My Muzzle My Friend!
When speaking of dogs, the word "muzzle" can create a mental picture of a vicious, snarling, slobbering, mean spirited dog.
Yet many of us can picture a Greyhound in full stride, blazing around the racetrack wearing a white racing muzzle. Are they wearing these muzzles because they're vicious, snarling and mean? Absolutely not. Racing Greyhounds wear the white muzzles to better determine which hounds nose is in front at the end of the race. This is very important when you have what is commonly know as a "photo finish."
The type of muzzle used when not racing is called a basket muzzle. Referred to as the "kennel" muzzle or the "turnout" muzzle. These are the muzzles worn by the Greyhounds when they are hanging out in turnout pens and stretching their legs. They also may use them for schooling (practice runs) the dogs. The Greyhound is used to wearing a muzzle. In fact he often associates the muzzle with going out to play or run with his buddies.
Though many adoptive parents cringe at the mere thought of using the muzzle. Greyhound owners must understand that the use of the muzzle may be the very best tool one could have. Greyhounds are just like any other dog, some chew on things and some don't. While a muzzle cannot stop ALL chewing, it can be a great deterrent for any mischievous behavior. Greyhounds love remote controls and cordless telephones, mainly because the smell of your hand is very prevalent on those items. But, it is not very amicable to have your Greyhound belch and the channel change on the TV! Not only that, but batteries would not be good things to eat or have explode all over your carpet! Window blinds can be easily chewed on, it would be best to keep the cord out of the dogs gut. A couple things can happen, the dog can die or you will spend a load of money on surgery to remove the cord and save your dogs life. You need to think about your new Greyhound as a baby and the muzzle is one of the tools for baby proofing your dog!
The muzzle is also thought of as a piece of sports equipment. Whenever large groups or even just as many as two Greyhounds are allowed to run in a large fenced in area, it is best to use muzzles on the dogs. One of the dogs is sure to get competitive and get pushy with the other. This is not a sign of aggression, its a sign of good training. For the first years of his life, the dog was taught to get out in front, lead the pack and get to the finish line first. When he is running free in a large group of dogs he will instantly go back to his race days and want to lead the pack. This is natural behavior for your Greyhound. When you see a group of Greyhounds playing in a field you will see lots of posturing, mouthing and bumping. Its easy for the dogs to get carried away when they play therefore the muzzle could be a lifesaver.
A few other uses for the muzzle would be introductions. Introducing new dogs, any breed, any size can be a bit tense. Since your Greyhound is used to the muzzle, let him wear it and save yourself any unforeseen nastiness. But please make sure the other dog is also properly restrained. It would not be a fair fight for the Greyhound if he cannot defend himself. Lets hope that never happens, but introductions do take time and patience.
Introducing your Greyhound to cats is another fine example of "muzzlery!" You would not want your new Greyhounds first meal to be Fluffy the family cat! Therefore a muzzled Greyhound can sniff the cat and get used to her without doing any harm. This is also a way to protect your dog from any wild paw punches the cat may want to throw at the Greyhound.
If your dog ever gets injured, the first thing you should do is get the muzzle on him. An injured dog is also a scared dog and he may decide to snap if he is messed with or if you touch what's hurting him. Muzzling is also a good idea when your snipping nails. Until you get the hang of nail trims, you may snip the quik a couple times. This is painful, but when muzzled, your dog will not hurt you and the only thing injured will be your pride. You will get the hang of nail trims, just practice!
Where can you get a muzzle? If you adopted a dog from PRH you were given a new muzzle. We also sell the basket muzzles for $20.00 each, they come in large and small. Typically the males get a large and females get smaller ones.