Last Updated on September 6, 2021 by adrienne hardwick
If your dog needs to be wearing a muzzle it can be quite tricky to get them to wear it in the beginning. After all, no dog likes to have something around its mouth. However, it is necessary if your dog isn’t friendly towards other dogs and people when they are out on a walk and so you need to get them used to it.
You can train your dog to wear a muzzle with 8 easy steps. With our tips and tricks, you will never have to fight with your dog again to get it to wear its muzzle.
To take some of the stress and hassle out of this process for you, here are some top muzzle training tips to help your dog be relaxed with wearing a muzzle and wear it without constantly pawing at it.
Step By Step Guide to Training Your Dog to Wearing a Muzzle
STEP 1 –
Take the muzzle and place some dog-friendly peanut butter right at the bottom of it. Show it to your dog and allow them to have a quick sniff so that they realise there is a tasty treat inside.
Then, hold the muzzle towards them (as though you are about to put it on) and let them investigate. They will naturally put their whole nose in so that they can get the treat, but it might take them a little time; especially if they are nervous. Just be patient and remember to give them lots of praise.
STEP 2 –
At this point, it is tempting to fasten the muzzle. However, it is important that you keep holding it and leave it unfastened at this point. Muzzle training takes a little time and you must not rush it.
Instead, move the muzzle around gently while they are licking the inside so that they get used to moving with it on their face. Remember that loads of praise and a happy attitude are really important as this will rub off on your dog and their association of treats and joy with wearing a muzzle.
STEP 3 –
Now, take some treats and throw them away from your dog. While their nose will leave the muzzle to get the treat, it also encourages them to return to wearing the muzzle of their own free will.
Once you have done that a few times and they are more comfortable, remove the muzzle from their nose and practice clicking the buckle closed near their head. This is an important step because not all dogs are used to this sound, and nervous ones may become frightened.
STEP 4 –
That is why using treats during this step is key. Every time you click the buckle, praise them and give them something tasty. Even if it takes a little while, even the most nervous dogs will become calmer and more relaxed around the sound.
The next step is to start saying the word “muzzle” when you hold it towards their nose. You might need a little more peanut butter for this part, but the main goal is to get them to come to the word and place their nose in the muzzle ready for fastening of their own free will.
STEP 5 –
Next, you can get them used to the feeling of the straps around their neck. There is still no fastening at this stage, but you can move the straps as though you are about to click the buckle shut, and then praise them for being so good and calm.
It’s really worth taking your time with this because of how high the muzzle sits, and it will take them a few tries to get used to this new sensation. Once they seem comfortable, you can fasten the muzzle and leave it on, popping a little treat through the bars to give them a bit of comfort.
STEP 6 –
At this point, they may start pawing at their face. This is completely normal, and it is important that you do not react to them at all. Instead, once they stop pawing, get really excited with the praise, and give them a treat.
If you keep repeating this, they will stop pawing at it because being still means more snacks. Continue muzzle training and walking for a short while, encouraging your dog to follow you and providing them with treats.
STEP 7 –
Now, you can take the muzzle off, but here’s the twist. You do not want to reward your dog for taking the muzzle off because you want them to be nice and eager for your dog wearing the muzzle.
So, when you remove it, say nothing and remain calm. Then, wait a short while, use the muzzle command, and praise them when they come and stick their nose in. This is the positive association you need with the muzzle training.
STEP 8 –
Lead training is the final step, and probably the easiest as well. All you need to do is practice walking on the lead with your dog while they are wearing the muzzle. If they paw at the muzzle a lot, keep them moving and use a happy tone to communicate with them.
When you want to give them a treat for their good work, get them to sit so that you can slip it through the bars comfortably.
Read Here: Best Dog Muzzle Review
As a final note, the colour of your dog’s muzzle is really important here. If you have a black dog that is wearing a black muzzle, other owners are not going to be able to see it in the distance so that they can put their dog on a lead.
Always choose a muzzle colour that contrasts with the dog’s coat so that it becomes a clear beacon to those who might cross paths with you.
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.