QUALIFIED international dog draining instructor Sarah Bartlett considers a dog's behaviour during a walk:


More and more people are training their dogs to wear a muzzle so that they have one in hand in case it is needed at the vets or for introducing their dog safely to another pet, guest, or child.

When a dog is happy to see a muzzle and put it on – the benefits are obvious.

Certain muzzles will clamp your dog’s mouth shut – which prevents them from being able to drink, eat, pant, and otherwise be comfortable.

I think the best ones are plastic/rubber type basket muzzles with a quick release snap.

These are lightweight, comfortable, and allow the dog to drink, pant, and take treats.

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To get your dog used to wearing the muzzle, you must make the dog have very good associations with it before it ever goes on.

Get some tasty treats. Pick the muzzle up, let your dog sniff it and say ‘muzzle’ in a cheerful voice and give the treat. Do this over and over for a few minutes.

Then put it away. Do the same thing a few times a day for a few days. Then you can move on to the next step;    put some of their favourite food in the bottom of it (cream cheese is useful as it’s sticky) and raise the muzzle to the dog’s nose. They’re likely to smell the food inside and put their nose into it themselves.

Don’t try to fasten the muzzle at this stage, just let the dog eat the treat. Do this a few times and make sure that you behave in a positive way throughout. 

With time, you can actually work up to fastening the muzzle. At first, just fasten it and take it off right away. Gradually leave it on for longer periods – but be unpredictable. Sometimes remove it immediately; other times leave it on for longer.

Vary the places where you put the muzzle on (including outside, in the garden or while you’re out for a walk).

But remember to always associate wearing the muzzle with something your dog likes, such as going for a walk or being fed food treats while wearing the muzzle

By keeping your dog active and feeding them treats you’ll also reduce the opportunity for them to try and remove it.

Don’t rush each step, make it the fun new trick that the dog enjoys. The aim is to get the dog to push his head into the muzzle when it appears, rather than you trying to force it upon them.

Muzzles can sometimes be a little bit of a hot topic but they do have their uses, and if trained correctly with the right muzzle for the dog it can open many doors for a brighter happier life together.