If a dog has not been properly introduced to wearing a muzzle, it can be a frightening—even traumatizing—experience.
First, what are muzzles used for?
Some owners will use it as a form of punishment for undesired behavior. Usually, the dog will not associate the two things, so it is not effective long term.
Muzzles are also sometimes used to try to stop barking, although this is not advisable.
If your dog has been chewing on household items, a muzzle may seem a good solution. However, it is not a good idea to leave a muzzle on for prolonged periods.
Muzzles are also used to protect vet doctors if you have an aggressive pet. It is also advisable in many cases to use a muzzle when taking a dog to places with high density of people.
If you want to get your dog more comfortable with the idea of a muzzle, always start by offering a tasty treat every time you bring the muzzle into your dog’s view. You want them to associate it with good things. Next, lay it on the ground and reward your dog every time they voluntarily move towards it, working up to them actively touching it.
Then, encourage them to put their snout into the muzzle for just a second. Never force their snout in. Build up the time they have their snout inside gradually. Initially, you could use a treat or doggy-safe peanut butter on the inside of the muzzle. Once they are relaxed with this stage, move on to fastening it around their ears. The length of time it is fastened should be built up over several sessions.
Always introduce the training sessions in a low-stress, familiar environment, and make sure that you keep the training sessions short (five minutes maximum), use high-value rewards, and don’t try to go too fast or skip any steps.
VIDEO: How To Teach Your Dog To Love Wearing A Muzzle