whymuzzleIn The Muzzle Up! Project’s previous post, we described how important it is for the public to understand the many reasons why dogs wear muzzles; education is critical when it comes to decreasing stigma and increasing acceptance. We also asked our supporters to tell us why they muzzle their dogs.

In our supporters’ words: Why we muzzle:

I’ve conditioned Poncho to wear a muzzle for a variety of reasons – Some towns allow dogs on public transportation, as long as he or she is wearing a muzzle, so when we travel, we want to make sure he’s comfortable wearing one. We also might need it at the vets during an emergency, or when having a procedure that might cause him discomfort — redirecting can sometimes be unpredictable. We also live in a high-risk fire area. If animals are evacuated and need to be muzzled due to certain policies, it’s a good idea for them to be used to it! Plan & prepare!!” – Joan Hunter Mayer (The Inquisitive Canine, LLC)

“I muzzle George because he is reactive to some dogs and people. It is as much for his safety as for others.” – Danielle Reilly

“To stop eating things they shouldn’t when off the lead in certain situations. When playing with other lurchers so when things get very exciting all dogs involved are protected from accidents. And lastly when joining in fun races as again the adrenalin rush can cause scuffles between even the most even tempered of lurcher. In all it’s a prevention measure despite not real danger of biting from mine.” – Jessica Mitchell

“BSL.” – Carol Louise Bell (The Canine Crusaders)

“I muzzle several dogs that I take care of because they are rescues who are reactive and will airbite out of fear. The muzzle prevents them getting into trouble and we can work on other ways of dealing with our fears. My old shepherd wore a muzzle in dog social situations the first 5 years of her life. She had never bit anyone, but she was so reactive, it just made sense. It taught her ‘why bite when a growl will do’ and gave us a chance to work on her behaviors. She did still have to wear one in the winter, for her frozen poo habit. :P” – Je Di Kim

“I had someone come up to me the other day at the halswell quarry and say ‘oh is he a biter?’ I said ‘no he over reacts to big dogs by barking and chasing like a mad; I suspect that he was possibly attacked, so I prefer to muzzle just in case as it freaks some people out.’ He’s a bichon poodle.” – Iona Harrison

“Loki is a rescue who came to us at 17 months with various issues and lots of fear her muzzle means we can work on those issues safely. It also stops her eating poo.” – Janis Curtin

“I muzzle for exciteability and impulse control issues with my female border collie mix. She is inappropriate at times and the muzzle ensures no accidents happen when she is around new or exciteable dogs. I muzzle my whippet mix for handling via strangers and in close quarters with people he does not know. Both of my dogs are muzzle trained for emergencies – I get them used to wearing a muzzle for their own safety and comfort should we ever need to muzzle them for a longer period of time (vet visit or natural disaster in a shelter environment at a gym or community center). Muzzles let both of my dogs experience parts of their worlds safely and comfortably!” – Hailey McWilliam

– Maureen Backman, MS, CTC

Maureen Backman, MS is the owner of Mutt About Town dog training in San Francisco. She is also the founder of The Muzzle Up! Project. To get in touch, email her at muttabouttownsf@gmail.com.

Muzzle stigma

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