If you have an aggressive dog, it can be a struggle to decide what to do. You love your dog and want him to be happy, but you don’t want him to bite other people or start a fight with other dogs.
Hi, my name’s Irena and I have an aggressive dog, Sherlock. It was a shock to discover that he wanted to bite us if he didn’t get his own way. I had never had a dog like this before, but more on him later.
Here we are going to help you find the reasons why your dog is aggressive and tell you about muzzles as that is one route you can take to stop your dog from biting and barking excessively.
Reasons Why Your Dog is Aggressive
One step towards curing your dog of aggressive behavior is to find out what the cause of his aggression is. Knowing why he is acting in this way can help you figure out what to do.
One possibility is that he is sick. If your dog has never growled before, but then starts, you will need to see your vet to ascertain if there is anything wrong with him.
Another reason why your dog is aggressive could be because he is afraid of something or someone. A fearful dog may bite when he feels that he has been backed into a corner and must defend himself.
Perhaps your dog has possession aggression. This is when he gets possessive over something. Perhaps he doesn’t like you to be near him when he eats and so he growls. Maybe he doesn’t like you sitting with him while he is playing with a toy or chewing a treat.
Sherlock certainly had possession aggression. He thought that everything we gave him was his and that we were going to take it back. If we gave him a chew or a toy, he would growl if we came near him.
Dogs are sometimes aggressive because they want to establish dominance and be in control. They are usually like this with other dogs, but sometimes they want to dominate their owners.
Sherlock used to growl when we tried to make him do something he didn’t want to do, like moving him off the furniture. He bit me once when I was trying to get him inside and boy did it hurt.
Frustration can also cause your dog to bite. This happens a lot with dogs who are tied up outside. They spend all day trying to get off the chain and when the owner comes they are so frustrated that they bite and growl.
Other Methods to Consider Before Getting Your Aggressive Dog a Muzzle
The first thing you need to do with an aggressive dog is to go and see your vet. They will be able to ascertain if your dog is ill. Lots of illnesses, such as a brain tumor or thyroid problems can make your dog aggressive.
If your dog doesn’t have any medical problems, your vet may suggest that you go and see a dog behaviorist.
Alternatively, your vet may suggest medication. I decided to go down that road with Sherlock and it has been a success so far. He hasn’t lost his hyperactive personality; he just doesn’t bite any more.
Applying Positive Methods to Stop Your Dog from Barking
There are things you can do with your dog before investing in a muzzle.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is punish your dog. This just doesn’t work. The aggression is at the end of a sequence of things leading up to it, not the beginning.
If you can, try and get as far away as possible from whatever causes the aggression. Of course, this may not be possible if you are the one he is directing his anger at.
Try to teach him some commands that he will obey when put in the situation which makes him angry.
If you have trouble with this, take him to training classes, as long as his aggressiveness isn’t directed towards other dogs.
What would be even better would be to have a private session with an animal behaviorist. Your dog will then have all the attention focused on him.
If you don’t have access to training in your area, or don’t have the time to visit, check out Doggy Dan’s Online Training Program.
He offers a huge amount of valuable training techniques, that you and your pooch can implement at home. You can check out our Doggy Dan Review Here!
Aggression can also be caused by stress. Perhaps you have to leave your dog for long periods of time and he is bored. Dogs need stimulation as well as a good diet, exercise, and social experiences.
If you have to be out of the house for a long time, make sure that he has plenty of toys and when you are there; ensure that you spend quality time with him. Long walks can be a great bonding experience as can simple things like playing fetch.
If nothing works, you will have to consider getting a muzzle. There’s nothing wrong about this at all and it may even train your dog to be less aggressive.
The Different Types of Muzzle to Consider
There is a whole array of muzzles out there to choose from. Most people are familiar with the cloth ones that are often used at the vet’s office, but these aren’t the strongest ones to go for. You really have to ascertain the degree of your dog’s aggressive behavior.
One of the best muzzle types to choose is the wire basket muzzle. This is because the air flow is very good and allows your dog to pant. He can also drink which is a big plus. I would say that if your dog has to spend a lot of time with a muzzle on, this is the type to go for.
These muzzles are very secure and will cause your dog less problems than an enclosed muzzle which will restrict him.
You can get these muzzles in lots of different styles and sizes so you should be able to find one that will suit your dog.
An inexpensive, but excellent option is the plastic basket muzzle which is similar to the wire basket muzzle in shape and design. Your dog will also be able to pant, drink and get a treat from you.
If you only need to use a muzzle for short times, this is the one to go for. It’s great for a walk or a visit to the groomer or vet.
We have already mentioned fabric muzzles which are used in many vets’ offices. These should be fine for less aggressive dogs as they are not as strong as the two types we have already mentioned.
They also restrict panting so it is best that your dog only wears one when he’s supervised.
Another problem is that your dog could overheat while wearing one of these in hot weather which would make him very ill, or could even lead to something more fatal…
An alternative to a fabric muzzle is a mesh muzzle. It is easier for your dog to breathe with one of these rather than a fabric one.
A middle road between wearing a muzzle and not wearing one is the head halter. It has straps around the nose and behind the ears. The only problem with this is that a very aggressive dog would probably be able to get out of it. Use only if your dog is not overly aggressive.
The final type of muzzle is the leather basket muzzle. This is a piece of leather with holes punched through it. The air flow isn’t as good as with the wire and plastic basket muzzles.
There are two types of leather muzzle, one of which is stronger than the other. Unfortunately, the dog can still pinch you through the thin leather and it will hurt, I assure you.
Sizing the Muzzle
It is very important that you get the right size of muzzle for your dog. If it’s too small, it can restrict your dog’s breathing. If it’s too big, it might come off.
The way to choose the right size of muzzle isn’t too difficult. You need to measure the length of your dog’s nose from the tip to ½ inch below the eyes. Then measure the circumference of your dog’s head with his mouth closed from ½ inch below his eyes.
The muzzle must be no longer than your dog’s nose otherwise he won’t be able to see properly. In addition, the muzzle should be between 1 and 3 inches larger than the circumference of his head. If it’s smaller, he won’t be able to breathe properly, let alone pant.
For How Long Should a Muzzle be Worn?
Muzzles shouldn’t be on permanently.
They are designed to be worn at times when your dog is likely to be aggressive, but they can make your dog feel uncomfortable if they are on for too long.
In addition, your dog can’t eat if he has a muzzle on.
The type of muzzle your dog is wearing also dictates the length of time he can wear it for.
Wire and plastic basket muzzles allow your dog to breathe properly, pant, drink, and even accept the odd treat from you.
Fabric muzzles don’t allow this, so they should just be used for short excursions like a visit to the vet or to the groomers.
It is important to be fully aware of how your dog is feeling and if he is having any adverse reactions to his muzzle. He could overheat or become agitated. Then this is the time to get the muzzle off.
What is important is that you remain calm while your dog is wearing the muzzle. He gets vibes from you and if you are feeling nervous, he will pick up on it. This could make him agitated and he could become aggressive.
If you emit a calm and collected aura, your dog will probably become calmer himself and will not be afraid that you might lead him into situations where he isn’t happy.
If your pup starts showing signs of aggression when he is young, then this is the time to introduce a muzzle. If he gets used to the muzzle at an early age, he will be happier to wear it as he grows up.
However, if you use a muzzle for the first time on a mature dog, it will take some time for him to get used to it.
The best way to introduce a dog to a muzzle is by offering him a treat in the muzzle. You will probably have to do this for a couple of weeks, but at the end of this time, he should come to associate treats with the muzzle and it should then be easier to put the muzzle on him.
In addition, try not to act as if it is a punishment for him to wear the muzzle, otherwise it will make him reluctant to wear it and this could lead to bouts of aggression.
Now that we’ve talked about aggressive behavior in dogs and discussed the types of muzzles out there, it is time to look at some products available and how they will benefit your dog.
Best Dog Muzzle for Preventing Biting
1. Soft Basket Silicone Muzzles for Dogs – Best to Prevent Biting, Chewing & Barking
My first choice is this flexible silicone basket which, although it’s soft, is made of tough and long-lasting material.
Your dog will be able to drink and pant with this muzzle on, which will lessen the effect of having to wear it. It is also a good idea to give your dog treats while he is wearing the muzzle as then he will associate it with something nice.
The basket design is excellent in that it completely covers the dog’s mouth so he can’t bark or bite, nor can he eat unsuitable foods when on a walk.
This muzzle is both safe and secure and would be very difficult for your dog to get off. It has both a safety strap and 2 extra points of secure attachment. It attaches to both your dog’s collar and there is an overhead strap connected to the rear strap.
This is an excellent choice because it is both secure and lightweight, making it easier for your dog to get used to it.
2. Pettycart Soft Basket Muzzle Dogs to Prevent Biting, Chewing, and Barking
This muzzle is similar to the first, but it is made from eco-friendly, non-toxic, and flexible plastic rubber.
Your dog will find it very comfortable, especially as he will be able to eat, drink, and pant with it on even though it covers his mouth.
In addition the muzzle can be widened or made narrower to suit the size of your dog’s nose. This makes it an easier product to purchase if you’re not quite certain of your dog’s measurements. However, the muzzle is only suitable for long-snouted dogs, not breeds such as pugs.
Like the first muzzle discussed, this muzzle comes with safety strapping. One attaches to your dog’s normal collar and the other is an over-the-head strap.
This muzzle can be bought in smaller sizes to this one.
3. JYHY Short Snout Dog Muzzles for Biting Chewing Barking Training Dog Mask
This is a little different to the first two muzzles as it is made of mesh and durable nylon.
It fits snuggly over your pup’s face and is especially suited to short- snouted dogs such as pugs.
There are two holes for the eyes and one for the nose so your pup will be able to pant normally and see properly.
Around the eye and nose holes are edges which stop the mesh rubbing on your dog’s face and causing irritation.
There is a head strap which secures the muzzle in place. It is adjustable which makes life easier.
It comes in a variety of sizes from small to extra-large so most short snouted dogs can be accommodated.
4. BronzeDog German Shepherd Dog Muzzle for Large Dogs
Here we have a wire basket muzzle which, like the other baskets protects your dog’s mouth and stops him from eating off the ground when he is on a walk.
However, he will be able to pant, drink and accept the odd treat from you.
This muzzle is especially suited to bigger dogs like German Shepherds and Dobermans. It comes in three different sizes so will fit even the biggest dog.
It is very easy for your dog to breathe with this muzzle on and he shouldn’t overheat on a hot day as it gives him good ventilation.
The muzzle has four adjustable leather straps to secure it into place. This will ensure that your dog feels comfortable at all times and that it doesn’t come off.
The muzzle is suitable for all events like walking, visiting the vet or groomer, and it is especially good for training because it is such a comfortable fit. Your dog will hardly notice that it is on.
5. Jeonbiu Pet Silicone Adjustable Basket Muzzle for Dogs – Anti-Chewing and Barking
This silicone and nylon basket muzzle has the added advantage of having a padded reflective nylon belt.
So if you and your pooch enjoy evening walks you will be safer.
The materials used are heavy-duty so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart.
In addition it has safety strapping, including an overhead strap which connects to the rear strap. This makes it very difficult for it to come off.
This muzzle fully protects your dog’s mouth while still allowing him to pant and drink water. However, your dog will be protected from eating rubbish when he is on his walks, not to mention stopping him from barking and biting.
It has an adjustable buckle and also an additional collar, meaning that he doesn’t have to wear his normal collar as his leash will attach to the muzzle collar. Having the collar attached to the muzzle makes sense as it makes it all so much more secure.
6. Onson Dog Muzzle – Adjustable Comfortable Nylon Muzzles – Stops Biting
This muzzle is a head halter and comes in sizes from small to extra-large so should suit most dogs.
It is easy to put on and has an adjustable neck strap, meaning that it is easy to get it to fit your dog comfortably. The head collar enables you to stop your dog from pulling and jumping. You can attach the leash to a D-ring on the muzzle giving you more control over your dog.
This muzzle is made of soft and flexible nylon material which is comfortable for your dog. There is even extra soft padding. Your dog can’t complain that he’s not comfy.
Your dog will also be able to drink with this muzzle on as well as pant which is very important.
7. Barkless Dog Muzzle, Leather – Comfort Secure Anti-Barking Muzzles for Dogs
If you have a long-snouted dog, this could be the muzzle for you. It is made of strong and durable leather which is also soft to the skin.
It won’t rub against your dog’s face, causing irritation.
The muzzle has air holes which make it easy for your dog to pant. He can drink with the muzzle on, and even eat, although this is a little more difficult. It’s probably better to just give him treats when he has the muzzle on.
The straps are adjustable making it easy to alter the size of the muzzle. Be careful though to buy the right size for your dog. If he is at the higher end of the size scale, buy him the next size up as it can be adjusted.
A rivet holds the muzzle in place securely. Your dog has to wear his own collar to which the muzzle is attached. Make sure it is a strong one that will keep the muzzle in place safely.
8. Soft Basket Silicone Muzzle for Dogs – Best to Prevent Biting, Chewing and Barking – Allows Drinking and Panting!
This is a flexible silicone basket muzzle in an attractive shade of red.
It is very lightweight and easy to get on your dog.
Despite it being so light, it is still very strong and you would have to be very unlucky for it to fall off.
There is a loop which attaches to your dog’s collar so make sure that you have a good heavyweight collar. There is also an overhead strap which attaches to the rear strap.
The basket design gives all-round protection and doesn’t allow your dog to bite or bark. However, he can still drink, pant and accept the odd treat or two. It’s not suitable for feeding so the muzzle will have to come off when meals are offered.
9. Nylon Dog Muzzle for Small, Medium, Large Dogs – Prevent from Biting, Barking and Chewing!
I thought we’d take a look at another head halter which is very simple, but effective.
It is perfect for energetic puppies that need to be trained, as well as aggressive dogs on walks.
This muzzle comes in sizes ranging from small to XXX large. It fits dogs with a longer snout so would not be suitable for dogs with a short snout such as a pug.
It is very comfortable for your pup to wear, especially as it is made of high-quality nylon which doesn’t cause irritation.
When you have put it on your dog, place your finger under the strap to make sure that there is some room, although not too much otherwise he’ll be able to get it off. However, he needs to be able to pant and drink. You can even give him a treat or two, but you will have to take the muzzle off when it’s feeding time.
10. Dog Muzzles Suit – 7PCS – Anti Biting Barking Muzzles For Small, Medium & Large Dogs – Black
This is a real bargain. At a very reasonable price you get seven muzzles of different sizes.
It’s great for a multi-dog household where there are dogs who aren’t the same size.
Alternatively, if you have a puppy that needs a muzzle, this is an excellent idea as he will be able to grow into the larger muzzles, while being able to wear a smaller muzzle at the beginning.
You should be able to find a muzzle to suit your dog in this pack, particularly as they have adjustable straps.
It’s easy to clean this muzzle so it can be used for a long time. It’s wear-resistant and dirt proof which is what you need when taking your dog for a walk.
These muzzles are light which makes them more comfortable for your pooch. They are made from waterproof Oxford cloth and are eco-friendly.
It is best to try and cure your dog’s aggression before giving him a muzzle.
An animal behaviorist can help with this. Alternatively, you can take your dog to training classes, or make use of the online dog trainer here.
However, if your dog has been acting aggressively you may want to put a muzzle on him while he is in the presence of other dogs.
If you decide to try out a muzzle with your dog, it may take a little time for him to get used to it, but he will do and it will make you feel easier when taking him out for a walk, to the vet’s or groomer’s. You don’t want to worry all the time that your dog might bite someone.
I know I would go for a muzzle if Sherlock ever became aggressive again.
You will learn to know the situations when your dog should wear a muzzle. He might be fine with you at home, but if he sees other dogs on a walk or meets new people, his personality may change completely.
I hope that I have given you a good range of muzzles to choose from. I have tried to cover a broad range of what’s out there for different types and breeds of dogs.