Dog Muzzles
The muzzle is a complement to educating a dog in an attempt to correct unwanted behavior and should not be relied on as a permanent solution to behavior problems. The American Kennel Club stresses the importance of using them only under supervision and for short periods of time.
At first glance, the shape of this muzzle is startling, as it completely covers a dog’s mouth. However, it is very safe as it prevents the dog from biting. Basket type muzzles are among the most recommended. They are typically made from different materials such as wire, leather, silicon, biothane, or plastic. Although the dog's mouth will be completely covered, it will be able to carry out its basic needs such as drinking water or breathing. Dogs should not be in these muzzles for longer than 60 minutes.
This type of muzzle completely prevents the dog from opening its mouth. They are usually made from fabric such as a nylon sleeve or mesh with a tube shape that is very adaptable to the size of a dog’s mouth. Occlusion muzzles completely wrap around a dog’s mouth, preventing it from opening its mouth to drink water or pant. Wearing this type of muzzle for extended periods of time may cause your dog extreme discomfort and distress - especially if it’s being applied to an already anxious dog. For this reason, this muzzle is used for very short periods of time (1-5 minutes). It is not advisable to have the dog wear it for extended periods of time.
Short Snout Muzzle
Short snout muzzles are designed for dogs whose muzzles are too small for basket or occlusion muzzles. It is usually made of breathable mesh and designed as a mask that covers the entire face while leaving a comfortable snout opening. This design allows short nose dogs to breathe easily and pant comfortably while preventing biting or barking.
This muzzle is mostly used to educate a dog, also called the brake muzzle. The muzzle works to get the dog's attention so that it can understand when it’s behaving poorly such as pulling on the leash. Gently pulling back on the muzzle teaches the dog to pay attention to you. This muzzle is a bit different in that it allows the dog to open its mouth and a lot of people consider it a head collar instead of a muzzle.
Muzzles are often needed for a short period of time once in a dog’s life. Facing injury or an emergency, it may be necessary to muzzle your dog to ensure its safety. You can create your own temporary muzzle using fabric or gauze.
Using a muzzle for the first time may be stressful and unsettling for dogs. Wearing the muzzle for shorter periods of time in familiar environments in which they feel safe and comfortable will make the transition less stressful for you and your dog. Gradually, they will feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed with it on. Be sure to practice wearing the muzzle at home before exposing them to new environments and other dogs or people.