Each Muzzle Monday post provides an opportunity to celebrate owners and their pets who use muzzles, share their "why we muzzle" stories as well as work to breakdown the stigma that "a muzzled dog is a bad dog".
This week, we are honored to share Malcom's Muzzle Monday Story!
Malcom is an absolutely incredible Pitbull Mix who lives in Massachusetts where he is surrounded by his amazing support system.
Malcom's story is one that highlights the role that genetics and past history play in reactivity as well as the fact that Muzzled and reactive dogs can have friends too!
Do you love this story? Please share your love for Malcom by sharing this post on Instagram and tagging @suns_out_paws_out_yyc and @Malcoms_adventures to help breakdown the stigma of dog's who wear muzzles
Why did you choose to Muzzle Train Malcom?
I chose to muzzle him because as he got older, he became fear aggressive and reactive towards unknown dogs, he is reactive to unknown people too. Malcom also has some resource guarding tendencies which also developed as he got older.
When I rescued him as a young dog, his past was unknown and he lacked confidence in new situations but didn’t show aggression of any kind until he turned 2 years.
He loved to be around his dog friends but would have outbursts that were inappropriate in certain situations that lead to being unsafe. With a lot of training he can now be a happy, muzzled dog without feeling the need to have one of his outbursts. Muzzling him has definitely improved his confidence as it creates space in situations he would otherwise feel the need to lash out.
How was the Muzzle Conditioning process for you and Malcom?
I worked a lot of conditioning him to be comfortable in his muzzle, which was a quick process for him. Using high value treats like beef liver, duck jerky (his favorite) and lots of praise within just a few weeks, he didn’t even realize he was wearing it. I use a “muzzle” que when I need him to wear it and when I hold it in front of his face, he happily puts his nose right in it!
How has the Muzzle Training helped you with Malcom's reactivity training?
Malcom’s favorite thing to do is hike and adventure with me and his close dog pals. muzzling him in these situations makes me as a handler feel more secure, which in turn makes him feel more secure.
I used to worry about every turn we took, seeing a new dog or person but having confidence as his person, transfers to him too! We work constantly on his confidence and reactivity and having this tool makes the world of a difference.
What kind of Muzzle does Malcom use?
I started his muzzle training in a Baskerville ultra and recently upgraded him to a polymer coated wire basket muzzle. The transition for him was seamless because he was already so comfortable in his Baskerville. Having a bite proof wire basket muzzle that allows me to still give him treats has allowed us to progress in training which we constantly work on.
What advice would you give to other owners who are hesitant to start muzzle training for fear of being judged?
It is nothing to be ashamed about! Muzzled dogs are good dogs too and can live their lives to the fullest with help from their people.
If you have ever worried about what people might think or say, just remember you are doing what is best for your dog and fulfilling your dog, is all that matters!
Because of the work that Malcom's owner has put in while using the muzzle as a management tool, Malcom is able to live his life to the fullest and experience the world around him safely.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us as well as the Muzzle Supporting community!
Without you sharing your story, we wouldn't be able to do any of this!