Muzzle?

HappyJoe

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What are your thoughts on or experience with muzzles? Joe,my reactive shelter adoption is doing really well and settling down nicely. Walks by MOST people and dogs and ignores them.
The catch is MOST. Every once in awhile he will bark and sometimes lunge toward someone who is saying "Good Morning." 95% of the time he ignores them and goes about his business. And I want to give him credit for his VAST improvement in a short period of time.
He has never bitten anyone (except the trainer when he had him cornered and pushed). He is very playful, has been okay when family has visited (adults) But we just can't quite trust him because we don't know why he is barking or jumping towards some people or dogs. I have been thinking about training him for a basket muzzle so we can expose him to more public places and further his training (Malls, Home Depot etc). My concern is peoples reaction to a large muzzled doberman in public. Their reaction might influence his reaction. Thoughts?
 

JanS

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He has never bitten anyone (except the trainer when he had him cornered and pushed)
IMO your trainer should have never done that since a good trainer will know it's not a good idea.
I say to take it at your own pace and keep your distance to get him used to people and distractions, but not close enough to need the muzzle.
 

Two Dobes

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Agreed, but might not be a bad idea to train him to a muzzle...slowly, and just around the house. So if you ever need it; he is comfortable and it is not a surprise....just something you slip on and he has a positive experience with.
 

HappyJoe

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There are some good videos on basket muzzle training. It takes about a week and some peanut butter LOL. Forgot to mention my husband has some very young grand kids that (3yr and newborn) that Joe has not met and I think it would be good to acclimate him to a muzzle for that reason alone, so I will probably try it.
The only time he has been around kids that we know of, is when we were hiking and a couple with a youngster and a baby in backpack surprised me and approached him saying they had recently lost their Dobie. Joe sniffed the kids shoes and fingers and then was just like "Okay lets keep hiking!" Phew.
 

Ravenbird

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What do YOU do when he is overly reactive in public? If he jumps or barks at someone who is innocently walking by he needs to be corrected and told No. If they don't get a correction from you they have no idea that you disapprove. And yes, keep exposing him to John Q Public, keep the treats coming when he's good and let him know when you don't approve of his reactions. It's a great idea to muzzle train him at home with no stimulation to associate the muzzle with, then he won't think it's a big deal if/when you put it on when the grand kids show up.
 

HappyJoe

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What do YOU do when he is overly reactive in public? If he jumps or barks at someone who is innocently walking by he needs to be corrected and told No. If they don't get a correction from you they have no idea that you disapprove. And yes, keep exposing him to John Q Public, keep the treats coming when he's good and let him know when you don't approve of his reactions. It's a great idea to muzzle train him at home with no stimulation to associate the muzzle with, then he won't think it's a big deal if/when you put it on when the grand kids show up.
We walk him with a prong collar and the one time he did that with me, he was in a heel, not breathing heavily, chuffing or growling. he wasn't that close, and the old lady had nearly walked PAST us when he spun around with a "woo-woo" was on his hind legs and air snapped.. I was shocked! I pulled back him so hard he yelped and ended up in a sit position facing me. he got a couple of firm NO! and back to heel all the way home. He has never done that since with me.
BUT my husband, who is not as firm in his corrections (he is learning) and told me that during Joe's walk this morning, he said good morning and the lady said good morning then the lady started to approach them. Joe barked and hopped at her to tell her to back off and he says he yanked the leash and said NO!
Joe has been through his first CGC class and would have passed, except he decided to react to a particular dog. No prong collars allowed there of course.
 

Oh Little Oji

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I used to muzzle my first Dobe sometimes. I really only did this when I took him to the dog park and I found that there were kids there. :nono:

Yes, it engenders a certain type of attitude and reaction in people.

A muzzle might make your Dobe act out more, as it makes them feel vulnerable.

Do what you gotta' do, though, to protect yourself from lawsuits and having your dog taken from you.

That first Dobe of mine was not well socialized by me, and it was very stressful to have him in public near strangers, as his default mode was to nip people unless I preemptively took control of close quarter situations.

That said, I personally trained him very extensively and competed in obedience and some performance/trick competitions. He would not get aggressive with people in these situations.Takeaway: Training, structure and consistent leadership can overcome a lot.
 

Ravenbird

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We walk him with a prong collar and the one time he did that with me, he was in a heel, not breathing heavily, chuffing or growling. he wasn't that close, and the old lady had nearly walked PAST us when he spun around with a "woo-woo" was on his hind legs and air snapped.. I was shocked! I pulled back him so hard he yelped and ended up in a sit position facing me. he got a couple of firm NO! and back to heel all the way home. He has never done that since with me.
BUT my husband, who is not as firm in his corrections (he is learning) and told me that during Joe's walk this morning, he said good morning and the lady said good morning then the lady started to approach them. Joe barked and hopped at her to tell her to back off and he says he yanked the leash and said NO!
Joe has been through his first CGC class and would have passed, except he decided to react to a particular dog. No prong collars allowed there of course.
Perfect! Just wanted to see if you are doing your part. You are. The same thing happened to me in CGCA, but mine exploded at a person walking by who wasn't part of our group. Lucky for us it was about 5 minutes after we had finished the test and passed. I sheepishly asked if I still passed, and the instructor/exam judge said yes, since it didn't happen during her judging. So I know where you're coming from, and I'm still to this day working on it, but we've whittled it down to about 90% of what it use to be, and can be brought back to silence quickly. Keep up the good work.
 

Oh Little Oji

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Perfect! Just wanted to see if you are doing your part. You are. The same thing happened to me in CGCA, but mine exploded at a person walking by who wasn't part of our group. Lucky for us it was about 5 minutes after we had finished the test and passed. I sheepishly asked if I still passed, and the instructor/exam judge said yes, since it didn't happen during her judging. So I know where you're coming from, and I'm still to this day working on it, but we've whittled it down to about 90% of what it use to be, and can be brought back to silence quickly. Keep up the good work.
That reminds me of my tale of when my boy nipped someone at a gas station just after receiving a nice high score at the nearby obedience trial. The bite victim? The judge.
 

HappyJoe

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Joe reminds me of a basically good kid that grew up on the bad side of town and ended up in a gang, so has learned to react with those examples. He was independent, confident, reactive, and somewhat aloof when we first got him. Joe has slowly warmed up over the last few months. He makes eye contact and asks for attention.
Even the kennel master at Hunter Canine said if it had been someone else that had adopted him, he would have been returned and possibly PTS. Not because we are special, he was lucky because we had TIME and I have had a little experience with dominate dogs. And the "WE" is a good thing also. It has taken two. The board and training owner- Chad Hunter- evaluated Joe and said he was "biddable" but, a lot of dog.
I just want him to keep evolving so he can enjoy his best life. Guess I shouldn't care what other people think of his muzzle if it helps expand his experience and opportunities.
 

Rits

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he was in a heel, not breathing heavily, chuffing or growling. he wasn't that close,
Absolutely watch for staring too... they can be really good at making no noises but the staring! I allow 5 seconds, anything longer I correct. Always reward attention on you. So staring then split second look at you, yes!!! Play tug, give food reward and maybe move side ways off the sidewalk upbeat and luring him into chasing you to follow. Get his mind working and feet moving so he doesn't have time to build up an explosion.
 

Ravenbird

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Absolutely watch for staring too... they can be really good at making no noises but the staring! I allow 5 seconds, anything longer I correct. Always reward attention on you. So staring then split second look at you, yes!!! Play tug, give food reward and maybe move side ways off the sidewalk upbeat and luring him into chasing you to follow. Get his mind working and feet moving so he doesn't have time to build up an explosion.
Exactly! 95% of my dog explosions were when I took my eyes off of her. I'm learning to glance at her every few seconds when I'm in a public place. Stopping the staring is crucial to preventing those sudden explosive barking episodes.
 

LifeofRubie

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You've gotten some great advice but I did want to point out, muzzle training can still be very valuable so even if it isn't the right method to solve this problem, it might be worth doing. It can prevent injuries during meeting other dogs, prevent them from eating things they shouldn't if you're in an unfamiliar place, can be used if they're being handled by a vet/groomer and you're not sure how they're going to react, protection if you have a lot of off-leash dogs in your area, etc. The muzzle is 100% protection FOR your dog, even if they can look intimidating while wearing one.

We have a Basketville Ultra in size 4 (my gal is petit; I ordered both a 4 and 5 and kept the 4). We don't use it very often but it's been great the few times we have. Training is actually pretty simple and we just try to do a refresher now and again. This one doesn't have any padding so probably not great for wearing for an extended period of time, FYI. Keep up the good work!
 

HappyJoe

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You've gotten some great advice but I did want to point out, muzzle training can still be very valuable so even if it isn't the right method to solve this problem, it might be worth doing. It can prevent injuries during meeting other dogs, prevent them from eating things they shouldn't if you're in an unfamiliar place, can be used if they're being handled by a vet/groomer and you're not sure how they're going to react, protection if you have a lot of off-leash dogs in your area, etc. The muzzle is 100% protection FOR your dog, even if they can look intimidating while wearing one.

We have a Basketville Ultra in size 4 (my gal is petit; I ordered both a 4 and 5 and kept the 4). We don't use it very often but it's been great the few times we have. Training is actually pretty simple and we just try to do a refresher now and again. This one doesn't have any padding so probably not great for wearing for an extended period of time, FYI. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the link. I plan on trying a muzzle using the slow introduction method. I suspect he will tolerate it. He lets me put hiking booties on him to protect his feet from the cactus and the heat, so I am hopeful.
 

Oh Little Oji

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We have a Basketville Ultra in size 4 (my gal is petit; I ordered both a 4 and 5 and kept the 4). We don't use it very often but it's been great the few times we have. Training is actually pretty simple and we just try to do a refresher now and again. This one doesn't have any padding so probably not great for wearing for an extended period of time, FYI. Keep up the good work!
Do you find that she can still nip with that muzzle on? Ours has a double wall in front to prevent that. Not that our is anything special or expensive. I bought it for my first Dobe. The basket is made of metal. It's held up for many years, but Oji recently almost took it out. He got it off in his crate and chewed it. It now features a zip tie. (Disclaimer for the OP and anyone else interested: I know leaving a dog crated with a muzzle on is not ideal).
 

LifeofRubie

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Do you find that she can still nip with that muzzle on? Ours has a double wall in front to prevent that. Not that our is anything special or expensive. I bought it for my first Dobe. The basket is made of metal. It's held up for many years, but Oji recently almost took it out. He got it off in his crate and chewed it. It now features a zip tie. (Disclaimer for the OP and anyone else interested: I know leaving a dog crated with a muzzle on is not ideal).

I don't believe she can nip with the muzzle on but can still drink and be fed treats (treats are somewhat clumsy but very doable).
 

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