Fear Not the Dog Muzzle
Once upon a time muzzles were a thing to be feared. If you saw a dog wearing a muzzle it struck fear in our souls. Only vicious dogs wear muzzles…..right? Wrong!
Then we become educated and realized what a wonderful tool dog muzzles can be. Not just for the vicious dogs anymore. Muzzles can help fearful dogs learn to socialize with other dogs, enter strange and stressful new situations and enjoy a feeling of freedom missing from their and their owners lives.
Seen from a distance a muzzled dog gives you the heads up that this dog needs space and respectful introductions to other dogs. It gives you the opportunity to recall your dog and pass by in a calm respectful state. Rather than assuming that the dog on leash just lacks recall the visual of a muzzle gives you amble opportunity to assess the approaching situation and allows both owners the extra time to make a decision on how to handle it.
Often you will see a muzzled dog running free with his dog walking pack. It’s not because the dog is vicious and dangerously aggressive towards other dogs and their dog walker is an idiot. Often it is being used to minimize herding behavior or a dog with “fun police” behavior that can go into overdrive. Rather than remove the social aspects of these dogs lives which will invariably make their behavior much much worse, the muzzle allows them to continue to be social in a safe manageable way while still learning acceptable behavior and give the handlers peace of mind.
Muzzles are also used for dogs that have eating disorders such as pica. A syndrome that makes the dog eat anything and everything from rocks to poop to dead animals in a compulsive way.
So fear not the dog muzzle, judge not the owner but praise their decision to keep their dog and those they encounter safe from harm.