When listening to dog owners about obedience training springer spaniels as well as other breeds, one concern that is often raised is whether muzzles for dogs are a cruel thing or not. Is is unkind to muzzle a dog? Is a muzzle strictly necessary? And can good obedience training negate the necessity of a muzzle? Here we will evaluate these concerns and give some common-sense answers for anyone facing this dilemma.
If you have the opportunity to train a dog from being a tiny pup, you can create preventative strategies to deal with aggression or excessive aggression as the dog matures. This would take the form of making sure that you socialise your dog properly at every given opportunity as well as firmly establishing your authority as master.
From time to time, however, you come across dogs which get into a frenzy of excitement too great to listen to a command from it’s master. It is not that the do not hear or understand, more it is an inability to control the adrenalin rush and act accordingly. If this is a frequent occurrence it is often agood idea to have the dog castrated (as it tends to be more of a problem with male dogs). Whenever a dog has a overly high amount of testosterone in it’s system it can then have a problem controlling itself in these circumstances. When testosterone levels have reduced – which in older dogs can take a year or more – the dog will tend not to display these aggressive attributes.
There are also breeds of dogs, like spaniels and pit bull terriers, which have a genetic predisposition something called ‘rage disorder’. A dog can be friendly and loveable one moment and then, all of a sudden, turn into an aggressive, dangerous animal without any notice. Owners of dogs which display these behaviour disorders have to take responsibility to ensure that their dog does not injure anybody or any other
The short-term fix is to make the dog wear a muzzle. Are dog muzzles cruel? No, providing that the owner ensures that the muzzle is the correct fit for the dog and is aware of what the dog can and cannot do whilst wearing it. In fact, in some countries, certain breeds have to be muzzled in public by law.
There are various muzzles available but they tend to fall into two types; rigid muzzles which completely enclose the dog’s snout and soft, elasticated muzzles. The former are usually made from thick leather, metal or plastic and completely prevent the dog from biting anything. In addition, however, the dog can not eat or drink while the muzzle is attached so care has to be taken over the length of time a dog is wearing one. The latter, elasticated muzzles bind the upper and lower jaws. With these, it is possible for the dog to open its mouth so can drink and eat but the pressure from the elastic makes opening the mouth wide enough to cause serious injury impossible.
An owner needs to use some intelligence to decide when or if a dog is wearing its muzzle. Maybe if children or strangers are coming to the home or during walks are sensible .
times to put the muzzle on the dog. Also putting a muzzle on a dog when going out into the garden can be a good idea so that the dog gets used to the idea that the muzzle is one or he doesn’t get let out or do what he wants to do. I once had a very obedient dog, for example, who would get aggressive about coming back inside when called. A muzzle meant that any amount of aggression at this point was negated, making it easier for me to train him that I was boss at these times.
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