Do Muzzles Keep Dogs From Barking?

dog wearing a muzzle to stop barking

Muzzles were not designed to keep dogs from barking, so using a muzzle for this purpose is not a good idea. Although the muzzle may make it more difficult for the dog to bark, it will also cause discomfort and stress. Instead, regular exercise and training are the best ways to prevent a dog from barking.

There are many conflicting opinions about muzzles. There are some dog owners who prefer their dog not to wear a muzzle because they feel their dog is unfairly judged if they wear one. Many see a muzzle and immediately associate it with a “bad dog”. But at the same time, muzzles can help some dogs learn to find a healthy place in society.

While muzzles aren’t right for every situation, they do have their place in the dog world. They can be a useful tool while you train your dog to “unlearn” aggressive or fearful responses while in public and around other people or dogs. 

For a dog that bites when stressed, a muzzle can protect both you and him from getting into a sticky situation. 

But what if your dog’s bark is bigger than his bite? Will a muzzle help my dog stop barking?

Can I Use a Muzzle to Prevent My Dog From Barking?

If your dog is not a biter but has issues with barking, it is not advisable to use a muzzle. Muzzles were not made to stop a dog from barking and will not be an effective tool for this situation. 

A muzzle often will make a barking dog even more hyper and stressed because he is trying to say something and can’t use his mouth properly. 

If you want to train your dog to stop barking, there are other more effective ways.

Getting Your Dog to Stop Barking Without a Muzzle

Regular Training

Regular training in a controlled environment will be the best way to teach your dog to hold his tongue. Using a reward system is almost always the most effective way to train your dog.

When your dog is barking, ignore them. Dogs love your attention, when you withdraw your attention, they’ll learn that barking causes them to be ignored. When your dog quiets down, you can reward them immediately with a treat or praise. Practicing this routine with your dog will help him realize you don’t like the constant barking.

Regular Exercise

Another way to help prevent your dog from barking is regular exercise. Beginning the day with a brisk walk or a game of fetch in the backyard can help your dog stay calm throughout the day. 

You may even see him choose a nap over keeping a vigil outlook at the window. It is a great option to pair regular exercise with regular training.

Plan Ahead

It’s best to train your dog not to bark before it becomes an issue or obsession. The less the dog has practiced bad a behavior, the easier it will be to correct. 

Having your boss over for dinner is probably not the best time to start controlling obnoxious behavior. 

Instead of getting out a muzzle, a chew toy in a crate or his safe spot may help him settle down quietly.

How to Use Muzzles Responsibly

Although muzzles are not intended to stop a dog from barking, they do have their place in the dog world. 

A muzzle is a great way to offer protection to the dog as well as others. A bite in public could mean a lawsuit, heavy fines, and/or the dog may have to be put down. It is much better to be safe than sorry if you are dealing with a dog that bites!

Muzzles can be a great way to put safety first if you are going out around other people and dogs and you are not sure how your dog will respond. 

Also, if you are traveling using public transportation or flights, or own a specific breed of dog, there may be laws that require your dog to wear a muzzle for a period of time.

Some muzzles can prevent a dog from panting or drinking water. Dogs don’t sweat, so panting and access to water are very important for dogs to release heat. 

If the weather outside is hot or muggy, or if the dog is exercising, make sure your dog is not overheating.

It is important to know your dog and decide what you want the muzzle to do for him. Some muzzles come in cheaper plastic versions, but they don’t provide the same airflow as a basket muzzle.

Also, some dogs can bite through plastic or soft muzzles. It is important to always keep an eye on your dog while he is wearing a muzzle, as some dogs have been known to get their lower jaw and teeth stuck. 

These are some things to consider when getting the proper muzzle to fit your (and especially your dog’s) needs. 

Let’s compare the two most common muzzles, their uses, and the different options available.

The Basket Muzzle

The basket muzzle is made for outdoor use as it provides enough freedom for your dog to pant and drink water. 

This muzzle will let you take a stress-free walk and bond with your dog. Also, some state laws require certain dog breeds to wear a muzzle on public property, the basket muzzle is a great option for state laws. The muzzle should fit closely to your dog’s nose for comfort.

The Soft Muzzle

The soft muzzle or mesh muzzle is made to keep the dog’s mouth closed. This can be an option if your dog tends to nip or bite at the vet or the groomer. 

The soft muzzle should be used for a very short period of time in a temperature-controlled environment as a dog cannot pant, eat, or drink water in this mask.

Breed-Specific Muzzles

There are also muzzles made for specific size noses and breeds. A Doberman’s muzzle would not fit a Great Dane or a terrier. It is important to get the right size for your dog’s needs so your dog doesn’t end up slipping out of his muzzle or end up with skin irritation.

The Goal of a Muzzle is NOT to Prevent Barking

Muzzles should not be used as a form of punishment or to get your dog to stop barking. They can be a useful tool while out in public around other dogs or at the vet or groomers. 

It is important to note that a muzzle will prevent bites but will not prevent aggression. A muzzle should be used in combination with a leash as an aggressive or powerful dog can still cause damage to others even with a muzzle on. 

A muzzle will help you remain calmer if you have some doubts about your dog’s ability to control his behavior around others. 

Training your dog to “unlearn” his barking or biting behaviors will be the ultimate goal for your dog. 

For aggressive or fearful dogs that bite, it is important to find a professional who can help. When your dog learns how to control his behaviors, you can both rest easier. This will make for a calmer dog and a calmer you! 

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