The muzzle for everyday use.
About four months ago I adopted a German Shepherd. While at the shelter I asked all the right questions and knew what I looking for in a dog. Because I am active (hiking, running, swimming) and enjoy entertaining I wanted a dog that was good with people, good with other dogs and good with other animals. The shelter explained that this GSD was an amazing dog that got along with everyone and everything. I even saw her ‘acting’ perfect on the two times I visited her before taking her home, turns out that she’s a problem child… but now she’s my problem child.
I think rescue dogs are hard enough to work with when they misbehave because you are unsure of the dogs past and what structure (if any) the dog had in its life. Make it a large breed dog that most of the public is either: A) afraid of; or B) drawn to (or worse, both!) and now you end up with a 70-pound purebred lawsuit.
Well, I like to think of myself as a levelheaded and responsible dog owner, so I went out to buy a muzzle for my pup. Turns out that a TON of muzzles exsist out on the market. So I had to do some research.
There are muzzles manufactured from fabric, leather, wire, and plastics. Then there are also head restraints, muzzle keepers… and the list goes on. To keep this post short I’ll jump right into the muzzle I chose. Figuring out that I wanted something that allowed my dog to pant, drink, take food and basically do everything that she could do without a muzzle (besides bite/nip), I ended up with a type of wire muzzle, called the Baskerville™ muzzle.
This muzzle is fantastic. The muzzle basket is constructed out of a hard rubber like material, much like the Kong toys. The nylon strapping is padded around the jaw areas for comfort. My dog wears her muzzle at least once a day and is comfortable jogging, drinking and eating with it on. In fact, I trained her to like the muzzle by feeding her through it.
Company of Animals manufactures the Baskerville muzzle and offers 6 different sizes for their muzzle and give general dog breed suggestions per size. For my German Shepherd, I found that a size 5 worked very well. It seems a little large in circumference at first, but when she’s panting it justified why it looks so large.
The only downsides I have found is that the top strap is too difficult to keep tight between the eyes, so I opted to take it off since it is removable. I also find the buckle system to be a bit cumbersome if the dog squirms at all while trying to put it on. It is nice that, due to the head strap's hole design, it can be sized to any tightness, but I think this could have been better achieved via a plastic snap buckle that could be cinched down.
I have read a few complaints about large breed dogs being able to breakthrough the rubber muzzle part and I can’t say from experience but I think those fears are unjust. If the muzzle is properly fitted then how could the do bite through, or break the cage part?
I should note that I put the muzzle on her once a day more for her to get comfortable with it on and I always take her for a walk or car ride (her favorite) with it on so she associates the muzzle with a positive thing. Also never leave your dog unattended with a muzzle on, it's not fair to the dog and is dangerous if they get it caught on something.