Muzzle musings

Today we rounded a blind corner with Zoey and bumped right into someone walking their very dog aggressive Labrador. The dog immediately began snarling, snapping and straining to attack Zoey. It was only the distance between us and the owners’ quick reactions (on both sides) that saved Zoey from being badly attacked.

In my opinion, dogs that are so aggressive should be muzzled, for other dogs’ safety and their own.

I also think that aggressive dogs should be muzzled in popular dog walking spots, where dogs are often walked off-lead. I don’t know about anywhere else, but in the UK the majority of dogs are walked off-lead, and are allowed to go greet other dogs whilst off-lead. Many dogs also have poor recall, and wouldn’t return to their owner when faced with another dog. It is for these reasons that I think that if the dog is aggressive towards other dogs and would cause harm to them, s/he should be muzzled.

We see many aggressive dogs on our walks around here, with the majority being yanked, yelled at or hit for behaving aggressively – because THAT will help!! Some of the dogs are too big or strong for their owners to control, which is particularly dangerous.

We’ve only seen one wearing a muzzle and that dog, surprisingly, walked past our dog very calmly. We spoke to the owner, who explained they were counter-conditioning their dog to other dogs, and in the past 6 months he had changed from trying to attack every dog to walking past them calmly, always receiving treats (he wore a basket muzzle so treats and drinking are still easily accessible)…what a dramatic change, simply amazing 🙂

Anyway, enough of that! Here are some pics from Zoey’s dog walk yesterday, when she was able to go off-lead 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Muzzle musings

  1. Love that you met someone who succeeded in counter conditioning their aggressive dog to not react! That’s just too awesome. Over here, all dogs are supposed to be on the lead and all big dogs known to be aggressive breeds, including mongrel dogs like Donna are required to be muzzled. A regulation that everyone ignores! Haha!

    • I was really impressed too, especially that it only took them 6 months to make such a drastic change 🙂

      Oh jeez really? Those rules suck, I hate it when they just blanket a whole breed as being aggressive. Kinda glad people ignore the rules 😛

  2. Classical Counterconditioning does work but most people do not seek help or want to take the time and effort to do it. Yelling, yanking, hitting, etc. only make the situation worse as most leash aggression is fear-based (as is most aggressive behavior). Happy that Zoey was not harmed and that she enjoyed the off-leash romp. Looks like she had fun!

    • That’s generally all we see people doing around here…we actually saw someone hitting their puppy with a walking stick because their pup was trying to say hello to Zoey! I wonder how that dog will react to dogs in the future *sigh* …

      Zoey had lots of fun thanks, she loves it when she gets to go off-lead 😀

  3. Glad Zoey wasn’t hurt and enjoyed her off leash time.

    I had Rupert muzzled due to his aggression and while it does stop them biting it doesn’t stop them causing serious physical and psychological damage unfortunately. Especially if they’re a large dog. And often those who do use a muzzle with their aggressive dog seem to think that because it’s muzzled it’s perfectly fine to let it off leash as it “can’t do any harm”. They couldn’t be more wrong. Rupert broke one dogs ribs smashing it into the ground with his muzzle, lucky it wasn’t its back or skull really. And that the ribs didn’t puncture internal organs. We’d been surrounded by 5 off leash dogs on the street and despite my best efforts I couldn’t keep them all at bay. I purposely avoided off leash areas with Rupe because people don’t have enough control over their dogs to stop them running across a field to “say hello” to every dog they see. But we encountered so many out of control dogs on the streets that I might as well have just taken him to the fields and to hell with it.

    • Oh jeez what a nightmare!! Walking him must have been so stressful for you both.

      That’s exactly the same here, people let their dogs off-lead when their dog has absolutely no recall and expect everything to be fine (and I understand dogs don’t have perfect recall, Kasper certainly doesn’t, but I am talking about ZERO recall!!). Luckily the majority of dogs are on-lead around here on the streets…

      We had a lady today who told us her dog was aggressive before we reached it and before her dog was close enough to react – that was very helpful, and the first time that has ever happened…although again that wouldn’t be any use in an off-lead area!

      • Walking him in the day time was more like a military procedure than a walk lol. I mostly stuck to walking at anti social times or in terrible weather. It really, really annoyed me that I had to do that though. I did everything I possibly could to stop other dogs approaching him (leash, street walks, muzzle, shouted warning that he was not friendly) and it had absolutely no effect most of the time. Usually got “oh mine needs to be taught a lesson” or “well he shouldn’t be out in public if he’s vicious” or something along those lines. It’s why I’m so dubious about these yellow ribbon or DINOS schemes. If a muzzle and a shouted warning doesn’t do anything what hope is there for a ribbon?

        Spencer doesn’t have perfect recall, we’ve had a couple of incidents where he has run up to another dog before I realised it was there. It happens, I accepted that even when I had Rupert and if someone came to get their dog and apologise I didn’t get angry with them. It’s those who blatantly don’t care that make me angry. Especially when you encounter the dog ten minutes before the owner! That’s a long time to fend off a rude dog or prevent your dog beating it to death with its muzzle. Even if they don’t car about other peoples dogs do they not care that their own could be hurt or traumatised or stolen?

      • Haha I can imagine!

        Oh I hate the ‘s/he needs to be taught a lesson’…we used to walk my in-laws’ aggressive dog, we weren’t told he was aggressive, so we walked him off-lead as they still do to this day. Well he started attacking another dog, latching onto the neck of this 7 month old pup, and after we had them separated we put him back on his lead and apologised and the other owner said it was fine because her pup needed to be taught a lesson!!! What?!?

        Some people just shouldn’t own dogs…

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