Learn how to muzzle train your dog

With the recent announcement that it will be illegal for XL Bully dogs to be out in public without a muzzle from December 31, 2023, it’s essential for owners of the breed to start muzzle training their dogs as soon as possible.

But leading vet charity PDSA says muzzle training can be useful for all breeds of dogs, as muzzles can be used for many reasons.

“Muzzles can be extremely useful for nervous dogs, dogs that pick things up on walks, trying to eat what they shouldn’t, dogs with a high prey drive or for certain procedures at the vets,” explains PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

PDSA’s step-by-step guide to muzzle training your dog:

Introduce the muzzle: Positively introduce the muzzle by placing it on the floor with ‘high value’ (yummy) treats in and around it.
Give them their meals next to the muzzle for a few days.

Nose in the muzzle: Once your dog is comfortable with the sight of their muzzle (i.e. they don’t react, or react positively to it), start encouraging them to put their nose into it by giving them treats through the gaps.

Muzzles can be extremely useful for nervous dog. Picture: Pixabay/andrescarlofotografia

Start with gaps close to the opening of the muzzle, then gradually move the treats further into the muzzle until your dog is happy to take one from the end.

Hold the straps: Start holding (but not fastening) the muzzle straps behind your dog’s ears and give them a treat.

Hold them for just a few seconds before gradually building up the time. Repeat until your dog is totally comfortable having the straps held behind their ears.

If your dog shakes the muzzle off, don’t tell them off. Go back a step, take the training a bit more slowly, and remain patient.

Leave the muzzle on: Fasten the muzzle and give your dog a treat through the gap in the muzzle. As soon as they have finished their treat, take the muzzle off.

Repeat this process, gradually increasing how long your dog wears the muzzle for each time.

Keep practicing: Even if your dog only needs to wear their muzzle occasionally, it’s worthwhile putting it on regularly and rewarding them with a treat so they remember it’s a good thing.



Picture: Pixabay/potato_traveler

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