The importance of muzzle training

November 27, 2023

We all know that as lovely as our dogs are at home where they feel secure, they can behave differently in stressful situations. And for many dogs, visiting the vets can be high on that list!

At Larkmead we offer Confidence Clinics with our nurses to help reduce your dog’s stress when visiting and we welcome owners to pop in if they are passing and just sit for a few minutes, chat to the team or use the weighing scales – all of this helps dogs to learn that visiting the vets isn’t always scary.

That being said, for some dogs the fear never wears off and it can easily turn into aggression during stressful situations (including those who dislike meeting other dogs).

For these owners and of course, those who own an XL Bully (or other similarly built dog), getting your dog used to wearing a muzzle in a relaxed way is a good idea, should one be needed.

On Tuesday 31 October 2023, the Government announced that the American Bully XL type dog has been added to the banned breeds list in England and Wales. To an owner who has an XL bully or any other similarly built dog as a pet, this is a major concern (please note that vets are not involved with enforcement of this law or defining the breed). As part of the requirements to fulfil the criteria outlined in the legislation, these dogs are required to wear a muzzle each time they are taken for a walk; and that alone is an upsetting prospect for some owners. Larkmead Vets aim to support their clients with dogs affected by this new legislation, to reduce stress and make the transition as simple as possible.

It is very important that the muzzle your dog will wear, becomes as familiar as using a lead. Putting it on should become a routine, stress free process before going out for a walk or into public spaces, including visiting the vets. To help with this, some dogs need to be trained to wear a muzzle.

Successful muzzle training takes time and patience, so it really helps to start as soon as you can.  Muzzle training should be carried out at home or in a space where your dog is relaxed and feels safe. It evolves from being happy around the muzzle, to becoming comfortable wearing the muzzle without pawing at it to get it off.

For advice and a video on muzzle training please visit the Blue Cross website where you will find some very useful information.

The Dog’s Trust also offer a range of muzzle training options, including free muzzle training webinars providing information about the most suitable types of muzzle; how to ensure a good fit and how to teach your dog to enjoy wearing their muzzle.

If you need further support, please do not hesitate to book a video consultation to chat with one of our vets.

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