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Muzzle Training Tips

Updated: Mar 3

How do I teach my dog to wear a muzzle?

Muzzle training (especially for XL bully breeds with specific regulations in the UK) is a crucial skill. Muzzles are often seen as a negative with people wrongly assuming a dog with a muzzle on is 'bad', 'dangerous' or 'aggressive'. Of course, muzzles can be a crucial tool for keeping both dogs and humans safe from dogs with aggression issues but they are also invaluable safety tools for dogs who are nervous and reactive at the vets, or dogs that scavenge or suffer from fear whilst they are are being treated.

This comprehensive guide focuses on a positive and gradual approach, incorporating treat encouragement to ensure your furry friend willingly embraces the muzzle. By taking small steps you can make the training experience enjoyable and stress-free for both you and your dog.

  1. Treat-Encouraged Introduction:

Initiate the training by introducing the muzzle with a positive association. Place treats near and inside the muzzle, allowing your dog to explore and associate them with positive experiences. This step builds curiosity and reduces apprehension about the muzzle.

2. Voluntary Head Insertion:

Encourage your dog to willingly put their head into the muzzle to retrieve treats. Avoid any forceful actions, letting them make the choice voluntarily. Reward each successful attempt with praise and additional treats. This step creates a positive association between the muzzle and positive reinforcement.

3. Incremental Buckle Fastening:

Once your dog is comfortable putting their head in the muzzle, begin incrementally fastening the buckle. Start with very short durations, securing the buckle for just a few seconds. Gradually increase the time while providing treats and praise during the process. This step helps them acclimate to the feeling of the secured muzzle.

4. Positive Distraction Techniques:

During the muzzle training process continue to incorporate positive distraction techniques. Place treats inside the muzzle or engage in play while the muzzle is on to create positive associations. This not only distracts your dog but reinforces the idea that wearing the muzzle is associated with enjoyable activities.

5. Consistent Short Sessions:

Maintain consistency with short and positive training sessions. Regularity is essential for reinforcing positive behaviour. Celebrate small victories and if your dog shows any signs of discomfort, slow down the training process and go back to a step where they were more comfortable.


Muzzle training for dogs can be a positive and enjoyable experience with the right approach. By incorporating treat encouragement, voluntary head insertion, incremental buckle fastening, positive distraction techniques, and consistent short sessions, you can ensure your furry associates the muzzle with positive experiences and rewards.

For more help and advice on how to properly choose and fit a muzzle please do not hesitate to contact Calm Canines Wiltshire and I will be happy to help!

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