Fear Free tip: Embrace muzzle training

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For dogs that may show signs of aggression, pretraining them to a muzzle can reduce their stress during a veterinary visit.

GETTYIMAGES/Stok-Yard StudioIt's better to have a dog pretrained to a muzzle, rather than pushing one on them once they're already in panic mode in the hospital setting, says Mikkel Becker, CPDT. For any dog showing signs of aggression, it's best to train them to willingly wear a muzzle and come into visits with one already on. A dog can be trained to put their nose in willingly with rewards, like smeared peanut butter or cheese inside of the muzzle. Basket muzzles allow the animal to be treated still while wearing a muzzle. It's always better to have the safety of a muzzle to protect people during an exam than putting more people on a dog for restraint, as that has elevated risk of emotional trauma to the animal and high risk for the people involved.

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