Before selecting a muzzle, it is important to understand its purpose and use. There are two available types: Occlusion, which keeps the mouth shut, and Basket, which allows enough room for the dog to open its mouth and pant.
The occlusion muzzle is appropriate for short-term situations, such as during dog grooming procedures; it should not be used for long-term wear because it prevents the dog from panting, which can cause over-heating and lead to heat stroke. This is not the correct type to use if you intend on having your dog outside, especially in high temperatures.
The basket muzzle can be made of soft nylon, plastic or wire. They allow enough room for dogs to comfortably open their mouth and pant freely. A wire basket is the most secure way to prevent biting; the soft nylon or plastic may not be resistant enough for certain breeds. Although the law does not specify what type of material the muzzle should be, it is recommended to purchase a comfortable muzzle for taking your dog outside.
The most important things to consider when selecting a muzzle are the dog's safety and comfort. Proper measurements are very important. The chart below can help you determine the best size muzzle for your dog.
To train your dog to wear the muzzle:
- Attach the muzzle to the dog's collar and for a few minutes each day, let it hang off their collar for few days. Reward them for wearing the muzzle on the collar.
- Next, place a little peanut butter or some soft dog food at the end of the muzzle. Fit the muzzle over the snout to try it out for few minutes. This allows them to access the dog treat and see the muzzle as a positive experience. Praise should be incorporated for faster training. Repeat the previous step several times a day for a few days.
- When she seems comfortable with having her nose inside the muzzle, repeat the process, but fasten the muzzle on her head while licking off the treat. Praise is necessary here as well.
Remember that all dogs are different - some dogs will accept the muzzle more quickly than others. And always make wearing the muzzle a very positive experience for the dog.