Public transport authorities in some parts of Europe require dog owners to use a muzzle and a very short, non-extending lead when travelling with their animals, regardless of the size of the dog or the breed. In many ways this makes sense to us.  No dog can be guaranteed never to react badly to another dog or a human, no matter how gentle their character and how well trained they are.  We’ve discussed this many times, and concluded that no matter how irresponsible an approach to our Sunny might be, a lunging, barky response or worse a bite is always to be avoided.  We know it’s our responsibility to save other people and their children from themselves, even when they ignore repeated requests not to touch him.  And in circumstances where a muzzle is required, then we’ll have to go along with that, or find other ways to travel. 

The law in the UK

Here in the UK we just don’t use muzzles on dogs as a matter of routine, and they are not required by law.  It’s true that muzzles can look uncomfortable for the dog, and may create an impression that the dog must be aggressive simply because it is wearing one. It’s something of a circular argument.  Our suspicion is that in countries where muzzles are required by law, and as a result many more dogs wear them, that argument no longer applies to the same degree. 

In the UK, the law on controlling your dog is clear, and applies to all types of dog []  , with penalties available for a failure to comply.  A dog is considered to be dangerously out of control if it injures someone, or simply makes someone worried that it might injure them.  The same may be considered to be the case if your dog attacks someone else’s animal.  The bar to having what could be considered an out of control dog is therefore set lower than we might all think, and is not entirely within the control of the owner. 

A custom solution to the dog muzzle issue

We’re obviously keen on custom-made dog equipment here at Barkmatic, and we found a company in Austria that makes basket muzzles to your design and to fit your dog.  They’re made from BioThane® (nylon ribbons coated with PVC), and are really soft. We’ve decided to  order one for Sunny, custom fit for his long dachshund nose, and keep it for situations where he is required to wear one. These muzzles are not cheap, but if the one we order for Sunny fits him well and we can get him used to it,  then it could be a good thing to have around.  

The benefits of a dachshund having a muzzle

There’s an argument that if a muzzle fits well, the dog can drink and pant while wearing it.  The bright coloured BioThane strips (you get to choose your colour or colours), help to make the muzzle - and the dog wearing it - look more appealing.  The owner can be more relaxed in public situations.  As dachshund owners in a city, we think another advantage would be helping to stop Sunny from picking up discarded chicken bones, chocolate bars, and food wrappers when our back is turned.

Training - never easy with dachshunds

Dogs have to be trained to wear a muzzle, you can’t simply strap it on and hope for the best, no matter how comfortable and well-fitting it is.  Training any dog with a muzzle seems to be a multi-step process.  As all dachshund owners know, training is not always easy.  Compliance is not in the dachshund vocabulary.  But with patience and many treats, it should be possible.  We’ll report back when our muzzle mission is accomplished (or not!).

Have you tried getting your dachshund to wear a muzzle?