Minion models his properly fitting muzzle well, he is so handsome!

“I can’t believe my dog just nipped, they’ve never done that in their life!”
Have you ever heard this line or uttered it yourself? It is spoken when a dog has exhibited an unexpected behavior at a very inappropriate time. All dogs have teeth, all dogs can bite. Every dog can benefit from muzzle training. For some dogs if they are stressed or in pain– they might not have full control over the behavior.


If the line above is heard at a grooming shop, there is a chance that pet might not be welcome back; if it is heard in a social setting the pet may be seized by animal control and/or have to be quarantined if the nip broke human skin and/or the owner may be liable for medical expenses with possible legal issues.


A pet who is suffering from an injury or trauma may need to have a muzzle placed on them in an urgent manner to safely move or transport them. If they are already acclimated to a muzzle, their overall stressors may be lower as it is one less thing they’d have to deal with on top the pain, stress, and anxiety from an injury.


But there is good news! Training your dog to accept a muzzle using positive reinforcement is actually a wonderful bonding tool. From the dog’s view basket muzzle training is more like a game with rewards than something to fear. 

Want to try it? Start by working with your dog alone, in a quiet area away from distractions and away from other dogs/pets and people.

Let’s start out with a good introduction to muzzles, and debunk some common myths about them:

Here is the step by step method, and lots of helpful tips and resources below:

If you want to read up more on positive training, great trainers to follow are Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson, and even Victoria Stillwell (she even has programs on TV!)
We do not recommend any training that involves any force, fear, or intimidation techniques. 

Here is the style of muzzle we prefer:

Don’t skimp and buy the cheapest, as the lower the price most often the lower the quality. You want a COMFORTABLE sturdy muzzle, so try to get a good one. A comfy muzzle should be sturdy yet flexible, if it is solid plastic it may break if pressure is applied, and a solid metal basket muzzle may not be very comfortable for your dog if it isn’t well padded.
You’ll also need to do some measurements to ensure the size you order will you dog comfortably.
Most sites for ordering will show you wear to measure for best fit.

Go slow! Don’t advance to the next part of training until you conquer each step of the training. And keep it fun, keep the treats flowing and happy times going!

Remember, for positive reinforcement training, eyes on your pet, hands off, we rarely touch them in training as they are needing to concentrate on the task at hand. Their main task is to have fun and earn rewards. So, instead of basket muzzle training, think of it as the basket muzzle game!


When you schedule with Blue Door Veterinary Services, we keep the treats flowing and the games going so your pet’s visit is as low stress as possible!

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