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Muzzle training works best for your dog when you let them choose the pace! With this method, you decrease their stress and increase the chances they’ll willingly wear it!

Choose a Muzzle

  • First, you’ll need to choose a muzzle style that maximizes comfort and safety for your dog’s unique head and snoot shape! (Check out that link if you haven’t yet.)

Introduce the Muzzle

  • Grab your muzzle and your treats! This is a great time to use something pasty your dog can lick, like peanut butter, squeeze cheese, or meat baby food in a pouch.
  • Put the muzzle on the floor and let your dog investigate it.
  • Hold the muzzle in your hand and let your dog investigate it.
  • Feed your dog a few treats near the muzzle.

Teach Your Dog to Put Their Nose In the Muzzle

The biggest portion of this is teaching your dog to put their nose in the muzzle on their own, and then to hold steady and feel comfortable while you fasten the straps.

  • Place some cheese (or other treat) at the very opening of the bottom of the muzzle.
  • Hold the muzzle like a cup with the opening pointed toward your dog.
  • Present the muzzle to your dog at their nose height. Keep that hand still once it’s down. (Your dog will put their nose in, don’t put it on their nose.)
  • Allow them to lick the treat, then take the muzzle away.
  • Repeat! Your dog should have comfortable body language. (If they don’t, make it easier! You may need to work on your dog just taking a step toward the muzzle at first, or just putting their face near it.)
  • After your dog has done this comfortably 3 times, you can put the treat further back in the muzzle to encourage them to start to stick their nose in.
  • Once they’re good with this, use a spoon or spatula with smearable treat (or your hand with a regular treat) inserted into the front of the muzzle to encourage them allllll the way to the back of the muzzle. Repeat as before.
  • Once your dog is comfy with this, you can start to teach them to hang out in the muzzle for just a little bit without cookies. Briefly remove the spoon/spatula while their nose is in there, then put it back!
  • Advance with each of the below steps as your dog is comfortable and successful!
    • Begin allowing the muzzle to rest on your dog’s nose.
    • Reach one hand to touch one of the neck straps. Pick it up, pull it towards your dog’s neck.
    • Touch and pick up the other neck strap.
    • Pick up both neck straps as if you’re going to fasten it.
    • Fasten the muzzle and then immediately unfasten it.
    • Fasten the muzzle, let them wear it for a few seconds, then take it off.
  • Keep these sessions short and sweet! Practice every other day for 1-5 minutes at first.
  • If you’d like a great visual aid, check out Chirag Patel’s YouTube video on muzzle training!

Practice Wearing the Muzzle

  • After your dog is comfortable putting the muzzle on, they should have several short sessions wearing it for increasing periods of time. Some dogs may need to start really short: Think 10-30 seconds!!
  • Do something fun like play chase in the yard, go for a walk, and/or eating treats! This will help them associate it with good things and to become more used to and accepting of it.

During muzzle training, watch your dog’s body language carefully. If you see signs of stress, give them a break and make the next repetitions easier.

Most dogs will be much more comfortable if we allow them to go at their own pace. This means allowing them to work at a point where they are comfortable. (Resist the urge to put the muzzle on her nose yourself.)

If you feel stuck, let your trainer know and we’ll help!