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Muzzle question...

1097 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Kelly
Hi guys, I have a question for you. Is it inhumane to use a muzzle? I have no idea if they are mean or cruel or not but I need a solution. Let me explain.

There is a new area in my city, sorta like a dog park. It's free to the public but all you have to do is make sure you clean up after your dog. It's a huge totally fenced in yard with beautiful grass, that they can run free in without leashes. I took the boys there today and thought we'd have a problem with Mr. Peepers. Well it turns out Mr. Peepers is an angel! He loves ALL of the dogs big or small, male or female, doesn't matter. Buster on the other hand is extremely mean. To the point where if any dogs come near him or any of us, he freaks out and starts barking. He even BIT a huge Alaskan Husky looking dog. He bit him on the face. I was so embarrassed. He also lunged at several other dogs. All of the dogs that go there are extremely friendly except for Buster.

So my question is, should I leave Buster at home? Should I use a muzzle? Are they painful? Would this be a situation to use one? Has anyone else used one before? I figured with a muzzle, first of all, it would NOT be put on him until he acted aggressively toward another dog and maybe he would get the idea if he acts up, it would be put on him.

I don't want you guys to think I am cruel to my dogs, I am not. I treat them like my children. It's just, either I leave him at home :( or I try to think of another solution to the problem and I can't risk him hurting another dog, that isn't fair for the other dogs.

I would appreciate any feedback or other suggestions. :wink:
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in my opinion muzzles should only be used when you have to "do" something to the animal like exams, shots, nail trims ect and only if that animal is a biter. i don't think a dog park would be a place to use one, just leave him at home. in case something was to happen and a fight broke out he couldn't defend himself with a muzzle. there are the "basket" looking muzzles that some people keep on their dogs when they take them out for walks but again in my opinion if the dog is that mean or can't be kept from biting then the dog shouldn't be out of the yard...
A muzzle does sound extreme but it would be used to protect the other dogs. When it comes to people he wants to kiss them to death. :roll: He loves ANY and EVERY person that has ever come near him. He is an extreme sweetheart to people, he just doesn't like dogs. He even loves cats! That's a bit strange huh? :lol:

I really don't want to leave him at home but if I have to I will. He hasn't really been around alot of dogs, so I am sure that is why he doesn't like them. Mr. Peepers hasn't really been around alot of dogs either but he loves them. I am thinking the more dogs I expose him to, the more comfortable he will be. But I just can't risk him biting any other dog.
I would not use a muzzle in that situation. They are not cruel and they do not hurt the dog, but in that situation all you will do is stress out Buster more if he feels he cannot defend himself. He is probably feeling very overwhelmed.
Keep Buster on a leash at the park. I know this kind of defeats the purpose of a dog park but I would keep him leashed until he is more comfortable. Introduce him to other dogs while on the leash so you can pull him back if you think he will bite. Make him sit and stay if he is being bad. Let other dogs come sniff him. You will probably want to hold him while the other dogs smell him. Keep control of his head and keep him calm. He needs to learn the other dogs wont hurt him and that its okay for other dogs to be around.
You might never be able to take him off the leash but I would continue to bring him to socialize him. A leash would work much better then the muzzle.
Good luck
:wink: I think a muzzle in not a bad idea..he, hopefully, will get along with dogs and then you will have no use for it..I see no point on leaving him in the house, he won't learn to like dogs that way. Muzzles are not uncommon in other countries, it is just here in north america we find them to be iffy or cruel to animals.. :roll: but what don't we find cruel to anything these days :roll: but if you really don't feel comfortable using one, how about just keeping him leashed? at least till he gets use to seeing dogs more often :wink: Good luck! :wave:

EDITED to say: Yeah, what Jessica wrote.
lol :D we must have been writing at the same time :wink:
Yeah, I kept him leashed almost the whole time we were there. In fact, he was leashed when he bit that dog! :roll: I kept him right by me, leashed, the whole time because he was going berserk. I would just let the dogs come to us if they wanted to and I would let Buster sniff if interested, but he'd rather try and eat the others! :roll:

The only time I let him off, there was a bunch of dogs by us, about 5 and a couple were big but really friendly. I let Buster off since Peepers was being very social I was hoping Buster would be. But as soon as I let him off he went up to the biggest dog, I'd say about 100 or more pounds :shock: HUGE dog, and started barking visciously at him. The dog first just looked at him and then I think he wanted to show Buster who was boss. So he turned to start to chase Buster, and Buster started crying like he got hit by a car! :lol: :lol: It was actually pretty funny!

I think what I will do is just keep bringing him with us. I don't think keeping him home will help either. Maybe he'll learn that he can't explore and have fun if he acts that way.
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I dont think a muzzle is a bad idea, my vet always said that it calms a dog down, maybe if he feels defenseless he wont start trouble and will realize every dog is not out to get him...... :?: :?: maybe I think too much too :lol:

I have a muzzle for kemo for when I need it, it does not hurt...I have a meshy kind of one the leather ones look painful, I do not like dog parks so I just dont go there......but Buster needs his exerscise.

Tell us what you will do......... :)
from my experience at the animal hospital some dogs have to be muzzled by the owner before they even get the dog in the door and it puts them on a higher "defense" alert mode. if he is barking and growling at other dogs and lunging to bite them to me he isn't happy there a muzzle isn't going to stop how he acts while there just won't be able to bite, another dog will be able to see his aggression and may even attempt to put him in his place because of how he is acting. i dont' think muzzles are cruel, heck i whip them out whenever i have to do a nail trim on a "questionable" dog i just don't think they should be a part of excersise and play (most muzzles inhibit the ability to pant fully.)

henry the basset hound:
there was this old basset hound named henry, he was about 10 years old well the owner had a baby and when that baby became a toddler he walked up to old man henry who was asleep on the couch and pulled his ear well henry nipped the child on the hand (didn't break skin or leave a bruise.) the owner got mad and scared and she went out and bought a muzzle which henry lived in day and night for 2 years only getting it off to eat dinner and a few times when water was offered to him. then it was put right back on. he could barely pant, couldn't eat on his own or drink and was unable to bark. well he was brought in to us to be euthanized because the owner was pregnant again and thought after 2 years that he can't live in a muzzle any longer. other than a staph infection henry was healthy as ever for a 12 year old basset. so we got him signed over to us and we sent for the basset rescue who came and picked him up, we got an e-mail saying he is doing just fine. i know you are only thinking of using it at the dog park and henry's situation was very different. i just had to tell his little story and use it as a reason why i hate muzzles for "every day" reasons. they don't solve the problem which would be correcting the dog's initial behaviour. maybe someone could give you some advice on trying to change his dog aggression. maybe even contact some trainers for suggestions....
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I agree with Angel518, at a dog park, rendering your dog defenseless is going to make him more stressed out. If Buster cannot handle being around the dog park, I think it is in your best interest to leave him at home until he can handle it. Being there obviously stresses him out, and muzzling him while he's there would put him over the edge I think. Ritz gets nippy at the dog park too, and gets stressed to the point where he's running around foaming at the mouth and drooling. We won't be taking him until he's ready again, it's not worth it to put him in a stressful situation where he might hurt another dog.

If you want to continue to allow him to explore and socialize, perhaps you can bring him to the park during non-busy hours, or consider finding a small dog park where he doesn't feel as intimidated. My chihuahuas have a totally different personality when interacting with big vs small dogs, and I can't imagine teaching them to socialize with huge dogs right off the bat.

Keeping him on a leash at the dog park may be good to keep him restrained, but bad because he cannot run away if something comes charging at him, and if he bolts, the leash can easily get tangled in a mess of hands/feet/dogs. We recently had a dog come in with multiple bite wounds; the owner had kept it on a leash at the dog park, and it was attacked by another dog, it couldn't run away so it sustained heavy damage, however the owner also was injured, the leash had wrapped around her leg and she was pulled to the floor by her Rottweiler, and dragged around by her ankle in the middle of the pack of fighting dogs. If it were a small dog park, I would maybe consider a leash, but if the park is mixed (you mentioned a malamute), I would definately reconsider.

Good luck! -Nate

P.S. what a sad story about the basset hound =(
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Thanks for the replys! :)

When we went there, there was only one dog at first. I wanted to wait it out hoping that there would be no dogs there. I think that if he were to explore the area on his own (no outside dogs) he might feel more comfortable in the area when other dogs do arrive. But the more we waited the more the dogs came. At one point there must have been around 13 dogs including mine.

My intentions with the park weren't really to socialize them. I wanted to bring them somewhere that they could just run around safely. It's probably as big as a football field, or bigger and totally fenced in. The socialization would be a bonus though.

I'm going to continue to bring him but really don't want to stress him out. I would feel bad leaving him at home. Do you think he'll eventually get used to the situation?

luvmypuppet, good point about panting with a muzzle on.
I can't offer any advice but I think it's cool that you all have a park like that!
I hope you can get Buster to like it there so he doesn't have to stay home :)
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