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  • Muzzle-free grooming

    I've never felt the need for muzzles and quite frankly, I feel they can quite possibly cause even more distress in some dogs, so I don't even own one. However, I do own a Groomers Helper and it's worth it's weight in gold. I do know when to say enough is enough and refer to a vet for sedation, but I've been successful SO FAR and only had to send 2 dogs away.

    This fella I've been grooming for nearly two years and he's never had a muzzle on in my shop. I couldn't do him if it were not for the GH.
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  • #2
    muzzles are a blessing

    most dogs snap reflexively- not meaning to bite so why risk your precious assets when a muzzle calms MOST dogs right down. Less body wrestling and no need to tie the dog down. Puppies often benefit from a few sessions with a muzzle especially when they have been overindulged by loving owners... I keep 3 sizes in my box for the youngsters and a couple of old die hards who refuse to be brushed without one... Not carrying a groomers helper around in Bitsy....

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    • #3
      I feel there is a time an place for using a muzzle and that using a muzzle can be a nice step before sedation. That said, every groomer has the right to determine what pets they will and will not groom. If your choice is to aviod muzzles, cool. Muzzles don't have to be a bad experience.

      I will use a muzzle when I feel it necessary. When I was in grooming school, the head instructor didn't like us to use muzzles. I was grooming one nasty little creature and she kept coming around and removing the muzzle from the dog. She would also remove the grooming loop. After re-muzzling the little "sweetheart" for the third time I was ready when she came by again and confronted her. Told her straight up that the next time she removed the muzzle from that dog she was finishing the dog and I was done for the day and that I was choosing to not be bit that day.

      There certainly are dogs that get upset over muzzles. Many dogs go completely compliant once muzzled. I choose to muzzle rather than being bit. I also choose to work with dogs who can easily be groomed once muzzled. If they still pose a danger once muzzled, either to themselves or to people, then I will send them elsewear. I think my veterinary background and my work with chow rescue makes me pretty comfortable with the use of muzzles.

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      • #4
        If it comes down to choosing between the dog being muzzled and me getting bit, the dog gets muzzled.

        Muzzles don't hurt dogs. On the other hand, a dog bite can hurt me pretty good if it lands in the right location. And I have zero interest in being the target of a dog that thinks I deserve to be bitten for simply attempting to clean him up a little.

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        • #5
          I'm not of the camp that thinks they are bad, but every dog reacts differently. Just like the GH can't work on everyone, a muzzle won't always either. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. That's the nature of working with individuals! The shop I work at now has a no muzzle policy that I am alright with. Not that my boss will force me to groom dangerous dogs without one, but she doesn't want me to groom a dog that will put me in jeopardy period. I know exactly where mine and the dog's limits are and will not push the line. Sometimes I will send them home for the day and have them come back later when they are in a better frame of mind. I've never had to (yet!) fire a client for being too aggressive.

          I will say that if a dog only bites for one thing (Ex: nails) then I will bob and weave! Most of the time I know how to face the dog's head away from me so they can't reach me. I did have a severely abused schnauzer yesterday who was 2 and had never been groomed. His owners were doing it. The second I went to go by his ears he flipped out. I had to grab a ribbon really quick to calm him down and he did well after I got it across to him I wasn't going to hurt him. Muzzles have a time and a place. I've been doing this for 8 years and haven't been bitten ever. I know it's when and not if, but I think 8 years is a pretty good track record! So I like the way I do it. Works for me.
          There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.

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          • #6
            I actually find that some dogs calm right down when you muzzle them. They know they can't bite so they just give up. I try to avoid muzzling a dog if possible. I'd rather work with them and train them to behave. But some dogs are going to bite no matter what. Of the 3000-4000 grooming clients that we have there is only 1 dog that has to be muzzled for the whole grooming process, and then maybe 4 or 5 others that have to be muzzled for toenails or whatever. Not a bad ratio if ya ask me.
            We also do not use groomer's helpers.

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            • #7
              Like any tool a muzzle can be abused. The groomer I started under (at a vet's office) would use 1 hand to masturbate the male dogs while grooming them and muzzle the females and spank them on the face with the back of a brush if they moved or made sounds she did not like.

              I, OTOH, prefer to start out using a muzzle if the dog bites. I put it on and start as well as end the groom with affection. I have not sent any dogs to the vet groomer yet, mostly because I know they don't have any more magic touch than I do. The dog either gets muzzled or it gets sedated. If you find a muzzle to be cruel perhaps you should consider one that is NOT cruel. I always recommend these: http://www.doglikenature.com/store/i....Softie.Muzzle

              The dog can breathe, pant, bark, gripe, everything except bite. I'd say that is pretty humane.
              "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
              People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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              • #8
                Thats a great pic,,,lol,,, I don't own any muzzles for housecall, but do use them once in a blue moon at the shop. I can usually get my housecall cients to settle down, I think mostly cause they are at home , and I can take my time. The few that I do muzzle, I just don't trust! I hate using them, but I like having my fingers also,,,

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                • #9
                  I rarely muzzle but certainly will when I feel it's necessary. I should qualify that. If a dog is so "bad" that it needs to be muzzled for the entire grooming, I won't even take that dog. If it has issues with certain areas being handled, I will if necessary. "Necessary" is when my heart starts hammering loudly due to my being snapped at. I am always surprised to hear people say that muzzles can cause worse behavior- I just haven't seen that. At best it calms them a little; at worst the behavior's the same.
                  The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

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                  • #10
                    My hands are my "money makers" so if need be I'm going to protect them. This being said I'm not as muzzle happy as I used to be. I now own the soft type muzzles that are more of a basket style as not to restrict breathing and they've worked wonderfully when I needed them. I have a jack that I do periodically and without a muzzle he'll tag you out of no where with no warning, throws himself around.... a full on fit while on the table or tub. With a muzzle he's a perfect angel and just stands perfectly still. It's like I've taken the "pressure" off him as to try and react to me touching him. Now there is a flip side as well. I have a lot of clients that the more restriant ie muzzles, helpers you apply the more they freak out. With those it's best to be a calm assertive and just reassure throughout the groom. Some have to be sedated at the vet to get nails clipped or put up a huge fight....then the owners are shocked that I can do them without a struggle with just a little patience and calm.

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                    • #11
                      I do want to point out that all muzzles apply pressure up at the stop on a dog, this is actually been proven to relax dogs. So, I prefer NOT to think of them as muzzles since I am actually trying to "calm the pet" but more of a "Nose Mitten" :-)

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                      • #12
                        I'll admit that I have a wide variety of muzzles and know when to use them. It is a last resort but I feel they have a place. If a dog is overly stressed by one then off it comes but I find that the few I use them on tolerate it well and calm down when it's on. Some of the dogs that I use a muzzle on it for their protection not mine. These kids don't snap and me the love to snap at the scissors or nail trimmers and if a muzzle keeps their tongues safe then I'm for it. I do have a groomers helper but some of my smaller dogs seem to be able to wiggle right out of it and a few I do can't stand to be held like that. If muzzle free works for you that's great but muzzles can be used safely and affectively.
                        "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
                        and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck
                        www.wagmoresalon.com

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                        • #13
                          I work at a vet so I'm one of the people that all those really hard to handle dogs get sent to. My vets and usually the owners of the pets prefer if I try to groom with a muzzle before sedation. Mainly because of cost but also because sedation requires one of the vets or techs to sit with the dog until we bring him out of it. Besides that, EVERY animal I've had to groom under sedation has also have to be muzzled. They might be out of it...but they still snap. Muzzles are a -definite- must for me. That said, they sure don't protect from every injury. I had a 200 pound obese, blind, deaf chow mix the other day that was fine for shaving his back but as soon as I went lower he began to attack and charge through the muzzle. He couldn't bite but he was able to smack my tech right in the face with his muzzle and gave her a pretty good fat lip.

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                          • #14
                            "Nose Mitten"!! Love it. I think for most dogs it's like swadling a baby. It's a calming thing. I've used muzzles on dogs that aren't offering to bite, but are anxious or fidgety. Gives 'em something to focus on. I had my muzzles made for me, they are heavy saddle leather with smooth edges and smooth rivets. A guy that specialized in making "other" kinds of leather gear made them for me. Imagine his surprise when he realized what the muzzles were for?!

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                            • #15
                              A groomer without a muzzle

                              will get bite,if you think a GH will save you and how do you get a biting dog into the set up ?. And that Groomers helper,which I do not believe in or would never use ,it is more of a restraining devise,then any muzzle(and I don't wanta hear from any of you Groomer Helpers groupies,go cry to inventor of that thing)Let's remember dogs are taught bad behavior ,it's up to a groomer to re teach them to be good,placing the muzzle on the dog,is a way of re teaching them, in a calm learning environment to guide them throw the grooming routine easy,I only kept a muzzle on for a few minutes,and talk and reassure the pet. I have reformed many of dogs over the years(27th year) with this method. Let's start talking with the pet we groom and not just placing them in this devises(GH) . I will muzzle a cat also,




                              Originally posted by neanea View Post
                              I've never felt the need for muzzles and quite frankly, I feel they can quite possibly cause even more distress in some dogs, so I don't even own one. However, I do own a Groomers Helper and it's worth it's weight in gold. I do know when to say enough is enough and refer to a vet for sedation, but I've been successful SO FAR and only had to send 2 dogs away.

                              This fella I've been grooming for nearly two years and he's never had a muzzle on in my shop. I couldn't do him if it were not for the GH.
                              Last edited by desertdogs64; 05-03-10, 02:46 PM. Reason: spelling

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