Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Probert's "Hat"


I have neglected to post about my decision to start muzzling Probert when he is with "the pack" because so many people react so negatively to it, but I'm ready so here it is. I have posted a few photos of Probert in his "hat" (we don't use the "m" word) on my personal Facebook page and have gotten some very mixed reactions. I understand that it is sometimes difficult to see a dog in a muzzle because it makes them "look mean" or for any other reason. For the first month after I bought Probert's muzzle, I couldn't even put it on him for any amount of time, but I finally dove in and now I am very used to seeing it on him and know that underneath, he is still my sweet little guy.

Probert has a history of redirecting in stressful situations (in the yard, something outside the fence usually) and biting Wrigley. He has done Wrigley some serious damage and in the interest of preventing that from happening (on the occasion when it does happen) and also in not isolating Probert from the pack, I bought him a muzzle. Since buying it several months ago, there have been two incidents when it has prevented him from doing any damage when attempting to bite Wrigley and the rest of the time, it allows him to interact with the pack like a normal dog and without my worrying about what "could" happen - so it's doing its job.

So, despite the "scary" exterior appearance of the muzzle, I have to say that it's one of the better decisions I have made for the health and happiness of all of my dogs. In the interest of looking a little less "scary" (and preventing further wall-gouging and painful leg-bashing from the heavy metal one) I just ordered Probert a new JAFCO clear flexi vinyl muzzle, so we'll see how that one works when it gets here. If anyone is interested, I will be happy to report back! In the meantime, please don't be too quick to judge a dog (or his person) by his hat!

11 comments:

rachel @ suburbanyogini said...

Great post - you have to do what's right + benefits the whole fur family. I love that first picture!

Betsy said...

You are a great doggie mom, and I know you would never make a choice like this without a lot of thought and consideration. This is a very educational post!

Anonymous said...

You have to do what's right for your family. My greyhound has severe sleep startle problems and because he is a greyhound who sleeps all the time, he wears his muzzle all the time. He also nips at everyone during play at the dog park, so he wears it there too.
It keeps him, other dogs, and us safe. It also makes what is actually a completely useless guarddog.

Other dog owners may have a problem with it- but he's not their dog. He's ours and Probert is yours. Do what is right for your family.

Babs said...

Sounds like an excellent solution to a difficult situation.

Married with Dawgs said...

So many people do worse when confronted with these kinds of problems - give the dog to a shelter or euthanize. I applaud you for finding a solution that keeps your beloved pet as part of your family.

Chris said...

I agree with everyone, you have to do what is right for 'all' your dogs. I am interested to see the clear flexi muzzle. I was thinking you could use the soft nylon velcro models but it might not stay on him. We use gentle-leader harness to walk our Rotties and people always think they are muzzles!

In Black & White said...

There's nothing more infuriating than owners who refuse to recognize the different strengths, quirks and weaknesses of their dogs. Congratulations on realistically assessing your options and braving the mixed reactions to do what's best for your pack.

Nicole said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful and supportive comments! They are definitely appreciated, not that I would have expected any less from you!

Walkydog said...

Hi I've just found your blog and enjoyed meeting your doggy family and what snow! I have a small dog (a westie) and he was fine as a pup with other dogs but a few years ago he was attacked by another dog so he now is positively vicious if any dog comes near him, it's so bad I am forced to consider a muzzle or just ensure he never comes into contact. A dilemar...You've done the right thing.

Anonymous said...

How did the jafco muzzle do? Is it nicer and less stigmatized than the metal ones? thank you for your post!

Nicole said...

The Jafco is okay, but it has it's downsides as well. It's more closed, so I think Probert can breathe less well in it. Also, since the straps are some kind of rubber, they have a little give to them and he can get it off pretty easily if he wants to. It's fine if I'm watching him and he's leaving it alone, but I prefer the metal since he can breathe better and nothing gets stuck in it (like snow).