Muzzles get a bad rap. I have walked hundreds of playful, social dogs in my career as a group off-leash dog walker. I used to cancelled dogs that were somewhat unpredictable – the kind that played well most of the time, but would occasional get over-excited and nip the other dogs. Then one day I put a muzzle on my own dog. I felt bad at first, but he was getting a bit cranky as he matured, and the only other option was to leave him at home.
I am so glad I made that choice. It led to the realization that using a muzzle is the key to freedom for so many dogs. With the use of a muzzle, otherwise shunned dogs can play and socialize – no more being left out of the fun. Since then I have used this method with many other dogs, enabling them to have fulfilling social lives while removing that one negative behaviour from the mix.
The best muzzle to use is a cage muzzle (Italian basket muzzle, basket muzzle). These muzzles give your dog room to move their mouth, allowing them to pant and drink. Cloth muzzles may do in a pinch – perhaps for a moment at the vet’s office, but they are not well suited to regular activity.