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hmmmmmOk I love this idea not because I think every dog should wear a muzzle but for the fact if we make wearing the muzzle normal the dog will be ready if it is ever needed.

One thing, I can attest to (as well as many other trainers) is the problem of owner compliance in dog training, these days… I find that if lucky, most clients will be consistent and frequent with what I teach about 70 % of the time (those are the really good ones) and while that might be sufficient with problems like:

  • My dog jumps up
  • My dog pulls on a leash
  • My dog does not come when called
  • My dog pees and poops in the house

It will not be at all sufficient with a reactive dog towards people and or other dogs… God forbid, we are dealing with a dog that has already bitten and has learned that biting makes the scary things go away… Please do not misjudge what I am saying here. I fully believe that most if not all my clients want to be complaint, consistent and frequent with the techniques I teach them but they allow life or other distractions get in their way… (Whether that is right or wrong is for a different discussion)….

The critical nature of dealing with an aggressive dog is to first manage the dog to make sure mistakes cannot happen and so that bad behaviors cannot be practiced. Second, the goals should be on improvement and modification of bad behaviors not fixing them… I look at this topic as being similar to anger management and/or cancer treatment… What do I mean by this?

  • A person going through anger management training is not taught eliminate their temper, rather they are taught how to live with their anger and to deal with it constructively… In many cases it is a lifetime commitment…
  • A person with cancer never really cures it, rather it is put in remission and they learn to monitor its progress on a regular basis along with the lifestyle changes and behavior modification that help keep it in remission…

In both cases if we push someone’s body or temper past their point of what they can handle (dog training speak-Threshold) then we very well could see a relapse… The muzzle is nothing more than a tool, which if used properly can be there if management and or owner compliance fails!!! And in my humble opinion a muzzles being used is the sign of a realistic dog owner/trainer, wanting to make sure they guarantee the safety of their pooch and the other people and pooches of the world…

Obviously this is a very complicated topic and one that a quick hitter blog post (like this) can solve but please do not disparage or discount the use of muzzles as a part of what can be an incredible tool for positive reinforcement techniques…

Please take a minute to go read this article and as always your comments are welcome!



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