Should We Muzzle ALL Dogs In Public?

Over the past few years we’ve heard a number of alternative ‘dangerous dog’ solutions proposed. Ways and means by which we can prevent dog attacks from occurring. Ideas and suggestions which can help us rid ourselves of the menace of dog attacks.

One of the most common ideas put forward seems, on the face of it, to be entirely sensible: to muzzle all dogs and keep them confined to a lead at all times in public. Well, whilst it may seem sensible – unfortunately, it is not. In fact I speculate that if we want to literally DOUBLE the number of dog attacks, especially the most serious ones, the way to do it would be to muzzle and confine all dogs to leads in public. I shall hereby try and explain the flaws in this ideology.

Dogs operate in and have personalities which can be linked to something known as ‘drives’. Whilst it is not my intent to make this a ‘technical’ dog behaviour article I shall list the recognised drives below:

* The Prey drive: these dogs stalk, ‘kill’ their toys, shake objects and are highly stimulated by visual movements. They like to chase.
* The Pack drive: these dogs are sociable animals who enjoy being touched by people, prone to separation anxiety.
* The Fight drive: self confident or ‘dominant’ dogs who will guard themselves, their property, their family. Tends to hold strong eye contact even with ‘dominant’ people.
* The Flight drive: unsure in strange situations, always needs to be aware of a potential route of escape, tends to be submissive and is most prone to ‘fear biting’.

Passive Pooch
Creative Commons License photo credit: ChiBart

Dogs may show a tendency to ‘be a high prey drive’ dog or dogs may exhibit high drive behaviour in certain circumstances – for example, a dog which may – by normal personality – operate for most of its life in ‘pack drive’, a friendly dog that loves people for instance, upon encountering its first ever squirrel the dog may instantly switch on to a very high prey drive response.

So it’s not a simple case of being able to label one dog or breed as a particular candidate to fit one of the drive descriptions. Yes, we can generalise (Bull breed dogs tend to score highly on pack drive, they love people, love being touched, enjoy companionship) but these generalisations are what have gotten us in to trouble in the first place!

We simply cannot and should not attempt to define a dog’s personality by its breed type or EVEN its past history. For instance, a dog which has – for its entire life – never been nervous or aggressive about ANYTHING, when faced with a certain new situation or circumstance may exhibit high levels of ‘unplanned for’ behaviour. I often ask people to imagine in their mind how they feel about elephants.

How do they feel when they see elephants on TV on a nature documentary. Most people have neutral views about elephants. We don’t live our lives in fear of them and they are not an animal that invades our daily thoughts. We have no ‘planned for’ elephant response behaviour.

I then ask people to try and imagine how they’d feel if they walked into a room – a room they recognise and have used before, let’s say their boardroom at their place of work – and rather than being confronted by their work colleagues, much to their surprise a fully grown elephant is standing in the room.

Now imagine how you might feel about elephants in THAT circumstance! Heart rate rised, shock, surprise, nervous tension, wonderment, planning for an escape route, sweaty palms – we have no idea how we’d respond to surprising circumstances, especially ones we’ve never planned for – yet we somehow expect our dogs to react consistently to all circumstances based on how they’ve behaved in the past. This is an error.

But what’s this got to do with muzzling and lead confinement you ask?

Well it’s all about the need for owners to be able to do two very, very (very) important things:

1) Allow their dog to exhibit normal behaviour whilst under proper control
2) Understand the risks associated with ‘unplanned’ behaviour

So let’s tackle these two issues.

Allowing a dog to exhibit normal behaviour means allowing a dog to exercise freely. There are some dogs – in fact most dogs – who absolutely thrive on the freedom to run and shake loose the constraints of a leash or the confinement of the four walls of their home and garden. To many dogs, this is their ‘reason to live’. This is their most treasured treat. It also keeps them healthy. If we are to constrain dogs and deny them the ability to exercise freely, a number of things will start to happen and start to happen quickly:

The dogs will start to become very, very wound up at home. Too much energy, no outlet for it. Anyone who has ever had to spend time in a confined space will realise how tedious that becomes. Think of a long-haul flight for an example. Sitting there, waiting for someone else to provide you with ‘release’, waiting for someone else to feed you, relying on others for your stimulation. Now imagine that your entire life was spent on a long-haul flight. I project you’ll do one of two things: You’ll either go quietly mad and spend your days asleep in a permanent bout of depression or you’ll go VERY mad and start threatening to to do ‘crazy’ things in order to get your freedom back. To confine dogs to a permanent life on a long-haul flight will cause a lot of problems.

Dogs will begin to attack more people in their homes. No doubt about it. A dog who is ‘wound up’ a dog who has more energy than they are ever permitted to expend will be a problem dog. If we estimate that 2, maybe 3% of all the dogs in the UK are responsible for attacks and injuries caused by dogs as things stand today – by having a blanket ‘no dogs off lead in public’ law, you can comfortably project that we’ll have maybe as high as 20% of dogs who will pose a far greater risk to people. Yes, we may reduce dog attacks in public but my word, we will massively increase the number of attacks in the home. The net result will be more attacks.

Dogs need off lead exercise and they need the ability to socialise with other dogs. Dogs owners should understand that they have an obligation to keep their dogs under control (and do it! Not just understand it) and they should also recognise that dogs can have very, very different reactions to situations which are ‘unplanned for’. Again, think about how you’d react if you met a real life elephant face to face in a place where you were not expecting it. Don’t assume that dogs can’t have equally extreme reactions to new things.

Muzzling

Similar to the freedom to run argument. If you take away a dog’s defence mechanisms: either the ability to run away or the ability to ‘fight’ you will instantly place the dog into a state of heightened tension.

I want you to think about that elephant again folks. Let us say that you have met the elephant in the boardroom and you’ve just managed to calm your nerves, your blood pressure is lower and your starting to feel a bit more comfortable. No doubt you’ll still be very aware of the fact that there is an elephant in the room but you’ve just about managed to compose yourself. Firstly, you have the door behind you so if things take a turn for the unexpected you can always leg it! Only, now you can’t. Because what’s going to happen now is you are going to be tethered to the radiator and your hands are going to be tied behind your back. How you feeling now? A little less composed? A little vulnerable? Nervous? Tense?

See this is exactly what we do when we impose on our dogs a mandatory constraint. We can – in one fell swoop – make a non aggressive, non defensive dog INSTANTLY more aggressive and more defensive. We can increase the risk of altering the dog’s nature and outlook on life. And again, whilst it is certainly the case that we may (in fact probably would) see a reduction in dog attacks in public, the net result of such a law would be a massive, massive increase in the number of dog attacks occurring in the home.

Why?

Because we will be artificially increasing the drive senses in our dogs. We can’t muzzle a dog all day, we can’t tether a dog all day so for those periods of time when they are unmuzzled we will see a dog with an altered personality. Heightened defensiveness, heightened nervousness – we would make some non aggressive dogs aggressive and some aggressive dogs even more aggressive. Times where the dog is feeding would be exceptionally dangerous. The net result would be more dog attacks.

The solution, whilst simple, is not easy. Dog owners need to better informed on how to manage their animals. They need to be better prepared for the reality that their dogs can and will behave differently in different situations, never assume. They must have better control of their dogs. If they can not recall their dog then they simply should not have the dog off a lead until such a time as that training objective has been achieved. Dog owners need to be aware of the fact that their dogs should not invade other people’s space. Dog owners need to take control of their dogs and to improve their ownership standards. If we could make this happen, society, dogs and their owners would be a lot, lot happier.

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Well, that’s MY view – compulsory muzzling of all dogs would make the problem worse, but what do YOU think?

Have your say using the comment form below. I look forward to reading your views!

190 thoughts on “Should We Muzzle ALL Dogs In Public?”

  1. I own two very active Jack Russell Terrorist’s and one is very very smart but also very nervous and a fear biter. I found out that when on lead outside our home she is a perfect dog. She is still nervous but doesn’t tend to bark or try to bite anyone. But if anyone makes a fast move in our direction she puts her tail down between her rear legs and her ears go back, this is a warning to me that she doesn’t like the the situation she is in. On the topic of muzzling a dog that is nervous to start with, this is a very bad thing to do. Now the dog gets really nervous and seems to be afraid all the time and when they see the muzzle they hide and think you are punishing them. I believe in proper training your pet at an early age. We took our 2 JRT’s to obedience training when they were 6 months old and even though it didn’t seem sink in to there brains at the time about 1 year later they both started to take the commands they learned in school. I live in rural NE Tennessee and here we have farms and lots of cows and horses as well as tractors everywhere and with that lots of farm dogs that roam from field to field. We do have animal control agents but they only seem to handle stray and problem dogs. We don’t ever let our dogs roam the area we have 1/4 acre fenced in dog yard that our dogs play in and do there business in. JRT’s aren’t mindful off lead and tend to chase everything like Moles, Rabbits, field Mice, snakes and cats and don’t respond to commands from there owners. I love my dogs too much to let them run wild.
    Now there is a proposal in TN to get all dogs fixed to stop the overpopulation of dogs and cats. Personally I think this is a good idea, but we had both our dogs spayed. The only dogs that wouldn’t be effected by this law would be registered breeders and show dogs. It would be very hard to monitor which dogs were fixed and very expensive.

  2. That is so ridiculous. Why should we torture animals like that? All my dog does is kiss people. This might have an opposite affect on the dog.

  3. First of all, excuse my English, as French is my maternal language… It is not a good idea to muzzle all dogs, they must have a little freedom and they will get more aggressive. It should be only for the aggressive and dangerous dogs, but not all of them are like that…

  4. ALL DOGS SHOULD BE LEASHED IN PUBLIC PLACES!
    NO MUZZLES – THIS WILL MAKE MATTERS WORSE.
    My very friendly dogs have been attacked many times by dogs running loose – now they feel threatened by every loose dog they see – one goes on the defensive, the other gets scared to death.
    No one – NO ONE – can control their dog off leash in every given sItuation every single time and no good trainer/handler will tell you that they can. I don’t care what breed of dog it is or how savy the handler, dogs are still dogs and will act like dogs , call it prey drive or too much pent up energy or whatever term you wish to use.
    Responsible pet ownership includes seeing the dog is properly trained and exersized (I know winter is hard – i live in Michigan – the weather changes daily), keeping it under control in public places and PICKING UP AFTER THE DOG!!!!!!

  5. I do not think that any dog should be muzzled. I am an owner of 2 Rottweilers and a Black Labrador. We re-homed Rosie who is 4 this year and she is so loving and lazy but the minute she gets over the park with her friends she is like a different dog she loves running around with her other pals and really looks like she is smiling but when she is on the lead she doesn’t like other dogs coming near her and starts barking, I know she is just standing her ground but if she was muzzled she would probably act like a dog possessed when she saw another dog because of the restriction. My other Rottie (Rocky) who is 2 years old this year is no different on a lead or off it but he loves meeting other humans over the park and getting a big kiss and cuddle of anyone who is willing to do it but if he was muzzled he would look like a dog who is not to be approached or stroked and that is nothing like him at all. Why should dogs be punished for idiot owners who don’t put the time in to look after their pets and neither do they care. Muzzle the idiot owners not the dogs.

  6. I own 5 dogs. My dogs are let off lead every day for a good run. I am lucky enough to live opposite a large country park so there is lots of free space but if someone else appears my dogs get called over and sit with me, they have never jumped up anyone, they have never attacked anything, they are well balanced polite and sociable to all other animals. They live with 4 children and show nothing but love so yes I would have a problem with them being muzzled. I also have a problem with licensing as I don’t see how this would be effectively enforced, it would be the same responsible owners who bought a license and the people who really need to be monitored, wouldn’t bother, same as they don’t bother training their dogs or being a responsible owner.

    For the record I am a 35 year old Mum of 4 and the dogs I own are a Westie and 4 beautifully behaved Staffordshire Bull Terriers…

  7. Excellent commentary! It should be required reading for ALL dog owners.

    Your explanation using the elephant analogy is right on target.

  8. I have 3 greyhounds who have all retired from the track and so if it became law they should wear a muzzel my dogs have worn one when working.I would and do carry a muzzel as my dogs love to chase so if needed they can wear a muzzel without any problems but I would not like them to have to wear one whenever they went out as I personly do not like them but if needs must or the law says then so be it so I may keep my boys.

  9. Well this is an interesting point!!
    The dogs I see on a daily basis,From the friendliest socialable dogs to dogs that ‘have issues’!! if they are muzzled they get into more problems. I help train and change behaviour of dog ‘aggressive’ dogs. If these dogs have a muzzle on they CAN NOT convey thier facial expressions, they CAN NOT learn HOW to convey the correct body language and facial expressions to other dogs and people and in the end get int o trouble AGAIN!! When its not their fault!! I understand the consept of the muzzle for training to protect the dog and owner but when the dog is in training and they have a responsible owner the the muzle can be weaned off… The BAD dogs out there are not always BAD dogs… the owners need to be sorted. As with any thing the goverment does it will ALWAYS force the BAD EGGS under ground,

    Why should they obey by the rules that us normal civilised law abiding citizens do so…. They dont normally!!

    The dogs are going to take the brunt of this, they will be abandoned, hurt or even killed if they have to be….

    its not just the dogs on the dangerous dogs list that can be dangerous!! come on people it is not the dog it IS THE OWNER!!!!

    I own a Rottie, shepherd and a lab and believe me I have seen far more small dog aggression then large breed aggression. but when a rottie or mastiff lunges at you, you think the worst…. but if a yorkshire terrier does exactly the same…. what do you do?? pick it up!! the teeth arent that painful….

    It really doesnt matter what the dog is… if the owner has developed and accepted this behaviour the they should be responsible for the dogs actions!!

  10. I completely agree with Ryan – it’s up to us as dog owners and lovers to have our dogs under control when in public.
    Earlier today we were walking our five dogs in secluded woodland when suddenly two Weimeraners appeared and started to attack my lab, followed by two frantic owners. The guy said they hadn’t expected to meet anyone ‘in the middle of nowhere’. Does that excuse the fact that he had two aggressive dogs off lead? I have reported the incident to the dog warden and I am fairly certain from the way they behaved that this has happened before.

    We all need to ensure our dogs have basic obedience before they are allowed to run free in public.

  11. More stupid than the original Dangerous Dogs Act! No thought has been put into it, owners spend a lot of time training rescue dogs, to have it messed up in one easy go. it would be a better idea to lock up some of the “offenders” of modern society who knock about innocent folk and injure them. There are places where dogs should be on a lead in public places, but so should some children!

  12. I think the thought of muzzling dogs is disgusting. I own 2 Lhasa Apsos and they wouldn’t hurt a fly! They are friendly and enjoy interacting with strangers when they go for a walk.
    On the very odd occasion I see a muzzled dog, I tend to avoid them as I tend to think the owner has muzzled them for a good reason. If all dogs have to endure this, then all people would avoid them and they wouldn’t get the interaction that they need. It’s good for dogs to make friends with strangers and other dogs and muzzling them would put an end to this. It would be a great shame for all dogs and dog owners.

  13. I have 3 dogs. A rottweiller who we rescued at 4 years old. He’s a lovely dog but can have issues with other dogs but has never caused one an injury. We generally keep him on the lead mainly for his safety – he’s nearly 9 now so being on the lead is no big deal. We let him off when the situation is right and don’t get complacent. We also have a rotti x and a border collie. Keeping those two on the lead would be detremental to their well being and muzzling them would not allow them to play with a ball which they love. Especially our Border Collie – if she couldn’t retrieve a ball her life wouldn’t be complete. I’m under no illusion that all dogs have the potential to attack, but also every human has the capacity to murder, we don’t do it and generally people who have been abused, unloved, deprived of normal experiences or haven’t had positive influences are more likely to. The same with dogs – no dog is born aggressive, its made that way depending on its experiences. Irrisponsible owners should be targeted rather than the breed. All that happens in the proposed law is dogs and responsible owners being punished and the irrisponsible owners who don’t care anyway won’t be punished, they will probably just abandon the dog anyway which will put a strain on shelters etc. Encouragement should be concentrated on puppy training, socialisation and responsible ownership. The Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Scheme should be a recognised tool to good ownership and should carry incentives for people who put thier dogs through, but can also be taken away if you don’t keep it up ie caught not clearing up after your dog etc. The amount of dogs in this country compared to the number of serious attacks is so minimal the target of control should be on those people who own the problematic dogs rather than the millions of people who look after their dogs properly.

  14. The overwhelming majority of dog owners are very responsible and well informed. How often have you actually witnessed a dog out of control in public? Or even in private for that matter?
    The truth is that the irresponsibility belongs to the news media and politicians who blow a few incidents out of all proportion to advance their own careers.
    When we enter into the debate on how to deal with this mythical “crisis” we play right into their hands.

  15. Only dogs that are innately vicious should be muzzled. A well behaved dog should not be muzzled. I have never found the need to muzzle a dog that I owned.

  16. In my opinion there is no ‘Dangerous Dog’. Only Dangerous Owners.

    to ArnieC i do not believe for one moment that any dog is innately vicious, however i can see how it can appear so. I do believe though that they have been taught viciousness from us as humans who have a long time drive to create a powerful, dangerous dog that has sadly turned into a status symbol.

    Take the staffadshire bull terrier for example. These dogs have become inceasingly popular throughout the UK, and are well known to be kind and loving in nature. However due to the increase for the need to have a vicious ‘status symbol’ dog the staffy has been pushed, bullied and trained to be vicious.

    Like i stated earlier, dogs are not born with an innate viciousness. They are taught it.

    Take the wolf as a decendant example. Amazingly the wolf and the dog only share a genetic difference of 4%.
    They are not vicious creatures. They will not attack other wolves because they want to or because it is fit to do so. Only if they cannot escape an oncoming attack (the flight or fight response) will they chose to fight.

    Wolves are another great example to show the roles of alpha, beta and so on within a pack. A dog may appear vicious and dominating but it is again our own fault. some people do not have the mental as well as physical strength to own a powerful dog and keep it happy. If a dog knows the owner is weak and cannot fulfil the Alpha role then it will automatically assume the role itself. Its doing what any wolf would. The alpha is the strongest and smartest, if your dog is smarter than you (in an instinctual manner) then it will undermine you, it will not do it to ‘annoy you’ dogs have no concept of this. It’s simply fulfiling the role you have left available to it.

    In all i think that Humans are the problem, granted you may have the strength to keep a large powerful dog under control but you may not have the knowledge it takes to keep that dog at bay.

    We are the problem. We have bred and re-bred and trained and retrained these dogs to do our bidding, however how long will it take to retrain owners? to stop them from bullying these dogs into something they aren’t?

    Already over 5 cases of staffy attacks have been recorded in the past few months alone, how long will it take for people to realise that the owners are the problem, its their fault these dogs are unbalanced mentally.

    How long til we see the Staffadshire bull terrier on the Dangerous Dogs Act too?
    And for that matter, yorkshire terriers? or even labraors? I have known individual dogs of small breeds as well as ‘soft’ breeds to be vicious and this is down the human factor again.

    Any dog can be trained to sit. its just the same with training the dog to bite, bark and attack Granted though, more drastic and ‘harmful’ methods are used for the latter. But positive or negative reinforcements work equally, it just so happens one is as the name states a more negative approach.

    Dogs aren’t the problem. Owners Are.

  17. I think you are right, muzzling will do nothing. We need to regulate breeding to only responsible breeders that do not breed for aggression. Additionally, there should be more required owner education programs. Finally, the majority of attacks that I hear about happen because a dog has been on a chain it’s entire life. It has been proven that intact male dogs are involved in a majority of attacks. We need mandatory spay and neuter laws for non-registered breeders and we need to outlaw the chaining of dogs.

  18. Muzzling all dogs would be preposterous. Detrimental to their well-being, physically and mentally and above all cruel. We might as well but stuffed dogs on wheels!
    The answer to this whole issue lies in educating the owners. The breed of a dog is irrelevant – they all have 42 teeth which can substantially injure or kill. I suggest educate children in school about the responsibilities of owning a dog, the paramount importance of socialisation and training.
    Micro -chipping would be a good thing too but more important is to make the owners TOTALLY responsible for their dogs’ behaviour. Training/information classes should be widely available in every borough council, advertised in vets, doctors surgeries etc.. These measures would at least be a small start to helping people understand dog ownership and reducing the number of homeless dogs.

  19. Wow! Thanks for all the constructive comments on this article. You guys obviously care passionately about this issue. Thank you.

  20. I have three large dogs, and have never had a problem with any of them. That being said, I do believe in leashing a dog in public unless it si in a dog park. People are well meaning, but it is just not smart to assume your dog wil always react in a positive way to unwanted attention. I do not believe in muzzles because I feel that they can actually cause a negative response even before there is any kind of confrontation. Why try to fix something that is not broken? If there is a dog that is not trustworthy in a public place, he should not be there in the first place!. Lets be responsible owners!

  21. I have a great Lurcher, a rescue, I got him over seperation anxiety and the stress he had, he is a fantastic house dog and wonderful with adults and kids alike, but he IS a LURCHER, so outside with the squirrels and rabbits he is off and runnin!!!, I do however, muzzle him when walking in a residential area due to the fact that he would kill a cat on sight, and this I could not allow. He needs to run so we have a dog friendly park nearby that allows all dogs freedom. We as humans, have made and tried to mould these wonderful creatures into what we want not how they should be, when something goes wrong it is not the human that gets the blame but the dog.
    If a person, for whatever reason, desires to own a dog that is on the dangerous dog list, then why is there not a compulsory high insurance scheme and a compulsory high licence fee scheme for such people. I would not object to paying a licence fee for any dog that I own. I think with the Staffs, and bull terrier type dogs, responsible ownership is a must and these dogs can be lovely pets. in the wrong hands as with any animal, the danger is always there, the cruelty inflicted by such owners on the animals defies belief. Muzzle all dogs and leash them at all times? NO, but something must be done to insure that true dog owners, lovers and people who understand the language and ways of dogs, can own them without being hassled and made to feel guilty. Ann the proud mistress of Jack.

  22. What do you have to say?
    When humans decided to domesticate dogs and make them part of the human pack they took on a huge responsibility of accountability. I believe that responsible ownership is paramount in preventing unwanted/aggressive behaviours in their pets and muzzling all dogs in public is not going to resolve the issue of dog attacks. Most certainly, if dogs are allowed to roam there is the chance that a highly charged/prey drive dog might bite or attack a person. However, if dogs living within a normal family environment are given sufficient exercise,training, and mental stimulation they will not have the urge to release energy in a negative way. Muzzling dogs will, in my opinion, create more problems than solving them. We have a responsibility to our pets to give them the best life possible. We have taken away their initial freedom to live in a domestic environment, so to restrict their freedom moreso, by muzzling is simply cruel and unnessary.

  23. Aggressive dogs is the owners responsiblity. They need to protect the public (when needed) But with that said, the public has a negitive association to a dog being muzzled. We need to change the minds of the public about dogs being muzzled. To me, it is a win-win situation.

  24. I think that the muzzling idea is un-policable unless we become the big brother state where everyone is watching each other and telling tales, i have 2 dogs that the public views as being dangerous (Rottweilers) and they will probably be the first on the hit list of the Government, however i feel that Britain is quickly becoming a Country where responsible people are being punshed for the minority, i feel that if this law came into power then we are on a slipper slope to not even being able to take our dogs out!! – i feel that only the responsible dogs owners will be hit by this as irresponsible dog owners by the very nature of them being irresponsible will not give a toss about the law??

  25. What a STUPID idea. That is just covering up the problem, not fixing it and it punishes all. Let’s train the owners how to handle dogs and then there won’t be an issue. Why should all dogs (and owners) suffer because of a few idiots!

  26. if they really want to deal with dangerous dogs, then they should do just that. deal with actaul dangerous dogs, rather than punishing breeds and responsile owners.

    the first thing that needs to be done is to repeal the dangerous dogs act and get rid of breed specific legislation. it has failed to do any thing other than kill thousands of pet dog that hadn’t done anything.

    if the want to know where to start, look at Calgray’s dog legislation. Calgray didn’t jump on the bsl ban wangon, instead they looked at legislation to deal with the cause of the problem. they put huge resources into dog saftey education, a tougher licencing system, a strict fine structue for voilaters and stronger enforcement. and the result-1000 reported dog bites in 1985 and 260 reported dog bites in 2003.

    if they want to reduce dog bites, why not base new legislation on legislation that has alreay proven to work and work without breed specific legislation. we could also include some other points, like complousary micro chipping, police and dog wardens having the power to place control orders on individaul dogs that have acted dangerously. maybe we could also have a set number of trainning sessions that have single dog has to do. most out of control dogs, just haven’t been trained as they should have been.

  27. I wouldn’t object so strongly to dogs being kept onlead in public if the local councils would provide adequate, secure offlead dog parks with enough space for the dogs to really stretch out. My dogs come alive when offlead and it’s a joy to watch them chasing and coursing with each other. As for muzzling, I can see it from both sides and don’t really have a strong opinion either for or against.
    I own a whippet and a lurcher. As a responsible owner, I recognise that there are occasions when it is necessary to muzzle them, for the safety of small furry creatures and in the case of my lurcher, to prevent him from scavenging and endangering his health. Muzzles are not torture devices. A correctly fitted BASKET muzzle allows a dog to pant, drink, sniff and even smile or growl. In my very humble opinion there is no place for a fabric muzzle (as shown in the above picture) outside of the vets surgery and they should NEVER be used under normal everyday circumstances. It is pure ignorance to assume that every muzzled dog poses a danger and I am disappointed that so many other dog owners will avoid a muzzled dog. Ask yourself which dog can give the deeper bite – the one with or without the muzzle?

  28. I am against muzzling. Perhaps some owners should, be muzzled – because they do not control theri dogs properly!!!!
    I have a black labrador. when he was a puppy, we was attacked several tmes. Twice by two alsations – and the owner said both times that ‘they never did that usually and that he would have them on a lead if they were prone to attacking!’ He got reported to the dog warden!
    My dog is fine with people – he allows my 3 years old grandchild to do anything! That is a love match! (Even so I never leave them alone together.)
    He loves all female dogs, but he is unpredictable with other males. So I keep him under control. He is 8 in May and we have not had a problem.
    Dog owners should he responsible and should control their dogs. Sadly, this does not always happen – some, the small majority, spoil the enjoyment for dogs and their owners. The owners should be punished. Dogs should not be punished and muzzled.
    .

  29. I think its a ridiculous suggestion that dogs should be muzzled, poor dogs who fall into the hand of horrible people should not be punished, instead its the owner who should be held FULLY responsible. They should not categorise ANY specific breed as ‘dangerous dogs’ as its the evil and irresponsible OWNER that goes out of their way to make their dog behave that way. My husband and i have a baby daughter, two cats and a beautiful dog (which is one of those named as the dangerous dogs) and she is the most gorgeous, gentle and friendly dog you will ever meet. I think its completely out of order and it breaks my heart to see these poor dogs being taken away or put down because of these evil owners, if they didnt encourage their dog to be that way there would be no need for muzzles of any kind. I can say FIRST HAND that no dog, just because of its breed is a danger to anyone, its the owners who are. Muzzles and a lethal injection should be used on these a***hole owners!

  30. What do you have to say?
    I have my very first dog. I love taking him on walks but I get very nervous when I see other dogs off thier leads when walking the streets. I think that all dogs should be on thier leads when walking the streets but be allowed off them when playing over the fields/open spaces.
    There is a few people in my local area who walk with their staffs without thier leads and are known to have killed and hurt other small dogs. I do get very scared and I sometimes feel my dog also feels my nervousnes and this is not fair.
    I have asked my local police about known dangerous dogs walking without a lead and they say there is nothing they can do.
    There should be a pannel of different types of people set up to agree a “dog law” that can include who the owners are.
    I love my dog and would never want any harm to come to him but I would like him to have the freedom to run around and interact with other dogs.

  31. Muzzling is a dreadful idea, I only ever thought of putting a muzzle on my wolfhound to stop him eating sticks and balls on the beach not to stop him biting anyone. I decided against it. Instead I set about training him that the only good things to eat were the treats in my pocket !

  32. What do you have to say? i have always been a responsible dog owner. have owned many dogs,had many breeds ie, dobermans, alsations and labs. its not the dogs what am a danger and a nuisance its the owners. i think muzzles should be used for some dogs, but people could think thats a dangerous dog and not all dogs am dangerous who mite be wearing a muzzel. so some dogs will be doomed no matter what!!! only ones who gets penalised is the responsible dog owners yet again!!!!

  33. I know its been said before but dogs any type or breed will only
    need muzzelling [if realy neaded to] if the dog has been brought up wrong [ used to fight or mistreaten badly], there are certain breeds when brought up properly dont need it, most dogs shake toys even the poodle does this one need one.
    Now is the time for all dog owners to be trained properly with there dog how to behave

  34. I have a Greyhound, Lurcher and 2 chihuahuas. My two sighthounds wear muzzles at all times when out, apart from if we are playing with a ball as that is all they are focussed on, as they have extremely high prey drives and would kill cats and birds without muzzles. My lurcher was attacked twice by dogs and abused as a puppy before we got him so he is very scared of people and dogs, so the muzzle is there as a precaution. They are both used to wearing them and have done for years, and happy when I get them out as it means a walk! I would never muzzle my chihuahuas as they are very sociable. It all depends on the dog I think.

    I think it is shocking to even consider muzzling ALL dogs regardless of temperament as that is completely ridiculous. If your dog is sociable and you can control it off-lead then it should be able to be free off lead. No freedom makes one unhappy dog..

  35. I have one of the dangerous breeds (Rottweiler) and he is huge and people are scared of him but he is a big softie. I am a responsible dog owner and trainer and he is let off lead but put on the lead when I see other people/dogs. It is only polite. I expect it of other people but it rarely happens. May be instead of muzzling every dog, try getting every dog owner to do the Good Citizen Dog scheme with their dog, as it tests dog and owner.

  36. As the owner of a Dogue De Bordeaux (the dog from Turner and Hooch film), I am completely opposed to muzzing dogs. I whole heartly blame the OWNERS and not the dogs for the attacks on people.These so called dangerous dogs is the wrong description given,as it should say MISTREATED DOG and DANGEROUS OWNER. My baby who is 38.5kg and is only 11 months and not fully grown yet, is the gentle giant,playful and full of fun even when getting her injection and skin scrapes without any sedation, her behaviour was to lick our vet and want to play.I personally feel that the responsibility starts with the person who initially sells the pup. I wish they would do background checks and home visits to the people buying their pups. I also believe to enforce this they should also be held accountable if later on one of the pups they sold attacks a person. To me the in some cases the selling of these dogs is just to make money because they are big and supposidly bad ,fearless dogs.
    When i see these so called dangerous dogs which my Millie could be seen as one, attached to the end of the lead is a silly little boy/ned, never an adult who is responsible. This completely angers me.
    I am a nurse and worked in A/E and the dog attacks that i was involved with was caused by small dogs and not the dangerous dog. I am by no means saying these attacks dont happen as we all are aware they do because of the press, but you hardly hear about the small dog attacks on children, which are common.
    I also believe that anyone buying a dog which at the end of the day was once a wild animal we tamed and took as part of our family, should be made to have compulsary training in how to care and train the dog.
    I apologise for going on but i am on any animals side on things like this, and get angry and frustrated by ignorant peoples comment when they dont even have a animal of their own.There are thousands of very responsible dog owners,we should be the ones asked not some pen pusher who has no understanding of these beautiful affectionate loyal creatures to man even when in some cases these animals are subjected the cruelest treatment.

  37. I think it is a stupid idea people are the problem not the dogs and most serious attacks on people happen in the home so how is muzzling outside going to help. As for the Idea for compulsory micro chipping it has been proven in America that since the introduction of micro chipping there has been a significant increase in cancer’s in animals so why should we be forced to do this to our animals.

  38. Muzzling dogs is not only totally impractical, but downright harmful to certain short muzzled breeds. Among these are the Staffordshire bull terrier, Bulldog, French bulldog etc. The muzzle will impede the ability to breathe properly. Definitely not a law for all dogs!!!!!. Not even a law for some!!!! Angela.

  39. I have a friend with a young GSD who had a habit of nipping other dog’s bottoms! After a number of verbal complaints and a visit from the Police, my friend decided to keep her dog on an extending lead for many months, to stop him from doing this. He has been beautifully behaved and plays with all his buddies in the park, twice daily without anything untoward happening. He keeps his eyes and ears on ‘his mum’ constantly and is very quick to respond to any instruction she gives him.
    Last week she bought him a muzzle, so that he could run more freely. Sadly, this means he cannot play with his beloved ball but at least he has more freedom. Within two days of wearing his muzzle he was ‘accused’ of attacking another dog!! How could he possibly attack anything with a muzzle on? The owner of the other dog (a labradoodle) saw the muzzle, assumed he was aggressive and immediately became abusive himself! (Muzzle the owner.) People are not interested in understanding dog behaviour, they are just too quick to jump to the wrong conclusions because they want to sue you.
    My own dog is often misunderstood, simply because he is big and lively. He behaves like a small dog, running up to greet everybody, even if they are 200 yards away! He is a GSD x Greyhound who just loves to run. I can understand that a 35Kg dog running towards you is pretty scary but if you watch the other dog’s reactions you can see that my dog is not a threat to them. However, some owners (who generally have their dogs on the lead) immediately become agitated or aggressive, totally confusing their dog, which then reacts badly. My dog is often ‘seen off’ by such dogs and/or I get a mouthful of abuse. (Muzzle the owner.) If they were to let their dog off, it would be a different story. My dog has never attacked another. He has, however, been attacked and he did initially retaliate but finally submitted, at which point I had to pull off the other dog who was going in for the kill. The other owner just watched!
    Would I muzzle my dog? No. Another happy-go-lucky dog would very quickly become depressed as he always carries a ball in his mouth when he is off the lead.
    I got my dog from a rescue centre when he was 7 months old. His recall still leaves a lot to be desired and we’re STILL working on it but I will not give up on him,as his previous owner did, because he deserves a second chance.
    All dogs have the ability to defend themselves but I believe that problem dogs are ’caused’ by incapable owners.

  40. I have a Rottweiller and a Staffordshire bull terrier and they are both loving, well behaved and trained dogs. My husband and I get alot of bad looks in the village that we live in, people tend to think that we are a lower class of human for owning these dogs, We have two children and we trust our dogs around them. My parents and sister own Springer spaniels and my brother owns a dachshound, I would never leave my children any where near these dogs as they are not used to children (and some of them don’t like adults!!).

    I do not believe that any dog that is well behaved should be muzzled, it is the owners responsibility to be aware of how their dog behaves and make an educated decision as to whether their dog should be muzzled.

    Due to the breeds of our dogs we courtiously keep them on leads as we would not want to make other people feel uncomfortable.

    All I would say is Owners should take responsibility, if you see a dog on a lead put yours on one too or make sure you keep it to heel.

  41. I tend to find that the dogs that are muzzled from the moment they leave the front door are so agitated because they are in such a constrained piece of equipment – all they want to do, whether they be friendly or full on nasty, is get out to do their usual things.

    All dogs deserve to have their freedom just as much as any human – when a person has an argument in the street they aren’t subjected to wearing a straight jacket or muzzle for the rest of their life are they, you can’t even keep them on a lead!! 🙂

    As per usual, it’s all down to the training – generally the dogs that do attack are owned by people who want to show their apparent strength by owning a dog that was originally bred for fighting purposes – the training is down to the owner, not the dog itself.

    In public spaces (unless designated dog safe and secure) – ON with the lead and OFF with the muzzle – it’s only fair.

  42. I have two staffies both different in behavior patterns but both very playful and friendly.Jess is older by a year she leads Jazz on and sometimes bullies her but that is her way of telling her she was here first. When we walk both dogs are very well behaved and actually ignore other dogs but love the attention of people they would lick them to death more than bite although Jazz is prone to nipping to get the attention Jess stops her getting. Muzzling i think the owners probably need that more than the dogs. My dogs breed are supposed to be i quote ‘danger dogs’ but i would be more inclined to call them daft dogs. Muzzling my opinion no need if you know your dog/dogs or train them if you don’t know the dog/dogs rescue dogs ect. NO TO MUZZLING DEFINITLEY.

  43. Well here we go again, lets us hit the easy targets. Why are we even talking about putting a muzzle on all dogs? It is not all dogs that are the problem. I agree there are problems with some dogs or should I say owners?!! How will this idiotic idea be policed? The authorities cannot get a grip on the fouling let alone anything else. I for one will not be putting any kind of barbaric restraint on my dog.

  44. What do you have to say? I believe the owners of these dangerous dogs should be educated. Muzzles cause more problems than they are worth. These dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, and only exercised away from other dogs and people.Keep them away from crowded areas and children. Not all dogs are dangerous, most are educated at an early age and love to play with children and like a lot of fuss.
    No muzzles!! keep on a lead.

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