muzzle training - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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muzzle training

Shama and I are starting a new class called Comfortable and Cooperative Care:

Does your dog start to worry when you turn toward the vetís office or groomer instead of the park? Does your dog run and hide when you reach for the nail clippers? Are you constantly struggling to give your dog eye drops or ear medication, even though youíre just trying to help your dog? Imagine instead a dog who willingly cooperates with these necessary procedures, and partners with you to get things done easily, quickly, and comfortably. This course is designed to help your dog be less fearful at the vet or groomerís so care can be painless and trouble-free for both of you!

We have been asked to bring a muzzle to Week 2 (of six weeks). I was surprised, because I have negative associations with muzzles. DH said, "We are NEVER putting a muzzle on Shama!" But then I asked the teacher more about it and read more about it and realized it's not such a bad idea. Wearing a muzzle is a skill just like sitting or lying down, and it can be trained with treats (the moment they first see it, the moment they approach it, the moment they put their nose in to get the treat on the other side, the moment they put their nose in to lick the peanut butter off the end, etc.) Then, if your dog ever needs to muzzled, at the vet, for example, for the removal of a cyst with local anesthetic, you can provide the muzzle she knows and loves. It is important to choose a muzzle that allows your dog to open her mouth to pant, eat, and drink. It just needs to prevent them from biting.

I'm sharing this with you because I thought you, like me prior to yesterday, might not have heard of muzzle training.

https://muzzleupproject.com/

https://www.clickertraining.com/muzzles

My teacher recommends the Baskerville muzzle:


I'll be sure to show you photos of Shama in her muzzle. They won't be the cutest pictures you've ever seen of her, that's for sure!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 09:20 AM
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It's always good to muzzle train dogs, so I applaud this
Our last wheatie was reactive, so we muzzle trained him early and while we never needed to use one on him... if a situation came up where he had to be muzzled, he would be okay with it. Like if we had a motor vehicle accident, or if they get hurt (where even the friendliest dogs can get snappy), etc. I always kept his muzzle in the vehicle just in case.

Some breeds can even only play if they are muzzled - almost every greyhound meetup requires them to be muzzled due to their thin skin. I know people that have decorated their muzzles to make them seem less threatening because there IS that connection that muzzle = aggressive dog.

It's just a good thing for them to experience and be trained for

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 11:38 AM
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I need a muzzle to keep my yorkie from eating acorns in the fall. However, I guess this will not work since they can eat with it on. This sounds like a good idea. Another thing I wish I had known from the beginning. So far I have not seen the need for this. My dogs are totally docile at the vet. My yorkie was an angel while they extracted six ticks from his ear canals which I believe only happened because the groomer plucked his ears. I now groom them myself (no more ear plucking) because I believe it is less stressful for them. Stress is not good for people or pets. So if my dog was very stressed at the groomer, I would groom the dog myself.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 01:50 PM
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I totally agree with the concept, but it is not something I have done. I DO take ALL my doges for regular Chiro adjustments at the vet's office, Kodi because he's older and has had a past injury, Panda because she works hard, and Pixel so that she has regular "positive" experiences at the vet's office. Kodi goes every 6 weeks, Pixel and Panda alternate, with one of them going with him each time. So each of them go about every 3 months.

So I agree with it in theory, just as I STRONGLY believe that every dog should be comfortable with being crated. The problem with muzzling is that unless you are going to remember to KEEP up familiarity with the muzzle, they are going to lose their comfort level with it. And the first time you use it at the vet's office, without LOTS of positive experiences to support that use in other places, you have TONS of "damage control" to do.

OTOH I have a friend with GSD's and they are sweet, wimpy dogs, but large with lots of big, pointy teeth, and they don't handle even MINOR pain well.. she ALWAYS muzzles them before they go into the vet's office, even though they LIKE their vets. They get their muzzles off for treats from the vets before they leave the office!

For me, knowing myself and my dogs, I know my dogs are not going to threaten, let alone bite for any "normal" office procedures. If they were, for some reason, hurt or stressed enough that I thought they might be a danger to staff or themselves, I would ask that they be sedated for whatever procedure. (but I am pretty sure the staff would suggest that first) That way not only would the staff be safe, but it would be less traumatic for the dog as well.

That said, Kodi has even had a needle biopsy and held perfectly still in my arms with no threat to anyone, and I'm sure that was pretty uncomfortable. So I think it would have to be pretty bad for him to threaten to bite anyone. Same with the girls.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, W, M, and K, for your replies. I just wanted to update that the two pet stores I've visited so far in my city don't have basket muzzles small enough for Shama's face! Both carried lines ranging from 1 for small dogs to 6 for large dogs, but both 1s were too big for Shama. I ended up getting her a soft muzzle, but my trainer wants me to try harder to find a basket-type in the name of guaranteed ability to pant, eat, and drink while wearing the muzzle. We'll see if I get around to it. For now, I'll try to remember to post a photo of Shama shoving her nose into the soft muzzle to get the treat on the other side! It's pretty funny ... (Shama weighs only 8.5 pounds so has a smaller face than the average Havanese.)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShamaMama View Post
Thanks, W, M, and K, for your replies. I just wanted to update that the two pet stores I've visited so far in my city don't have basket muzzles small enough for Shama's face! Both carried lines ranging from 1 for small dogs to 6 for large dogs, but both 1s were too big for Shama. I ended up getting her a soft muzzle, but my trainer wants me to try harder to find a basket-type in the name of guaranteed ability to pant, eat, and drink while wearing the muzzle. We'll see if I get around to it. For now, I'll try to remember to post a photo of Shama shoving her nose into the soft muzzle to get the treat on the other side! It's pretty funny ... (Shama weighs only 8.5 pounds so has a smaller face than the average Havanese.)
I'll be interested to see if you can find a basket muzzle small enough for her. I've only seen the cloth muzzles being used on toy-sized dogs, whether they were as small as Shama or not. I just see no reason that a dog that size would need to wear a muzzle long enough to need to eat or drink in it. And I think they SHOULD be able to pant, even in a properly fitted soft muzzle.

And, of course, it makes perfect sense to train your dog not to be fearful of a soft muzzle too!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 11:46 AM
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yes it's good for any dog to learn. here's a good desensitization video

https://youtu.be/1FABgZTFvHo?t=3
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