Most people have a negative response when it comes to the idea of muzzling a dog, as muzzles are commonly associated with agressive canines. Plus, most dog lovers think that muzzles are cruel and prohibit dogs from eating, drinking and even breathing properly.

But, there might come a day when you legitimately need to use a muzzle, either for your dog’s safety or for your own. Let’s take a look at some of these situations so you can understand when you might need one. Also, it’s best to get your dog completely comfortable wearing a muzzle, because you want to be completely prepared should you ever need to use one.

Let’s make one thing completely clear. Muzzles are NOT used for behavioral problems like barking and the like. They are used for one thing only and that is to prevent biting in particular situations and they are only used for a short while. And a muzzle should NEVER be used as punishment.

Here are some examples of situtations in which you may need to use a muzzle:

One – When your dog is injured or frightened. Even the most well behaved dog may try to bite if he is injured and in pain and you try to move him.

Two – When your dog is in a situation that is threatening to him. This includes such things as veterinarian visits that upset your dog. If you are concerned that your dog might bite the vet or veterinary techs, the use of a muzzle during the exam is indicated. But you’ll also want to consult with a canine behaviorist to undergo a program of behavior modification to resolve this problem.

Three – When your dog is being groomed. Many dogs enjoy grooming sessions, especially if they stared out being groomed at an early age. But if you have a rescue dog or other dog that was never desensitized, you may need to use a muzzle temporarily, especially if your dog is unfamiliar with the groomer.

Four – You have an aggressive dog. If you dog has a history of biting a person or another dog, a muzzle may be necessary in certain situations until you can consult with a canine behaviorist to treat the problem. Keep in mind that a muzzle is never a permanent solution but buys you time to work on the problem.

Five – Because of BSL. This refers to “breed specific legislation” which has been passed in some states to require certain breeds of dogs to wear muzzles when the dog is not on private property, regardless if the dog has a history of aggression or not.

In an upcoming article, we will look at the different types of muzzles as well as the pros and cons for each type.

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