To Muzzle or not to Muzzle

Posted by Lucass-Mom
Sep 29, 2008
I have posted about Lucas before, and appreciate all the help. We are still working on Alpha status (he is 5 years old, and I rescued him 3 weeks ago), and for the most part, all is going well.

He seems to do pretty well at the dog park, but, last weekend he barked (softly), and snapped at a gentleman who reached out to pet him. This seems to be Lucas's trigger. It is impossible to warn everyone at this large dog park not to reach for Lucas, as sometimes he is pretty far away from me.

His aggression, and the other dogs' aggression seems to escalate while on lead, and others have told me to just let him off. This might be bad advice, but, I just don't know.

So, I am I muzzle him, and let him socialize that way? Or does this cause more aggression out of fearful feelings?

I am so fearful of his behavior that the other day we did not even get out of the car when I saw small children at the dog park, including a small toddler! To me that is just insanity to let a toddler walk around a dog park, but, never the less, I need to know he will be nice, and non-aggressive no matter what.

To muzzle or not? What to do? How do you socialize a dog you can't trust?

Thanks for any ideas!
Posted by stephanie-Craddock
Sep 29, 2008
hi there,
I adopted a 2 yr old 40 kg male, 5 mths ago, at the start had a few occasions, where he would lunge, on his lead towards someone, barking and growling, and also other dogs (40 kg of dog is not so easy to hold)
With alpha techniques, and obedience training, as well as teaching him tricks is all helping, he hasn't lunged for anyone in months.
look at things from your dogs point of view as well, he's only been with you a few weeks, and going to a new home from a dog kennel is a big adjustment.
If I were you I would concentrate on socialising him, whilst on his lead. Take him to different places, where he will see and hear different things, and meeting people always well controlled, letting him off his lead in a dog park, does not allow you the controll you need over him. Only when he is with you can you also control others actions, ie making sure people dont touch him when agitated etc. But if you feel uncertain about how Lucas will react to people, then muzzle him, until you can trust him. I always have a muzzle attached to Max's lead, so that if there are lots of dogs around ,I put it on.
But for now I would keep him leashed, work on obedience and alpha techniques, and give Lucas time to adjust.
Good Luck
Posted by Lucass-Mom
Sep 30, 2008
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. You have given me hope! I really love this guy, and we are working diligently on making sure he knows my husband and I are Alpha, the cat is next, and Lucas is the "underdog" who is loved when he behaves. I know he needs time to adjust, and I don't even know what kind of care and training he had before he spent 2 monthes at the Shelter. So, I am doing everything I can for him...especially knowing what will happen if I have to return him to the Shelter...which would break my heart!

I think you have some great advice, and I will use it! So, again, I thank you and wish you well with your lucky-to-have-you dog!

Lucas's Mom
Posted by stephanie-Craddock
Oct 1, 2008
Our household is the same with 2 of us a kitten and the dog, also with Max we know nothing about his first year of life, and he did 7 months at the shelter, I reckon for him these last months have been confusing, strange, scarey, but also interesting and fun!
We have also started doing agility with Max, which he loves.
But with hard work, love and patience you can do it! Dont give up!