Can you help me? I purchased a muzzle – as you recommended in your DVDs for those with particularly challenging dogs, but the medium size was too small. It was right at the tip of his nose and it just looked too tight. I then tried the next size up, but that was too big – it hit up under his eyes. I also tried a different brand of muzzle in medium. The basket part seemed fine, but the strap wouldn’t reach around to close. I’m frustrated that I can’t find a muzzle that will fit my dog properly. I’d really appreciate any suggestions.
I can appreciate your frustration! Sometimes I just can’t find the perfect fit when I’m searching for a muzzle and I’m forced to make some creative modifications to the one that’s at least close to what I need for the particular dog I’m working with.
A self-customized muzzle is the best way to go rather than trying to make do with one that’s just not right. In fact, if you try to work with an ill-fitting muzzle, you can encounter serious problems – from irritation to the dog’s snout to putting yourself (and others) at risk of being bitten.
Be sure to review my discussion on muzzles under the “Equipment” section on DVD #1. In this section, I highlight the key things to watch out for when selecting and using a muzzle. Always ensure the muzzle is not too loose (thereby providing enough room for the dog to bite if it should so wish), or too tight (restricting the dog’s ability to pant and lap water). A proper fitting muzzle should always allow the dog to stick its tongue out to pant and drink water as needed.
There are two ways I’ve taught myself to customize a muzzle:
- I choose a muzzle with straps that at least connect properly around the dog’s neck. To fix the slightly-too-large snout restraint, I purchase some Velcro strapping from a Dollar Store. I then stitch a couple of pieces around the snout part so that once you put the muzzle on the dog, you can cinch it up slightly tighter by closing the Velcro together.
- Start with a slightly larger fitting muzzle and pinch it together with your fingers to approximately the way it should fit if it were correctly fitted. Then use a needle and thread to stitch it together at the mark you determined would be the better fit. You could always enlist the help of a shoe repair store if you’re not confident enough to do it on your own. (This goes for option #1, too.)
So, you now have a couple of choices that will most definitely solve your problem. Keep up the dedication to the training! You’ll be amazed at how quickly the muzzle reforms your dog’s thinking.
– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”
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