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Safety of Dogs Wearing Muzzles at Dog Park

Do You Shrug or Snarl at Muzzled Dogs?

As a pet parent, I'm always concerned about the safety of my own dog, but I also am very wary of the safety of other dogs when she's around them in social and play settings. A friend recently confided in me that — after an episode in which her big dog grabbed a small dog during group play — a trainer advised her to muzzle her dog when her pooch roams busy areas at the dog park.

A muzzled dog usually conjures images of vicious animals who lunge at the jugular and exhibit no self-control. But many dogs who wear muzzles in social settings are often very well-behaved pups who may have acted badly a few times in the past, and their owners are just trying to keep other dogs safe. Of course, muzzling your dog in an unpredictable environment may make them feel fearful and turn what used to be a fun outing into a place where they feel insecure.

So we want to know:

Image Source: Shutterstock
Ellenora Ellenora 5 years
I don't like muzzles, personally, unless it's truly necessary. Many people use a muzzle wrong or use it when it's not really necessary.   I always abide by the, "Ask if the pet is friendly before you pet," rule (except, for some reason, I forget this at PetSmart. Oie.) I naturally attract dogs and I love dogs so I naturally have no problems with a muzzled dog. If I had Zena, though, I would maybe keep a little space. Zena is a reactive dog! I need to practice with nonreactive dogs for the best success to make her less reactive. Muzzled dogs become less aggressive and reactive with this same training. It's a bit of common sense to me.
naoma naoma 5 years
I would walk on the other side of the street.  Dislike dogs and fear ones with muzzles.  Good friend is a dog lover and she bent down to pet a dog and it bit off half her ear.  She has refused to sue and has immense medical bills and upcoming plastic surgery.  And she still loves dogs.  ??
ShawnsFurKidz ShawnsFurKidz 5 years
While it is always better to be safe than sorry, as the owner of the dog I would be concerned as to why he had that reaction & would consult with a behaviorist.  I have 10 rescues, 3 dogs, 1 is a Pit Bull Mix, who just graduated from basic obedience, passed his Canine Good Citizen, and is enrolled in intermediate obedience.  I also have 7 cats & am fostering a 5lb Chihuahua.  I don't like to see dogs muzzled, b/c it does give the public the opinion the dog is aggressive & can be potentially vicious.  I would rather find out what the source of the behavior is and make every attempt to correct it, than just shrug my shoulders & say, 'OK, I will just muzzle my dog.'
sofiandlola sofiandlola 5 years
I think a muzzle is more indicative of a pet owner who is very responsible. Perhaps they know it is best to muzzle their pet in order to avoid any possible unfortunate situations. Any dog can react badly at some point, no matter how well behaved he is the majority of the time. I have a real problem when people reach out and pet my dog without asking me first. Seriously, it's not cool. 
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