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Old 02-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Muzzles make the dog more aggressive?

I have been muzzle training our 15 mos old shepherd who is reactive.
Just now, I had her muzzle on, her sister came near then she growled at her.

FYI she has been going to reactive classes which started the muzzle training.
I think the muzzle is making her worse!

Is it possible?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It may be making her feel vulnerable which increases her anxiety.
If the class is asking too much of her too fast, that also may be playing into it.
Is there a behaviorist in your area you can consult? Or take some private instruction from the trainer you are already going to?
FWIW, these two sisters may never get along, and you'll have to keep them separated for their own safety...wearing a muzzle through life isn't really fair.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Some dogs really resent being muzzled, while others actually become calmer and easier to work with. I notice this in my grooming salon. I rarely have to muzzle a dog anymore, but last week was a week from **** and I had to muzzle two of them. One became much more compliant with the muzzle on--he didn't REALLY want to bite me, but he was having a hard time with impulse control. Once muzzled, he knew biting wasn't an option, so he gave up. The other one fought tooth and nail and nearly injured herself trying to pull the muzzle off. It took everything I had to keep her under control. Eventually, she wore herself out and gave up, after which I was able to safely finish grooming her.

So, yeah. A muzzle can make things worse, as the dog can get frustrated and that can build up. In many cases it's temporary, until the dog gets used to wearing the muzzle and learns to accept it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One became much more compliant with the muzzle on--he didn't REALLY want to bite me, but he was having a hard time with impulse control. Once muzzled, he knew biting wasn't an option, so he gave up.
When I had Karlo's hips/elbows x-ray'd, I muzzled him for the procedure.
He was sedated but still awake and as we were waiting for the films to develop, he was laying on his back in the cradle, I took off his muzzle. That agitated him, once I put it back on, he settled back down and relaxed again. It also relaxes Onyx somewhat at the vet, she knows the option to bite is removed, so will fight less.
The muzzle places some pressure on the ears which is a calming point.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
It may be making her feel vulnerable which increases her anxiety.
If the class is asking too much of her too fast, that also may be playing into it.
Is there a behaviorist in your area you can consult? Or take some private instruction from the trainer you are already going to?
FWIW, these two sisters may never get along, and you'll have to keep them separated for their own safety...wearing a muzzle through life isn't really fair.
The sisters get along very well. We had a couple of fights a month or so ago, we now know the situations that build bad energy. We no longer put them in those positions. We also reevaluated our training. Now it is peachy, until tonight, she did not want her sister near her with the muzzle.

We do go to a controlled class as well as privates.
We are working our way up to training her in detection.

She is very serious and intense!

Do you have any suggestions on making her more relaxed with it on?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, the muzzle isn't so she doesn't hurt her sister, the muzzle is for walks outside.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would ask your trainer, as they are familiar with her and her triggers....but short sessions with it on, ending it positively every time. It is a wire basket or leather muzzle?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It is a wire basket one.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotty View Post
The sisters get along very well. We had a couple of fights a month or so ago, we now know the situations that build bad energy. We no longer put them in those positions. We also reevaluated our training. Now it is peachy, until tonight, she did not want her sister near her with the muzzle.

We do go to a controlled class as well as privates.
We are working our way up to training her in detection.

She is very serious and intense!

Do you have any suggestions on making her more relaxed with it on?

How about introducing it to the dog gradually - break her in with treats thru the muzzle, and then distractions like walking and/or OB seems to help with our guy.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We broke her into the muzzle over a two week period.
Both dogs wanted to wear it! It was so fantastic for the treats you could get with it on.
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