Dog muzzles explained
The Scottish Government is currently considering whether to muzzle all of the country’s 640,000 dogs. The debate has occurred as a result of attacks by certain animals on members of the general public throughout the UK.
There are no plans to introduce compulsory dog muzzling in England and Wales as of yet but what should you know about dog muzzling?
Why do dogs need to be muzzled
Every time a dog mauls a human being there are loud cries from the general public to introduce restraints when the animal is in a public place. Dog muzzles are effective at controlling the animals, but there are currently no government plans to introduce legislation to enforce the wearing of muzzles.
Since 2010, 18,364 people have been attacked by a variety of breeds of dog and it is estimated that dogs bite 200,000 people a year. Some breeds are more aggressive than others, but some dogs bite as a result of insufficient training or even fear.
The benefits of dog muzzles
If your dog is unpredictable, or you aren’t strong enough to control the animal, then you should consider using a muzzle. Some dogs can be trained to be aggressive; and owners might feel more comfortable if these animals are muzzled in public places.
Also dog muzzles do not only protect humans from being bitten but they also protect dogs from situations where they may bite somebody. Dogs can attack people for a variety of reasons; including being afraid, keeping a close eye on your dog in public and having a muzzle can prevent your dog from attacking people. This keeps the public and your dog safe.
Reasons against dog muzzles
If you’re out near a source of fresh water and your pet is thirsty, muzzles can prevent your animal drinking. Also, dogs socialise by licking and sniffing, a muzzle would hinder this type of play and socialisation. Those who are against muzzling suggest that if an animal is well trained and obeys its owner’s commands it will never attack or kill a human being or another animal.
Other commentators highlight the fact that some dogs are specifically bred to be aggressive and that it’s not the animals that are to blame for their dangerous behaviour but their owners.
The restriction of your pet’s natural behaviour might also cause problems for you and your family in the future so it’s important you consider all angles of the debate. If you want extra control over your dog when walking but want to avoid a muzzle then halti-collars or harnesses are a great idea. A halti-collar or lead fits over the dog’s nose and mouth to give you greater control over their head but doesn’t interfere with their ability to drink, pant, sniff or lick.
How to overcome dangerous dogs
The RSPCA states that owners have to take greater responsibility for their pets. The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act has made an owner responsible for their dog’s actions on both private and public property and this means that if your pet bites the postman on your driveway, you are responsible for its actions.