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Muzzle Training

Knowing how to muzzle train your dog correctly is essential when keeping it fun and upbeat. If you want to move forward in training, you must go your dog's pace and do what suits them. Every dog is different, so this generalised info should be moulded to fit your dog. Comparing your dog and progress to others is only helpful in finding issues you can fix. Otherwise, you are just putting too much pressure on yourself and your dog.

Before muzzle training make sure you have had its fit checked (or checked yourself) as trying to train or continue training in an ill fit muzzle could cause negative associations.


Securing a muzzle is highly recommended by MTT. Most muzzles come with one strap which isn’t enough for pretty much all dogs and the muzzle will easily slip over the ears. Securing is also useful in making sure you don't lose your muzzle, we have many members who have off leash or swimming muzzled dogs and losing your muzzle is not fun. You can click through the tabs above to read over the information. The X will bring you back to this first page.

Scroll down further for steps to follow and some FAQ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Muzzle training head shy/nervous dogs?

Please take your time! You don’t have to worry about your dog wearing the muzzle. You can start by rewarding yourself for just being around the muzzle—a reward for sniffing/interacting etc. You can use it with fetch and rewards or target training. Once your dog is confident in play with it you can start feeding in the muzzle and rewarding. Then slowly work your way up. Just go your dogs pace, keep it fun. Rushing won’t help this situation.

Dog doesn't like the straps?

Just like the gradual muzzle training you’ve done, the same thing should be done with the strap. Work on slowly moving it up and rewarding, then repeating until you can have it rest over the neck and then do it up. To do this step, your dog needs to be able to hold its head in the muzzle for longer durations. If they can’t do that, you should go back and work on it until they can.

Training for ages but my dog still hates it?

The first thing to check when muzzle training is that your muzzle fits correctly. If it’s too small or narrow, it can cause the dog to be uncomfortable. That would be unfair on the dog being asked to tolerate something uncomfortable and is likely a significant factor in why training is going forward.


If you do have a well-fit muzzle and you’re still having problems, what are you getting stuck on? Have you tried going back a few steps? Are you asking too much of your dog? Are you rushing it? Is your dog confused?


Usually, going back a few steps can help with a dog being stuck on something. Gradually adding duration between rewards/movement etc., instead of expecting them to move 2ft straight away, as well as making sure you’ve worked on training long enough.


Working out what the issue is and changing what you're doing is the best way to do this; if you can't pinpoint the problem, change what you're doing and go back to the start.

When to go to the next step?

Once your dog has a good understanding of the step before, your dog could get the first step in 2 minutes but take two days for the next. Go at their pace; make it fun and rewarding. The next step is only when they understand and complete what you’re asking. If you go up a step and they seem confused. Go back a step and work a little more gradually towards the next step.

Do I need to retrain with the new muzzle?

We recommend you go back a few steps when getting a new muzzle. Most dogs will pick it up straight away, but it never hurts to touch upon training. We recommend working on muzzle training each week, even when your dog is completely muzzle trained.

Muzzle training upkeep?

Even dogs that are fully muzzle trained will benefit from revisiting muzzle training. Like all training should be worked on regularly, muzzle training is no exception.

Spending at least once a month (more is better) going back over the steps and creating fun games with rewards will help keep your dog happy to see the muzzle.

We asked members to write about muzzle training upkeep.


Their answers:

“I try to do it every day. My dog gets hand-fed her three meals every day. Muzzle training is often the quickest to do, so I usually do that in the morning before leaving.”- CHARLIE HALL


“At least once a week, my dog gets a walk-in her muzzle, so it stays something good and not just the vet thing. Often more than once a week. I also give her a treat every time she puts it on, just to keep it up.”- CINDY MELLO


“I try to walk my fully muzzle trained pup once a week with the muzzle on to keep it up. She took forever to take to the muzzle so I don’t want to backtrack.”- ALLIE GARTLAND-GREY

Can I muzzle train fast?

This very likely is not possible and is asking way too much of your dog. Either pre-plan to get the muzzle well before you need it, and if you can’t, or it was a last-minute decision...Don’t expect your dog to love it in that amount of time. Taking a dog to a place where they could become nervous in a muzzle when not muzzle trained can cause negative associations with it. This can be undone and fixed later, but it’s not recommended unless necessary.

My dog pulls away when I try put the muzzle on?

We should be teaching our dogs to put their faces into the muzzle. Make sure you’re keeping the muzzle still and asking the dog to place their nose in and hold.


If they try to pull away, likely, you’re too far ahead; go back a few steps with muzzle training and work your way back up gradually. It’s not a race.

Dog dislikes food rewards?

Some dogs can’t or won’t have treats as rewards. This may because of dietary issues, not food motivated etc.

You can reward with something they are motivated with. 


Technically this can be with anything they enjoy, from fetch to tug. Free shaping and rewarding when near it, then touching it, then face in it and building duration. Training may take longer this way depending on the dog because of less repetitions before they’re tired.


The only difference is you can’t reward through the muzzles with a toy which is what makes gaining duration easier. You can target train and ask for duration and then transfer to that object at the front of the muzzle and ask the same thing. There is multiple ways to do this. You do what works for you and your dogs.

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