***The writers at BarkPost don't claim to be certified behavior specialists or trainers, so always check with a professional before introducing new things to your pup. The safety tips found below were carefully sourced from the ASPCA and the Muzzle Up! Project.***
Admit it. When you hear the term "dog muzzle," some of you immediately think of this:
But are muzzles really just Hannibal Lecter masks for Hannibal Lecter dogs?
The association some people make between muzzles and aggression is often unwarranted. Sure a muzzle might be used to prevent a dog with nipping tendencies from doing any unintended harm, but a muzzle, like a leash and collar, is also a tool.
According to the ASPCA
, "if you teach your dog to accept one, a muzzle can be an effective, humane tool for managing your dog’s behavior."
For instance, vets use muzzles when administering shots or shaving pets in preparation for surgery. Dog walkers may use them if walking more than one dog at a time.
That said, not all tools are created equal (enter "that's what she said" joke here). Some muzzles are designed to thrive on the image of the muzzle as an accessory only "tough" dogs have.
On the other paw, some muzzle-makers ensure their muzzles look anything but tough.
It's important to point out that few dogs select their own accessories. More than likely, any decorative or novelty muzzles you see on a pup were placed there by some hooman who thinks it looks cool. So give a pup a break, m'kay.
And for humans opting for the use of a muzzle, do it safely and properly. Ideally, you'd follow the guidelines established by the ASPCA
. And it doesn't hurt to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is it really necessary?
If the dog doesn't require a muzzle for safety purposes during a certain activity, then it may not be needed.
2. Is it hurting the dog?
If you do think a muzzle is warranted, then make sure the muzzle fits the pup. They should be able to lick, drink, and breath without issue.
3. Will it give people the wrong impression?
This one isn't science, it's just common sense. It'll probably help you and your pup to employ a muzzle that does not intimidate people or glorify the "tough dog" look. Black leather and silver studs are just bound to give people a certain impression.
Featured image via Animal Kid and Damn Cool Pictures