Take the stress out of applying a muzzle to an aggressive dog in three simple steps

Dog muzzle
(Image credit: Company of Animals)

We often have to do things for our dogs that they don’t like. Whether you’re applying the best flea treatment to stop your pup scratching or you’re learning how to stop dogs begging for food, sometimes we do things that might be in their best interests – they just don’t realize it. 

And applying a muzzle to your dog can fall into this category. Indeed, while many owners are hesitant to muzzle their dogs, it can sometimes be a good decision to make for their safety. If you think your dog has aggressive tendencies wearing a muzzle is one of the effective ways to keep yourself and your pup safe from a dog attack

But what if your dog is unsure or questionable about wearing one? Luckily, Sean O’Shea, founder of The Good Dog Training, has some advice. 

O’Shea shared a video of a dog, Lola, who was found as a stray in Texas. Her owner couldn't touch her or put a collar on her without her showing teeth or snapping, and she came to O’Shea wearing a slip collar that a previous trainer couldn’t safely swap out for a different collar.

“First, the biothane strap goes around the neck, which will work as a hinge to pull the muzzle on,” explained O’Shea in the caption. For the second step, he along with another trainer used a grabber to get the straps of the muzzle out of the way, and lifted the muzzle into place with the leash attached to its top strap. At this point, it could be secured.

Finally, they then wrapped the muzzle to secure Lola, and prevent her from moving. “Now, we can safely swap out her old gear for our preferred gear,” O’Shea said.

Muzzles might have negative connotations, but if you think your dog could be aggressive or even just anxious around people, using a muzzle can be useful for everyone involved. 

Not only that, but sometimes your dog might need a muzzle. For example, if they’re at the vet, or if your dog has been hurt. Getting your dog used to wearing one out and about can make life easier for you later on. 

Sometimes, dogs wear muzzles because they’re required to by law due to their breed – not because they’ve ever actually bitten anybody. Some pups wear them while they’re being trained not to eat objects that could be dangerous, while others wear them because they need space. And, of course, people tend to avoid dogs in muzzles. 

And remember, too, that muzzled dogs can still hurt you, particularly if you’re doing something they might not like – such as applying a collar on them. Muzzles can be useful, but they don’t make you immune from getting hurt. And likewise, if your dog approaches a dog wearing a muzzle, don’t assume they can’t get hurt. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at DogTime.com, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.