K9 Basics Tips on How to Muzzle Train a Dog

by | Jan 27, 2023 | General Information

There are dogs in the world that are poorly socialized and aggressive. As a result, they are likely to bite. Other dogs are the sweetest, friendliest girls and boys. But if they’re frightened enough, they may bite, too. Both may need muzzles to prevent biting incidents.

The goal of a muzzle is always safety — yours, your dog’s, and other people and pets around them. Despite the stigma surrounding muzzles, there are benefits to using one, and we can teach dogs to interpret wearing a muzzle as a positive experience.

Today, we’ll look at the purposes of using a muzzle, types and training your dog to wear one.


How Do Dog Muzzles Work on Dogs?

A muzzle is a device that provides a barrier surrounding a dog’s mouth so that they cannot latch on to or pick up anything. The muzzle is held in place with straps around the dog’s head or attached to the collar.


You Have a Dog Who’s Aggressive or Hard To Control

Of course, the first thought when discussing muzzles is aggressive dogs that bark, snarl, attack, and bite with little provocation. Everyone knows those dogs need muzzles! If your dog will not follow your commands and tries to bite you, they should be muzzled until you can get help. Your own anxiety can bring on aggression in your dog.


You’re Working on Your Dog’s Behavior Issues

If you’re training a dog with behavior issues, they may protest the change in expectations and try to bite. Until they’ve learned to modify their behavior for the better, a muzzle can keep everyone safe.


You are Dealing With an Emergency

If your dog is injured, they may become instinctively defensive and bite. Also, if you’re the injured party, your dog may try to protect you when first responders show up. Chaotic situations can frighten a dog enough to make them bite.


There are Laws

Some areas require “dangerous breeds” to be muzzled in public. There is also the issue of liability. Most states hold parents responsible for dog bites. The victim can sue for medical bills and damages, and the dog will be taken from you and put into mandatory quarantine for up to 30 days. A muzzle will eliminate the risk.


Your Dog Doesn’t Like Veterinarians and Groomers Messing With Them!

A trip to the vet or groomer can be frightening. They get poked, prodded, doused, or subjected to loud things. Some dogs will protest in defense. A muzzle will keep the staff safe.


When NOT to Use a Muzzle

Muzzles do not solve behavior problems. Those need to be dealt with directly. However, a muzzle can help along the way.

A muzzle should never be used as punishment or to knowingly put your dog in an environment that frightens or stresses them.


The Stigma of the Muzzle

A muzzle can be a vital safety tool for your dog. However, some owners dislike them because they are associated with vicious, violent dogs. No one wants their friendly dog to be viewed as the Hannibal Lecter of the canine community. But muzzles are helpful tools, as they prevent your dog from eating non-food objects. They’re not an indication that the dog has bitten someone or is not friendly.


Choosing a Muzzle


What are the Different Types of Muzzles?

For any dog, it’s a good idea to have one muzzle in your collection of dog accessories, at least in case of an emergency.


Basket Muzzle

A basket muzzle is a basket-shaped cage strapped to the dog’s nose and mouth. It is made of metal, leather, or plastic and comes in several sizes. The dog can open their mouth, pant, eat treats, and drink within the basket.


Soft Muzzle

A soft muzzle is a piece of fabric or nylon wrapped around the nose and mouth. It holds the dog’s mouth closed, so they cannot eat or bark. More importantly, they cannot pant, which is dangerous if they need to cool off. Therefore, dog parents should never use it for long periods.


Homemade Muzzle

Homemade dog muzzles are the last resort if you need one in an emergency. You can use gauze, a nylon hose, a leash, or other readily available items. It would be best if you only used it for a very short time.


Short Snout Muzzle

A short snout muzzle is also available for flat-faced dogs, such as pugs.


The Right Fit

Any muzzle should fit snugly so the dog cannot pull it off. Your dog should be able to open their mouth part-way. They need to be able to pant if they get too warm. Pick one that is best for your dog’s size.


For Temporary Use Only

Muzzles should be used only for a short time. Even with basket muzzles, a dog’s ability to move their mouth is still restricted. Therefore, it should be removed after the immediate need passes.


How to Train a Dog To Wear a Muzzle

You want your dog to learn that the muzzle is a good thing. You’re asking them to get used to having a foreign object stuck to their face, so proceed with some patience. Never introduce your dog to the muzzle in the middle of a crisis. Pick a time when things are quiet and comfortable, and the muzzle isn’t needed.

The general process is simple. First, let the dog sniff the muzzle, then give them a treat. Repeat while moving it closer. Next, put the muzzle on the dog for a few minutes, take it off, and give treats and praise. Repeat this several times daily and gradually increase the time the muzzle stays on. You can even give treats through the basket muzzle. In the end, you’ve associated the muzzle with a positive experience, making it easier to use in a stressful situation.


Looking for a Professional Dog Trainer? K9 Basics Can Help!

We at K9 Basics have the expertise to address any behavioral issues that may have led you to use a muzzle. We can also introduce your dog to the muzzle and train them to accept and be comfortable with its use.

We will help you ensure your dog’s safety, the people and dogs around you, and yourself and your family. Contact us for an appointment, and let’s get started!

Give us a call at (866) 592-2742 or, if you’re from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New York, visit us at 131 Kenilworth Road, Marlton, New Jersey 08053, to learn more about our muzzle training services. Also, browse our blog and social media for various topics about dogs and their lives with us!



  1. Mary Randolph, J.D. “Strict Liability Dog-Bite Laws.” Www.Nolo.Com, Nolo, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dog-bite-statutes.html. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

  2. Stephanie Gibeault, MSc. “Dog Muzzles: When, Why, and How to Correctly Use Them.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 3 Sept. 2021, www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/dog-muzzles-when-why-how-to-use/. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

  3. “Muzzle Training for Dogs: VCA Animal Hospital: VCA Animal Hospitals.” Vca, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/muzzle-training-for-dogs. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.