The Bitey End of the Dog

Sarah McManaman - The Muzzle Up! Project

May 03, 2021 Michael Shikashio CDBC Season 2 Episode 9
The Bitey End of the Dog
Sarah McManaman - The Muzzle Up! Project
Show Notes Transcript

Muzzles can be a dog’s best friend, and in this episode, we focus on all things muzzle related.

Sarah McManaman, my trusty sidekick and social media manager for The MuzzleUp! Project is my very special guest, and we have a fun troubleshooting session based on questions from MuzzleUp fans.

We discuss solutions on things like what to do if you’re not sure if the muzzle is the right fit, or your dog resource guards the muzzle, or your dog simply hates muzzles, and many other helpful tips to comfortably and safely acclimate dogs to muzzles.

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Sarah McManaman:

Another thing you can try is without the nose in the muzzle, just try clipping it around the neck. So especially if you have those quick release clasps, just clipping it around the dog's neck so they can get used to I see the muzzle I feel it being clipped around my neck. No need to panic.

Michael Shikashio:

Muzzles can be a dog's best friend. In this episode, we focus on all things muzzle related. Sarah McManaman, my trusty sidekick and social media manager for the muzzle up project is my very special gu st. And we have a fun tr ubleshooting session based on qu stions from muzzle up fan. We di cuss solutions and things li e what to do if you're not su e if the muzzle is the right fi , or your dog resource starts th muzzle or your dog simply ha es muzzles and many other he pful tips to comfortably and sa ely acclimate dogs to mu zles. And this episode is sp nsored by aggressive dog.com wh re you can find a variety of ed cational offerings with a fo us on helping dogs with ag ression, including the ag ression in dogs master course th most comprehensive course av ilable anywhere in the world on helping dogs with aggression, an the aggression in dogs co ference, a unique three day li estream event happening from Oc ober 22 to 24th 2021 with 12 am zing speakers. You can find ou more by going to the lo seleashacademy.com Hey everyone, welcome back to the bitey end of the dog. I'm Mike Shikashio and I've got a super special guest today. Sarah McManaman, she is my right hand with the muzzle up project. She runs the social media accounts, everything you're seeing on Facebook and Instagram. She's She's at the helm of that ship and I can't thank her enough for really being there doing all these things for the muzzle up project. She's also been leading the fundraiser that we had selling some swag with the muzzle up project logo she owns called the wild canines up in Dartmouth Nova Scotia where she does tons of hiking with her business hiking dogs in her business. She also worked a lot of reactivity cases with sublime canine. So I'm super excited to be talking about muzzles, all things muzzles today with her, and the muzzle up project. So welcome, Sarah.

Sarah McManaman:

Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Michael Shikashio:

So let's jump right in here. This whole podcast episode came about because we were talking about let's let's do some q&a. There's a lot of questions and misconceptions about muscles. And we want to we kind of want to answer some of the comments or the questions that came in on Facebook. But I also want to mention too, by the way, the whole bitey end of the dog would have never happened if it wasn't for Sara, she pushed me into actually doing this, that I don't know if I'm gonna have time for that. She's like, just record the shows and do them all at once you'll be able to do it. So thank you, Sarah, for pushing me to do this. So let's jump into the questions. Yeah. You know, what is the purpose of a muzzle? That's an, you know, common question a lot of trainers and behavior consultants get are just from the general public? So I'll let you I'll let you answer that one.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, the purpose of a muzzle is to keep dogs and people safe. I saw a good somebody tagged us in a post yesterday on Instagram that said, the benefit for her for a muzzle is that it allows dogs, especially the ones who may have potential to make poor decisions play safely. So especially if we're thinking of dogs who maybe get a little bit too excited when they play and maybe bite a little harder than they should. muzzles are a great option for them. Or dogs are actually fearful of other dogs or people comes in handy. They're the ones I see a lot, or the dogs who like to eat poop, or eat other non food items that they find on the ground. And as we know, the surgeries from that are so expensive. So it's extremely helpful in those situations. Yeah, and I remember you made a post saying that a muzzle is cheaper than a lawsuit to so it's definitely good for that.

Michael Shikashio:

It sure is. It's various, What about when people ask you know, is it cruel to to make a dog wear a muzzle? What's your answer to them then.

Sarah McManaman:

in most scenarios, it is not cruel to make a dog where muzzle I know tons of dogs who their world has really opened up and their social circle has opened up because of using a muzzle. I will say though that it is cruel to put a muzzle on a dog and then throw them into a situation that they can't handle and say no, it's cool. They won't seriously hurt anyone because they have a muzzle on. That's not a cool situation to put a dog into.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, and I think once we start talking about the different types of muscles and the options that we look for when we're fitting a muscle, it'll start to dispel some of that cruelty, you know, misconceptions that we see, you know, because, again, I get the same thing. Doesn't that hold the dog's mouth shut or they can't breathe or they can't do normal things. Right? Let's kind of talk segaway into that. What are the different types of muzzle there's a lot of different ones out there. So we can let's talk brands a little bit here.

Sarah McManaman:

I think the most popular muzzle that I see and I know I see that a ton of your videos too is the Baskerville muzzle. I think pretty much every pet store sells Baskervilles The only thing with those ones though, is that they aren't quite proof. So if you have a dog who has serious aggression issues, that might not be the best route to go. If that's all you can get, though. I mean, it's better than nothing. good ones that are bite proof would be the jafco style muscles. Am I saying that right? jafco. Yeah, so it's like a vinyl, closed in muscle and trust your dog muzzles makes those like that style now, too. I think they just started doing that recently, and I really love their muzzles. So jafco muscles, and then wire basket muzzles. The most common ones that I see are the ones. They're all pretty much the same type from leerburg. Or Dean and Tyler. The dean and Tyler ones are super popular right now, at least what I'm seeing on our Instagram page with people tagging us in it. Do you have many clients that use the wire muzzles? Like wire basket muzzles?

Michael Shikashio:

They're definitely becoming, as you mentioned, more popular and I think it's because of this different sizing options. Also, they are also the safer option for my more severe cases, for sure.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, yeah, totally. And the bite proof aspect is what's important. I know people have very big feelings about this on the internet too. Especially when you have dogs who are very likely to bite because I've seen some pretty horrific pictures of bite injuries that have happened from muzzle dogs, so they can just kind of bend the muzzle into their mouth and get those canines in there I've seen gross pictures. biothane muzzles, I think are also extremely popular and becoming more popular. With those ones, you have Loomis muscles, which I think is probably the most popular biothane muzzle, but also chaos collars. So you spell that one, replace the C's with K'S, so kaos kollar and trust your dog makes the biothane and those are highly recommended. They're really good with their sizing. What other ones do we have? There's the Greyhound style muzzles. They're probably good for most dogs, especially the pointy nose dogs. The muscle shop sells them and then there's the Birdwell muzzles, but also there, can you think of anything that I forgot?

Michael Shikashio:

That's a nice range that you're just talking about. I think that gives people a lot of choices to go with. What about small dog muzzles? I get that a lot. Do you have anything that you've been seeing lately?

Sarah McManaman:

I find that the ones I mean you could go biothane muscles, because whereas a biothane muscle isn't necessarily bite proof, if you're putting it on a tiny dog, odds are they're not going to do a ton of damage. The biothane is probably almost as thick as one of their jobs are so those Italian basket muzzles. I think that's how you classify them the little it's like a tan color. Yeah, you can buy them on like Amazon and stuff. Those tend to go into pretty teeny tiny sizes. So that's usually what I would recommend either getting like a custom biothane one or one of those little ones,

Michael Shikashio:

The aspects of all of those muzzles you just talked about. There's different things that some are better than others in certain categories. And certainly the three things I look for when I'm looking for a muzzle is comfort for the dog. So what's the dog's going to be most comfortable wearing that they can eat drink Pantheon vomit. The second thing I'm looking for is being able to feed treats or food through the muzzle for our training purposes. Then of course the third thing is the safety for whatever the dog is trying to bite. So those are the three major aspects that look forward looking at muzzles and we can talk about you know how to to get treats through muzzles and the best way to feed treats through muzzles. But I did also want to get give a shout out to Amy grievance business it's trust/your/dog.calm which she makes all these great custom muzzles both in biothane and the vinyl style so check that out when you have a chance, treat friendly options are so when we're looking at that we're sometimes sacrificing on the risk safety side if we've got an opening in the front and then sometimes we have some options where we can get even pretty safe muzzles with being able to feed to the front of it and sometimes the side of it with Some dogs and one of the things I use a lot is food tubes. How about you, Sarah? What do you what do you like to see when when using any kind of treats?

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, the Food Tube is probably the main one that I would recommend. And I'm pretty sure that it's you who has a video on YouTube of how to feed through a muzzle. So I think you give like six different ways on how to feed treats or food through muzzles. So that's something that people can check out. Is there a brand of Food Tube that you like?

Michael Shikashio:

So the one that's least it's available in the States, you know, this is the issue sometimes when we're looking at other countries, but it's called coghlan. It's c o g h l a n. Coghlan's camping food today. It's like what people take camping trips with them. But also for it's kind of like an astronaut Food Tube. So it's like, you basically fill it with whatever you want. And then you can squeeze the food out slowly to the dog soft food, like to canned dog food, or, you know, wet food is one way so. So the nice option with that, though, is dogs who are who are on limited diets, or you don't want to give them a lot of junk food, like spray cheese, spray cheese works well as also.

Sarah McManaman:

Spray cheese. I really would like I would love some spray cheese, but I'm sure my dogs would love it as well. But that seems to be an American thing. We don't have that.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, that's when I gave a seminar in France, they were horrified at the thought of spray cheese.

Sarah McManaman:

That sounds delightful. So we have tubes like that, too. I'm thinking of like mountain Equipment Co Op. So it's like a camping store, they have the same like tube type thing. And I even had someone in one of my classes, they were using a ziplock bag. So they just used peanut butter because their dog went crazy for peanut butter. They were like using the freezer styles at block bags. And then they would fill it up and zip it shot and then cut the corner off. So it's like an icing bag, and then just feed it that way. Anything they have a hard time getting your fingers in, I would use a Food Tube or squeeze tube type situation. But most muzzles, you can just feed regular treats through like you can drop food on the ground and the dog can eat it through the muscle. And you can also always keep in mind that you can train so you could maybe a Baskerville isn't the best choice for your dog. But you could still buy Baskerville spend the $30 or whatever they are, and train with that. And then graduate up to the muscle that you're going to use permanently. So using it for its ease of getting your fingers in, and then work it up to one that might be a bit harder to be through.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, and it's funny, when I'm talking to somebody in Canada, the exchange rate and the pricing is different. So they're like, you know, 15 or 17 bucks US dollars here. But there's, you know, $30 Canadian, you guys are always getting the you know, the wrong end of the stick there with the pricing. Shifting into you know, another question. Great question that came in on the Facebook page. The muzzle up projects Facebook page is the changing the public's view on muzzles, you know, so obviously, that's, that's a significant focus of the muzzle up project. What is some of the things that you see working? Well, you know, running the social media accounts now on helping to change the public's perception and when you know, basically, oh, that's cruel, or that's really mean or, you know, you don't look scary with that on.

Sarah McManaman:

Especially when I'm running the social media, I get a ton of people who like to let us know that it's super cool to have a muzzle on the dogs and saying how sad the dogs look. But it's one of those things where you don't know until you know, so you might look at it and think that's horrible. But when you get to know these dogs and get to see how their quality of life improves with the use of a muzzle, they seem to change their tone pretty quickly. I think companies like trust your dog muscles, and all of these companies making biothane muzzles, these brightly colored muzzles. It's almost like a collector's item like people want the happiest prettiest colors on their muzzle. And if you see a dog walking down the street with like a bright hot pink muzzle, you're not going to think the same kind of things as if you see a dog with like, a black muzzle. It's something about black muzzles that people think that it's it's bad, but pretty colors tends to be something popular that people just makes people feel better about putting a muzzle on their dog.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, and I remember I you know don't quote me on this I remember having a conversation with somebody about the the manufacturing process and that the color depending on the color of the rubber or plastic that they're making can make a difference in the strength of it. Like the color of the black. Yeah, yeah, in so that I think that's one of the reasons it might be that the cheapest from a manufacturing standpoint to go with that color. Because Because Baskerville used to have the blue and tan colors and I think pink at one time, but I haven't seen them as much right?

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, that makes sense. Because kongs are the same way right? The black kongs are supposed to be like the extra string. ones. So yeah, that makes sense. Yeah,

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, dont quote me on that and I think that's a conversation I had at a conference somewhere years ago. And so yeah, and again, I want to also give credit, of course, to Maureen Backman, the founder of the muzzle up project who, you know, started this initiative many years ago in helping change the public's perception of muzzles and really bringing awareness of the wonderful benefits the many benefits you were talking about Sarah, earlier on in the show about using muzzles. So shout out to Maureen, who's since moved into a different career path, but she's the one we have to give credit to to getting a gig doing all this hard work to get this, this information out there. And also shout out to Kayla, updated our website from the original iteration.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah. And I didn't realize that our website, people can ask questions on the website. I didn't know that that was happening. And she's been fielding those questions. I saw that the other day. So definitely thank you to her for something we didn't know was happening.

Michael Shikashio:

Yes, the muzzle up project is doing all this stuff, and on their own time. So thank you to the UN. And Kayla, how do you explain to dog owners why your dog is muzzled? So you're out in public somebody says why do you have it? Why is there a muzzle on your dog? What? What are some good responses for your clients? Or for people listening out there? When they get that question.

Sarah McManaman:

I usually just tell them to tell people that their dog eats poop. I mean, even if your dog wants to murder, everyone that walks by just say, Oh, he's cool, because everyone can relate to that we all people just get the X Factor. And then they don't want to talk about it anymore. No one wants to go in depth about the poop and the kind of poop that your dog wants to eat. So brush it off. Because also, I mean, depending on where you live, I live in a city. So odds are I'm not going to see that person again. So you can just give them a kind of flippant passing answer, and you're not going to stop and have a huge conversation about it. Especially if your dog isn't good with other people. You don't want to hang out with a stranger, and then talk to them in depth about it. So just saying, Oh, yeah, my dog eats poop or my dog eat eats rocks or something like that. You don't need to give them your whole life story when you're talking about that kind of thing.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, that's a good answer. One of the things that I stolen from Trish, Trish McMillan, she calls it a party hat. So besides just his party hat, he's got his party hat on and just keep walking kind of leaves them puzzled for saying, what does that mean? And then they giggle about it. Sometimes. That's one way I've dealt with it. You know, you can. Another typical response is Oh, he's just in training. He's in training. And you know, a lot of people say, Oh, it's okay, just keep moving. And that's a lot of times is our goal is just to keep walking and get, you know, you don't want to be hanging out with somebody in their, their other dogs sometimes.

Sarah McManaman:

Because they'll likely then start telling you how to fix the issue. So if you say, Oh, my dog doesn't really like strange men, they go, Well, no dogs love. And then they come over, they want to help you with the issue. So best to just avoid those situations.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, you can even say like it's as COVID mask. That'll keep people guessing as well. So let's move into some more advanced topics and questions that you know, people will sometimes go through the muzzle acclimation process, and then they get stuck at certain points, or certain things come up that become problematic with the muzzle in that process. So one of the questions that came in were, you know, dogs who are fine with the muzzle inside or hanging out inside the home. So you're doing this beautiful muzzle acclimation process, you're following all the videos on the muzzle project, and he gets stuck, and then you go outside, and all sudden the dog freezes, the dog is just stuck out there. You know? So we could probably both talk about this, what do you what are some of the things you might do there to help?

Sarah McManaman:

Well, I always like to remind people that just because your dog knows something fluently in one space doesn't mean that it's going to then immediately translate to another space. So in my baby puppy classes, I remind them just because they can sit in this class doesn't mean that you can then go out into the parking lot and expect them to understand sit means that in all scenarios, so it's kind of the same with muzzles, instead of working on it inside and saying cool, I'm done. Now I can call my walk, go and then repeat the process outside. It's not going to take as long as it did initially inside. But it's good to remind them that it's still just the training process because muzzles can be frustrating for some dogs. So I think that that's a good a good place to start even just going to a park instead of in your yard go to a public place and just work on the muzzle training that you've been doing initially.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, so like a low stress environment sure can be very helpful because we don't- what can happen I see is that the the muzzle conditioning goes well inside. It may not be so much the muzzle itself outside it's that we're back in front of the stressors or the provocative stimuli that that the client was trying to resolve issues around the first place. So it as you mentioned, just go to environment where there's that stressors, not there and try to start working with the dog in that environment. The other thing that I find helpful is So just keep moving for things that can happen as we go out, pu the muzzle on or the muzzles already on the dog, just we don't, there's not a high rate of reinforcement happening or we're not moving. So I actually will do tons of reinforcement and but continually moving. So if the dog knows how to walk on a loose leash, or just follow the owner, I will have them eat, you know, as the owners walking or even backing up or moving in a certain direction, just reinforcing the dog for moving along with them. And it's going to be super high rated reinforcement, or I'm going to use a Food Tube. Because once I find that dogs actually are in locomotion, and rather than standing still and frozen, they start to get used to things. And I'm going to do very short duration. So I'll do like a real upbeat game of Okay, follow me, well, let's go this way, good job and kind of clapping hands and making a real upbeat game, where the game is just follow the owner, follow the owner wherever they're going, and you're going to get reinforced. And I'm we're going to do that for two minutes. And then the muzzles going to come off. So it's a very short, brief, high impact, as far as high excitement kind of game, where the dogs gonna be very excited about doing that. Yeah, yeah. So. So let me see What other questions do we have come in. So tips on conditioning, the muzzle straps behind the head? That's a big step. Right. So we got the muzzle on, and the dogs happily putting their snout in there. And we've done that conditioning process. But how do you move to that next strap step?

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, because I think that all the muzzle training videos that I see are people with their dog putting their nose in the muzzle, and I see a ton of videos online of that, which is awesome. That's definitely the first step. And then that's where it stops, I never see another another one, no one showing the strap behind the head or over the head. I found I was struggling with it. Especially if you're feeding food from your hand through the muzzle, when you go to move your hands behind their head, at least with my dogs, they would take their head out and be like, Hey, where's that treat can going. And so I would pin the muzzle between my knees and then just work on moving my hands beside their head with my criteria being just keep your nose resting in the muzzle just so that they can get used to the hands or behind the head but you have to wait to hear that click for that yes or good before taking your nose out. And the thing that helped me the most though is kind of pre so it depends on what kind of muscle you have to because I know basketball switched to having like the snaps or what do you call them that like...

Michael Shikashio:

quick clip. Yeah, I call it a quick clip. Yeah,

Sarah McManaman:

They switch to those the muscles I have or like the belt style ones already feeding your strap through. So I would have my dog's nose in the muzzle, slide it over his head so it's behind his ears and then just pull the strap so it tightens a little then mark and slide it off and reward him. So already having it pre done and sliding it over the head really helped. I think that was a tip that I got from Trish.

Michael Shikashio:

So do have it like kind of wider with the opening. So like the buckle strap it's so it's real wide so it's easy to slip over their head.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, so I haven't put the little pin through the hole yet. It's pretty wide, slide it over and then tighten it a little and then like just so that they can feel a little bit of pressure and then I can instantly release the pressure because sometimes that makes dogs panic a little and feel trapped. Another thing you can try is without the nose in the muzzle, just try clipping it around the neck. So especially if you have those quick release clasps just clipping it around the dog's neck so they can get used to I see the muzzle I feel it being clipped around my neck. No need to panic.

Michael Shikashio:

So no, the muscles not on their snout. It's just the straps around their neck like a collar almost. Okay, great tips. Those are you know and I really love the one where you're working with your hands you conditioning starting to condition the dog to seeing hands moving around the neck when their stone is in the muzzle So, yeah, great.

Sarah McManaman:

Laura Monaco Torelli does that kind of thing too. She does. Her muzzle training with the muzzle on her lap and her dog rest his head in it. And then she also practices all of her veterinary care stuff that way. So maybe we're looking for good videos. Definitely Look at her videos.

Michael Shikashio:

She's great. So Laura Monaco Torelli. Just repeat her name for the audience is really great about cooperative care and husbandry and all the stuff she's doing. I want to give out a shout out also to our own Deb Jones, who is also got lots of great videos on cooperative care and handling and all that stuff applies. I mean, the muzzle acclamation is very, very, the concepts are so similar to doing husbandry exercises and all kinds of the chin rest behaviors that they're teaching. So definitely check out their stuff. If you're listening in some additional things I was going to mention to being real difficult neck strap kind of issues. It can be you know, where you have it, sort of a slip lead system where you've got the neck strap on a lot Much longer lead to see if you can picture feeding a very thin rope or lead through the small openings of a quick clip harness. So like if you look at a quick clip harness, you've got like these little openings right in front, or I should say behind where the clips would go, do you able to feed a rope through there or something very thin, and then you can be completely hands off hands away, and actually hold the neck strap tight if you have that configuration correct. So if you can kind of picture that where you would be tightening using that slip lead from five or six feet away versus being right near the neck straps. And so that's one option if you're just practicing the actual dog getting that and it also allows you to release it very quickly. So it's a quick the dog feels the next wrap around, but you're not and of course tightening it where it's like tight like a slip lead, you're just tightening it to the extent of the neck strap being secure. But you're not actually clipping it at that point. So that way the dog feels that for a few seconds and then you take and immediately slips off if you needed to. That's an that's one setup that can be very helpful, especially if it's a dog, you're worried about biting you and you're combing through muzzle acclamation.

Sarah McManaman:

I think that's important.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, another one that I've been playing around with using magnets. So you actually so magnets into the neck strap. So it's obviously not securing the neck strap down, you wouldn't rely on just magnets to hold it in place. But it's a quick interim step. So you're not the dog doesn't hear that clipping. Now noise of the actual when you actually clip the neck strap on or you don't have to fussle the buckle or anything like that. So it just allows for quick again why working through the acclimation process, those magnets will just hit each other, the neck straps on the muzzle will be on but you can quickly take it off and you're not fussing around with with clips or buckles like that. So a couple of different things to experiment with if you're getting stuck on the neck strap part another one and that another topic I sometimes that comes up is dogs that resource guard their muscles. And just to explain what that is a little further, you know, dogs that are going to have issue with you we're taking the muzzle away from them. And that might sound really strange for some listeners, because a lot of them are struggling to get their dog maybe near the muzzle at first. But some dogs if you condition the muzzle with some dogs in a certain way, you run sometimes a risk of the dog actually guarding the muzzle and the reason why is because there's food inside. So if you have a dog that has a history of guarding high value food items like you know, a Kong stuffed with cheese, you do want to have exercise some caution when you're acclimating the muzzle or at least taking it off, if there's any remnants of cheese or peanut butter still in there, because it's almost when you think about it, the dogs in possession of the muzzle even though it's on their snout, that's just the same, it's almost the same as if they're holding a stuffed Kong in their mouth. And we don't want to just take that away. And what can happen is I've seen it where the dogs will display aggressive behavior when somebody tries to take the muzzle off, especially if there's something left in there. So one remedy of course is to make sure the dog is finished looking up all the cheese or peanut butter inside the muzzle yeah before trying to take it off. But if you have a history of that it's I find teaching the dogs to target the muzzle rather than using a learner of food inside the muzzle can really be the game changer for them. So making sure just teaching the dog a basic target skill like you know, target nose to hand and then target nose into muzzle. That way the food never happens inside the muzzle and we're not learning the dog into the muzzle. The food always happens outside the muzzle so the dog learns to target just like they would a hand target you mark and reinforce. But the reinforcer happens away from the muzzle. And then you start to of course build duration like you would any other targeting exercise. No it goes into muzzle no stays there longer. And then we're going to mark and then reinforce the dog outside the muzzle that way the muzzle doesn't have any food value. And it can avoid those resource guarding issues. And you were talking about one of the videos that marine had up, you want to talk more about that there.

Sarah McManaman:

I don't really remember one of those like, it's like the three M's sticky things that you stick on the wall and then it has a hook on it so you can hang things. I can't remember if it was a video or just a picture, but she would hang the muzzle in it so it was facing straight out. So the dog would go and target his nose against the wall. And I thought that was a pretty creative idea.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, super creative because then it keeps the person's hands away also and makes it really removes the food out of the equation of the muzzle itself. Right. You take some food all completely out of muzzle and away from it so it doesn't become necessary resource to guard. What else? What was some of the other questions that we had were also on the fit. So let's get into that and the types of muzzle So one of the questions is how do I prevent rubbing sores and make sure that my dog is comfortable? I think one of the issues when you seeing sores or rubbing it means either the muzzles not fit correctly, or the dogs pointing at it, and we've got to work more towards the right acclimation process. So kind of a multi part question here. But why don't you jump in on on proper fitting because I know you've been digging deep into the actual fit of muzzles lately,

Sarah McManaman:

Rabbit hole hitting muscles, so you can alter your muscles. So I see a lot of people using things like belt or biothane, or like sheepskin, or fat wrap something to kind of cushion it on the nose, because maybe it's the material the muzzle itself on the nose. That's creating sores. So adding something soft on the part that catches your dog's nose, that can really help with any rubbing sores. But I find some dogs like my sister's Pitbull, even just having a collar on the dog would just rub all the fur off of her like right away. So it would definitely differ between dogs. And we can also prevent that by just having a properly fitted muzzle, I've learned that if you're looking for a muzzle and you're going on a muzzle dealer's website, don't tell them what kind of dog you have. So don't say I have a German shepherd and they go cool, I'll give you the German Shepherd size, because I will often just not be big enough, it will be big enough for your dog's nose to get in, but not leave that room that they need to pants and take treats and drink water and all the stuff that we need to see. So we want to see a muzzle that's big enough for the dog to fully open their mouth and pant. So it kind of I feel like it kind of depends on where you live to and the kind of activities that your dog does. If you're out hiking with your dogs and a muzzle they need to be able to fully open their mouth and pant because that's how they cool themselves off, right. So you don't want to inhibit them from cooling themselves off and then have a dog that you have to go to the vet. So you want to when you're measuring you're looking at length, width, so width across the top of their muzzle, the height of their muzzle, both open and close. And then the circumference both open and closed. I've also learned that on the website, they don't really give the proper sizing like sometimes the measurements are wrong too, which seems extremely stressful to me. So we were talking about there's a group called muzzle training and tips. And they have compiled a ton of measurements. So people with their hands on the muzzle, actually measuring things out. So that would be a good place to look. If you've got a dog with kind of a weird shaped face. Definitely check that out. I've also seen a couple muzzles where they've got the muzzles stamp is the wrong size. So say it was I don't know what the sizes were, but they had the wrong number stamped on it. So the dog got a muzzle smaller than it should have. Definitely check and double check when ordering muzzles. But I think that's the main thing to keep in mind. You want your dog to be able to open their mouth. I see a lot of muzzles, especially on Instagram, where it's the kind of muzzle that just holds their mouth shut. Yes, they won't be able to bite anybody if you hold their motion, but they also can't breathe and do the things that dogs need to do. So I think that's something that not enough people are aware of that hopefully when they hear this, they go, Oh, okay, should be getting a bigger muscle than the one that I actually have right now.

Michael Shikashio:

What about that? There's a great rule of thumb out there that's been making the rounds about hold the dog being able to hold like a tennis ball in their mouth and be able to have the muzzle on at the same time.

Sarah McManaman:

That's definitely one way to do it. For sure.

Michael Shikashio:

I think breed specific, right? If it's a chihuahua holding a tennis ball, that's a little if it could hold the tennis ball. So yes, the muzzle might be a little too large dogs or the muzzle or tennis ball.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah. What do you think about muscle sizing?

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, I think one of the things to think about if especially going back to, you know, dogs that have the rubbing, chafing or really pulling off trying to pull the muzzle up, oftentimes, again, is wrong to just not fitting Well, it's irritating them in some way. And so what I often recommend is, if that's the case, and even if you've gone with the same brand and gotten the right size, sometimes it's helpful to actually switch the actual brand in material of the muzzle, is that gonna make a big difference for the dog? They're saying, oh, when it was this particular material, I really didn't like that. But no, this is different. So sometimes you can speed up the conditioning process in that particular aspect, but just by switching the brand and type of muzzle. Now of course, considering you have to consider the safety and risk gas aspects you were we were talking about earlier on. But yeah, switching switching can definitely help with the sizing. And I think Yeah, just learning how to measure properly is very important. Yeah, those aspects, you're just mentioned just the proper breathing and proper height, width, circumference and length of the muzzle, making sure it's not sitting on the nose making sure the nose isnt on the dogs nose because that's, that's very irritating, I find too many dogs, the muzzle is actually sitting on the leather of the nose, or the nose itself.

Sarah McManaman:

And you'd be surprised a dog that might hate their muscle, if you get a properly sized muscle, it's going to make a world of difference. And I will say that the wire muscles, you might feel that it's metal, so it's going to be super heavy. But often we see dogs, you get those wire basket muscles and they're like a totally different dogs with their muzzle on just because it fits better. So it makes a huge difference.

Michael Shikashio:

It's not uncommon for people to go out and buy a couple 2,3,4 different muscles and you know you till you till you have the right fit. It's just like shoe shopping, right? Right sneakers or whatever. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the right one.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, and it's okay to say you're hunting for the right muscle. Just go buy a Baskerville that's big enough for them to be able to do all that stuff while you're training. Because for some dogs, you don't want to put off the training process waiting for something that's going to take like a month to ship depending on where you live. So getting a different type just for training purposes will probably be a good idea for most people.

Michael Shikashio:

And people can start the training process you know right away even with just household objects, you know, getting a large, Wide Open Cup, plastic cup or something depending again on the size of the dog, but you know, or one of those traffic cones. I've seen that being done as well just to teach the dog to put their snout into something and get start getting comfortable with that actual targeting aspect.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, and a good first step for people would be teaching a chin rest, so teaching them to rest their chin in your hand. I think an Emily Laurel hams video, so Kiko pup in her video, her first step is teaching your dog to calmly rest their chin in your hand, because that's so easily transferable to a muzzle that you don't even have to have a muzzle to start.

Michael Shikashio:

Yeah, and one of the other comments was, you know, how do I get my dog to stop pulling the muzzle off when I put it on. And it goes back to again, proper fit, right? proper conditioning and taking back, you know, you might have to go back a few steps in that process, you might want to teach much shorter durations. And then switching the brand of muscle again, might really help speed up that process of going back to basics of muscle conditioning, waiting before we actually go for longer durations with that new muscle to ensure we're not also creating a negative association with that new muscle can go a long way. And then of course, just you know, keeping the dog moving. I can't reiterate that particular step enough because it can be super helpful, especially outside the home.

Sarah McManaman:

And it always makes sense to maybe even go slower than you need. You're never going to benefit by skipping steps and rushing ahead because it's like they say you can't cut more wood on if you cut off too much to begin with. But you can always cut more off, so it's better to go. Even if you're like my dogs super confident they're not going to care. Take your time anyway. There's nothing to lose by taking it slowly. And there's a lot of good videos I like Kiko pups video and Chirag Patel. Am I saying his name right you you are

Michael Shikashio:

okay. He's got he's got like the the most probably the most watched classic muzzle acclamation video.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah. And you have a good one. And so does Amber Aquart. Do you do show notes for your podcast?

Michael Shikashio:

I do. Yeah.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, I'll send you links for the videos that I like so that if anyone's wondering how they can start training their dog to wear a muzzle, we've got all the videos there for them.

Michael Shikashio:

Perfect. And we've got all of a lot of great videos on the muzzle off project website, of course. So you can send your clients there. Or if you have questions with your own dog, you can you can check out that website. So one last question that or it was more of a comment on the Facebook feed that we had was you know muzzle use in shelters with aggressive dogs. And so it's when I'm working in any kind of context of any type of training or behavior change strategy with with the dogs. I'm always looking at context. And that's really important because, you know, like, with the workshop that you've attended that Trish and I do you know, it really is contextual, what tools and what techniques we're using because with shelter dogs is different. We often don't have the luxury of time to acclimate muzzles. So sometimes we do some need to put on a muzzle, obviously for emergency scenarios, but also for if we're trying to, we're looking at efficiencies in the amount of time we have. So there are cases where, you know, some shelter playgroups. They might use muzzles for safety. So it's not To say they're taking these dogs and this is a common misconception that they're taking these dogs with really huge histories of dog aggression and just throwing them into groups and letting them work it out. It's not like that at all. It's just as we mentioned in the beginning of the show why muscles are used as for the safety aspect, that you know, most of these dogs were are going to be just fine, but we because we might see some subtle signals, they might say, let's use a muzzle just in case to prevent any injuries or escalation. And oftentimes, those go dogs go out to the playgroup, and they they start playing around with the other dogs and they're just fine that muzzle comes off and it was just as a safety and you might see some of those aspects the dogs like what's the summer face and they're trying to pull it off initially, but as soon as you get them out there again if you get them moving they quickly seem to forget about the muzzles in most cases and again that's the get shelter specific playgroup specific scenario if it's with our clients, dogs, it's gonna be a much different approach because we have the luxury of time in most of those cases. So Sarah, thanks for coming on the show. Where can where can people find you if they want to follow your Instagram? You've got a great Instagram channel as well.

Sarah McManaman:

Yeah, so you can find my dog walking at on Instagram and Facebook called Wild canines. And then the dog training is sublime canine services on both Instagram and Facebook.

Michael Shikashio:

Awesome. And you can find the muzzle up project at muzzleupproject.com and on Facebook, The Muzzle Up Project and on Instagram Muzzle_up_project but if you just search that up, it'll come right up. There's plenty of great hashtags out there for the #muzzleup, which is a great one to follow if you are into muzzles. Sarah thanks again for coming on the show. It was really great conversation. I'm glad we got to chat about muzzles, and I hope to see you again in the future. Yeah, thank you for having me.