To muzzle or not to muzzle? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Newcastle, North East England
Posts: 55
To muzzle or not to muzzle?

Hello, my dog loves to chase and play with a ball to the extent where he pesters others if they have a ball in their mouth till they give it up. I am aware this is dangerous behaviour and some dogs have already reacted aggressively to his annoying habit and a couple of harmless squabbles have broken out between them if the other dog does not give a clear warning to back off i.e showing teeth. I also find when I put him on the leash and he see's another dog playing with a ball he screams, barks and whimpers out of pure frustration while jumping up in down. I have desensitized him during a few weeks training through distraction with food rewards and when he's quiet he get's his own ball to mess around with however occasionally he still will break from my grip and snatch that ball back from the other dog!

When their isn't a ball to play with he loves a good rough and tumble with the others and is highly vocal and his bite is highly inhibited. He does not grab, nor put pressure on his playmate. However, his more sensitive friends get frightened, some yelp to deter him away before he's even touched them and others go belly up which make's him look like a nasty bully when in fact he just wants to play. He has also taken a dislike to this particular nervous dog and will dominate him by keeping him low to the ground and mouthing the poor thing if it wants to get up! It is all noise but no manners whatsoever and I have just been putting him on the leash with food distractions as we walk past and if he successfully does so he will get his ball. He's getting better though but I can't always predict when that particular dog is out on the field and I don't want any unexpected commotions!

My idea is to purchase a muzzle, simply from stopping him to successfully snatch a ball from another dog and thus rewarding himself for his misbehaviour. I also think this may teach him self control and that he will eventually learn that he is not allowed to take from others. When he wants to play with other dogs I also think that the muzzle will put other owners minds at rest because of his crazy murderous vocalisations and obviously teach him even more bite inhibition and what is suitable for different dogs. It will also ensure the safety of the particular dog he dislikes because his mouthing gets a little harder towards that particular dog than he would normally use when playing. I'd like you to give your opinions on this, I am always wanting to hear off the experts because I'm only 17, I need your wisdom haha.

I have also found that when he passes an unfamiliar dog his tail goes up and bristles and he keeps high interest on that animal. Sometimes he will give a couple of unsure barks and sometimes he will approach them with a small growl (but no teeth) and pull towards them insisting he greets them. If a dog just so happens to run up he will behave as described above but then begin to relax after a few seconds and you can tell him to sit/lie down and he'll voluntarily roll on his side for a belly rub! I have tried de sensitising him to stranger dogs by walking sideways to them instead of head on, not allowing them to greet but to simply join the walk as a pack as well as toy and food distractions. All seems to be going brilliant. Could any of you explain to me what is meant by his behaviour? Is it anxiety? Aggression? Dominance?


ps: 'Leave it' command only works with food, other toys and balls that are not in risk of getting played with by another dog. If another dog has a ball leave it will not work he is in such an excitable state of mind.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:11 PM
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how old is your dog? sounds like a drivey puppy that's getting away with the misbehavior and hasn't learned to control it yet.

A muzzle often times causes more problems than it solves - and especially since this is not a human aggression issue why put the dog through it? Some dogs will barely notice it is on while others will be miserable.

Do you have any trainers in the area you can consult? Sounds like a training issue if he's an adult or simply a drivey pup who hasn't learned to contain himself and be obedient while in an excited state.

Adding in: putting a muzzled dog in a dog park with lots of dogs is a recipe for disaster...
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:19 PM
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Where are you taking him to play? Are you at a dog park?

How old is your dog?


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Newcastle, North East England
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He is 14 months old.

We had one trainer that was readily available and we took him to classes over a course of months. However it wasn't really that good as it was around 25 dogs per class and he became highly anxious barking and whimpering. The separated aggressive dogs tended to air snap at him as he walked past and well, he simply wouldn't listen because he was to overwhelmed. It focused more on tricks and basics than what we really needed. By the end of it all he always had a dickey tummy on the floor because of nerves. Others I'm not to sure about/have heard of. It's a money issue at the minute though so I'm trying to look for alternatives for myself.

In the UK we don't have dog parks, well not in my area anyway! At the most he meets around five dogs on his walks per day, same dogs, same time every day. I only walk 'as a pack' with two of them. However one of these dogs is in need of some serious weight loss and needs exercising with the tennis ball and thrower thing you get so I put him on the leash but his frustration levels are high when he can't get what he wants and he jumps about like a frantic wild pony.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 04:19 PM
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A muzzle would stop him from being able to get the ball into his mouth, but maybe not from being obnoxious with the other dog about wanting the ball. That would be my concern in using a muzzle in this situation.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:12 PM
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Sit, stay is right. I muzzle my Shepherd because she has human aggression issues and dog aggression issues. When she has it on, she still tries to pick up sticks or balls to play, its actually really sad to watch because she doesn't understand why she cant get it. Which can lead to frustration, which can lead to fights. And as ayoitzrimz stated, a muzzled dog in a dog park can be bad news.

If you do get a muzzle check out the And make sure you spend the time and effort to train your pup to accept the muzzle. My dog thinks the muzzle is a treat dispenser and car ride generator

P.S. Never let your dog out of your sight with the muzzle on.
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