For 40+ years we've helped over 300,000 dog trainers just like you!

Learn more about Leerburg

$6.99 Flat Rate Shipping

Learn more
Ask Cindy Our Newsletter Free Catalog
Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Muzzles Q&A

Muzzles Q&A

Muzzles Q&A

Have a question you can't find the answer to?
Check out our Leerburg Questions and Answers
with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.

  1. Do you think that we should initially use muzzles when handling a newly bought 1-year GSD?

  2. My dog has been swallowing acorns and it has been very costly and making her sick. What type of muzzle would you recommend?

  3. My mixed pup chews through every collar and harness I put on him. Is this correctable?How?

  4. I need a muzzle for a situation involving a rescue Bichon who I've adopted and who is a fear biter. I thought that a cloth muzzle would be the best, but after reading your site I am unsure. What do you suggest?

  5. I want to upgrade to better muzzles to prevent my dogs from fighting. What do you suggest?

  6. Do you know of a muzzle that is "escape proof"?

  7. I have a Pekingese, would the Pug-nosed cloth muzzle cover the dog's eyes?

  8. My has been chewing on the carpet and his way out of crates. I was wondering if a wire basket type muzzle you carry would work so he could still pant and drink water.

  9. We have a 6 year old  Male Lahsa Apso.  We need to find a muzzle to fit him.  When we took him to the vet on saturday they have insisted that we have a muzzle on him next time we bring him in.  Any advice as to which would be best for us?

  10. I have a 2 year old shih tzu who is can be unpredictably aggressive.  She weights about 13 pounds.  Would a muzzle be appropriate for her, which one should I use?

  11. I was wondering if they made any kind of muzzle that my dog could wear during the day that would allow him to still eat and drink.

  12. I am confused whether I would like to purchase the plastic one or fabric for my Lhasa Apso. Could you please help me in choosing the right muzzle for him?

  13. I need a type of muzzle for my dogs to keep them from eating potentially harmful things when they are out - what do you recommend?

  14. My dogs snout makes contact with the inside of the muzzle. Is this the proper fit?

  15. I was wondering how the wire muzzle would work during the winter months. Wouldn’t the dog’s tongue and/or nose stick to the wire in cold weather? If the dog drank while wearing the muzzle, is there any problem with ice freezing on the muzzle or on the dog?

  16. My dog will chew his leash in half during a correction, what should I do?

  17. We're having issues with our pup being more interested in eating snow, than drinking water. We were considering using a muzzle to keep him from eating snow. Any suggestions?

  18. I have a 5 month old dog that eats pebbles and anything else he finds. I’m worried about a bowel obstruction, what can I do?

  19. My dog eats trash and other dangerous items on our walks, would a muzzle or ecollar be a solution to this problem?

  20. I have one of your wire muzzles for my dog, can I fasten her leash directly to the muzzle?

  21. I have a 13 year old female GSD that has recently been engaging in some bizarre behavior. She has been digging up and eating dirt from the yard. I am thinking that this is a behavior that can be curbed by putting a muzzle on her to prevent the dirt eating. Do you have any suggestions as to the length of muzzle I should get?


Do you think that we should initially use muzzles when handling a newly bought 1-year GSD? I know, with some dogs, this won’t be necessary.



Most 1 year old dogs will be fine without a muzzle.  However, if this dog is coming to you with aggression problems of any kind I would suggest you be prepared and have one ready.

I would consult with the previous owner of this dog, and ask if this dog has any issues with people, other dogs, other animals, the vet, etc..

I hope this helps.


I have a min. schnauzer and we have 2 acres fenced in with 40 trees that have thousands of acorns falling well she happened to swallow an acorn and it cost me almost all the money I have to determine her problem, the acorn was in the intestines. The vet charged me 4000 dollars even though I mentioned the acorn right from the beginning. I need a muzzle that is comfortable and she cannot take off or get an acorn in her mouth I had the wrap around mesh but I don't think it helped because she is showing symptoms of having another foreign object, vomiting some. Do you have a suggestion on the type of muzzle that will be adequate for this problem, plus comfortable?   

Thank You,


This would be the muzzle I would use for your problem.  directions on how to measure your dog are linked to this page.

If this were my dog, I would be supervising at all times even with a muzzle.  As you are finding out, a mistake can not only cost you a lot of money but it could potentially cost your dog her life.


I have a behavior problem with my ten month old mixed breed pup. She has the potential to be a good sled dog because she is very strong, but she chews up every harness I put on her. I can't afford much more, so its limiting how much I can really work with her on this. I enjoy recreation sledding and skijoring, but she is capable of complete destruction of her harness in just the time it takes me to hook myself up or to walk to the back of the sled. She even chews on the front strap while we're running. I also cannot seem to keep her in a collar since her head seems to be smaller than her neck. She slips them off and then chews them up! Is this correctable? How? Thank you for your time,



Unless you can correct her every single time she does this BEFORE she actually chews through the harness or collar, prevention may be the solution.

I would look into getting a properly fitted muzzle for her, so she can’t get the reinforcement of chewing. I would use a wire muzzle, so she can get the airflow she needs while running.

Here is an article with directions on how to measure your dog for a muzzle.

Hope this helps.



I need a muzzle for a situation involving a rescue Bichon who I've adopted and who is a fear biter. He is difficult/impossible to leash by anyone but me.  I thought the cloth muzzle could be left on while he was in his crate (it is a very large comfy den, which he likes) so that in the event I have to be away, he could still eat and drink, but not bite any caregiver who would be caring for him and having to leash him to go out for walks, etc. in my absence.  He would have to be crated because he would run and avoid leashing if loose in the house and a stranger or semi-stranger came in.  

I noticed on your web site that the cloth muzzles state they cannot pant, eat or drink with those.  At the vet, they may have used a larger size than needed, but I thought my little guy could pant and open his mouth slightly (possibly "nip" but not full bore "bite") with the blue cloth muzzle.  I called your website just a few minutes ago and they said to check with you.  I would think  cloth muzzle would be less prone to catching in a crate than a wire muzzle.

What do you suggest?  The important thing is to have a muzzle that can be kept on him while he is in the crate and under the care of another person because obviously, if it is not on, he cannot be leashed or walked without biting anyone who tries to care for him.  It takes him a period of months to bond and trust someone, which is difficult to accomplish given the occasional times I'd be using the services of another caregiver.  He was quite physically abused in a kennel situation (hitting,kicking, catch pole, etc.) and is very fearful and distrustful, particularly when confined - unless of course, it is me.  It took me 4 solid months of 24-7 patience and carefulness and consults/classes with a behaviorist to get him to transfer unconditional trust to me.

So, a muzzle is my only hope for intermittent care situations i.e.. if  I need to be gone overnight. Any suggestions for something comfortable that will protect him and others from his fear reactions, and yet is comfortable, would be appreciated.



I explain on our web site that cloth muzzles are OK for doing a Vet exam. They are not and should NEVER be used for long term use on a dog. Not only for the panting but they are pretty easy to get off.

We have wire basket muzzles and plastic muzzles that work for what you describe. If they are properly fit they don’t come off. If you order one and its not the correct size you can return it for a different size (as long as it has not been used and it can be sold to another customer as a brand new muzzle).

I have a section on my web site about fear biters. Bottom line is these dogs respond well to pack structure training and obedience training. They want and need a good pack leader. They respond to pack leader rules because they want to fell good – they don’t want to be fearful and most importantly they don’t want to be pack leaders.

I would recommend that you get two of my DVDs:

Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog

Basic Dog Obedience

If you choose to do this I recommend getting a dominant dog collar and learn to use it. Dogs like yours need to learn that every instance of unwarranted aggression results in a correction and that correction needs to be strong enough that the dog remembers it the next time he thinks about being aggressive. When dogs like this have a pack leader they trust and respect these aggressive episodes go away and the dogs become calm and submissive because they believe the leader will take care of business.

Read the free eBook I wrote titled MY PHILOSOPHY OF DOG TRAINING. My web site has a large number of FREE eBooks that I have written. Go to the main directory for eBooks, it will help you.


Hey, I have a question about your muzzles. I have two male hounds just reached two and they have been together since 2006 with no problems until now. It is a pecking order thing that has gotten worse one fight. I have wire mess muzzles that are working ok that I had to modify with a strap between the ears to keep them from pulling them off. I have several of your videos - dominant dog and becoming the pack leader. I have read and listened to all or your info on the site. Since using the muzzles after the first meeting they have settled down and no fighting and have started to play again but are still trying to figure it out I think. I want to upgrade to a better muzzle. What I have works but the center strap falls in their face. They play very hard and I don't want another fight so I need to know that what I am getting is not going to be able to be pulled off. Thanks in advance, I enjoy your information and I am constantly reading as much as I can get my hands on.

Have a great day, 


I will be very honest with you.

Muzzles just cover the problem. These dogs will eventually become de-sensitized to them and the fight will be on again. They are just now maturing and the process is not done.

I would never do what you are doing. I would never allow two adult males – especially two who have already fought – to play together. I would not even allow them to be together unless I was 100% in control and they were 150% obedience trained under distraction.

If I ever did let them be together they would be on a walk with me and I would not allow them to play. In fact I would stop any interaction. I would have them both wear remote collars – the new Dogtra collars have a button for each dog.

I would probably (for safety sake) have them wear a muzzle. At least until I was 200% sure they were obedience and reliable under the collar. Their exercise would come from the walks and not from their play. If they needed additional exercise I would have them wear weighted vests or packs with weight.

You are really playing with dynamite here. I am writing a book on dog aggression and have been collecting emails from people with aggression issues for 3 or 4 years. I have a folder of emails from people that ended up with a dead dog – I'll use these emails to make a point in the book.


My name is Ralph. I am the Owner/Head Trainer of my own dog training business in Charlottesville, Va called Atlantic Coast K-9 Training Service. I have been a professional dog trainer for 10 years and spent several years before that involved in Search and Rescue work, so I am by no means an amateur. With that being said, right now I'm a little bit lost and need some help. I'm currently in the process of training a 10 month old Shepherd/Chow mix who is Dominant aggressive. Unfortunately, even after carefully evaluating him and working with him for 1 previous week, the aggression wasn't apparent.  Until yesterday. To make a long story short, he bit me. Nothing serious in terms of my injuries, but bad enough to know that this dog, being at about 85 pounds now and being aggressive, is very dangerous.  I immediately put on a leather muzzle ( the black ones), which I purchase from Leerburg, and he promptly put his paw on the side of it and pulled it off in a matter of seconds. I've had dogs get out of the cheaper muzzles but this was a first for the leather one. It was the correct size and I had it buckled down so tight that I couldn't budge it, yet this dog ripped it off in seconds.  His name is Hercules so I guess he is living up to his name. Anyway, have you ever experienced that with this particular muzzle and is there a better, escape proof muzzle out there? When I called Leerburg and spoke with someone, they told me that the Police style leather ones are built a little better than the black leather ones, but are they escape proof or are there ANY that are 100% escape proof?  My only thought at this point is to Jerry-Rig something where I can fasten the buckle on this collar to the pinch collar (which I use). If I fit the pinch collar so that it corrects from the top and attach the neck buckle on the muzzle to the O-ring of the collar, I believe it would prevent the dog from being able to pull off the muzzle while still allowing the collar to function properly. I do put my aggressive dogs in a harness so that I can attach a back line to them for safety, but that only helps to a point, I have to get him muzzled.

Any ideas?  I'm certainly open for suggestions. Thanks!!!!!



I don’t think any muzzle can be called 100% escape proof.  I was a professional groomer for over 15 years (in addition to being a trainer) and I specialized in difficult dogs.  I had one dog I “double muzzled” for a number of years.  

With a dog like Hercules, I might suggest this inexpensive solution.  I would put one of our cloth muzzles on him very snug.  Then put the leather muzzle over that.  If he gets the leather one off, then you still have a back up.  (It could be that the leather muzzle just isn’t the best fit for him, if he can get it off that easily.)

The particular aggressive dog I dealt with learned when the muzzle came off he could bite right away, so I used 2 and after a number of sessions he learned that getting the muzzle off didn’t do a thing for his situation.  

I would say that after working with this dog for years, he was the worst one I ever dealt with so I learned to be creative.


I have a Pekingese that may need a muzzle because he is starting to bite at times. This (pug-nosed cloth) muzzle looks like it covers the dogs eyes... Is this true?

Thank you,


Yes it can and most of the time does cover their eyes.  Only for this breed and in this style of cloth muzzle.



I have a 7 month Cane Corso and he has been chewing on the carpet, etc. I know - put him in a crate. I have been through 2. He chews his way out. I know you have the type he won't go through, but I was wondering if a wire basket type muzzle you carry would work so he could still pant and drink water. I look forward to hearing from you.

Adam from IL


If he chews his way out of crates, then you need a better crate or have him wear a muzzle inside the crate.  For dogs like this, physical and mental exercise goes a long way to make them behave more calmly in the crate. 

Here is the page of our muzzles, and here are the crates we offer.

You might want to read this article about Dogs that Break out of Crates.



We have a 6 year old,  Male Lahsa Apso, 22 lbs that we rescued 2 years ago.  We need to find a muzzle to fit him my wife has purchased 2 and they don't fit.  When we took him to the vet on saturday they have insisted that we have a muzzle on him next time we bring him in.  He hates anyone going near his face. They finally had to sedate him to examine him.  He has bitten us several times since we rescued him.  But my wife refuses to put him down, she thinks there's a good dog in there.  We don't know much about his life prior to us adopting him. We thought he had turned around he hadn't tried biting anyone for almost a year and he went for me a couple of weeks ago.  Your muzzle seems nice looking, the only thing I see he would not be able to drink with it on. and it maybe hard to put on him since it has to be buckled instead of a quick release.  Thank you for any information.



We have a good page of information on how to measure your dog for a muzzle,  if you need to talk to someone about which muzzle would be best you can call our office 715-235-6502 between 8 and 5 Central time.

While a muzzle will prevent your dog from biting, it really doesn’t address the behavior your dog is showing.   Most likely you have not established clear leadership with your dog, and if we don’t give dogs the leadership they need then they will structure things in their own way. This is absolutely normal dog behavior, but I would make a couple of recommendations in addition to a muzzle.

I believe that the first thing you need to do is to establish clear leadership with your dog.  This is achieved by restructuring your dog’s daily life and controlling all privileges through our groundwork program.  Please read this article first.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with an existing dog. 

I feel that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. These DVDs are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it many times because every time they watch it they will pick up new ideas.

I hope this helps.



I have a 2 year old shih tzu who is can be unpredictably aggressive - she growls, shows teeth and then bites.  she weights about 13 pounds.  I was wondering whether a muzzle would be appropriate for her and, if so, which one should I use?



Instead of muzzling her, I would recommend training her and dealing with the problem.  Putting a muzzle on a dog who bites you is like putting on padding because your kids hit you. It prevents it from hurting but the intent is still there.   It’s a matter of respect, rules and structure.

The problems you are seeing are the result of the way you live with your dog.  When dogs act like this they lack leadership from their owners. In other words their owners don’t understand how important pack drive is in how they raise their dogs.

Owners of dogs like yours underestimate the genetic power of  "PACK DRIVE."  Pack structure is not something new and it is not optional, and if you don’t provide the structure and leadership a dog NEEDS then he or she will behave as canines have for thousands of years and will structure your family and household their own way.  Your dog is not behaving badly out of spite or stubbornness; your dog is simply being a dog, a dog that needs some guidance and rules.

If you want to fix a problem like this you can but it takes some work.

I’d start with our Groundwork program.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet is the DVD that picks up where the article leaves off.

Here is a 3 ½ hour DVD that I would recommend titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs.

If you go to the link on this DVD you can read about what it covers. You will also see a detailed outline of what’s in the video.

I would recommend a muzzle for use during the training process.  I find people are more effective in their training if they aren’t worried about being bitten.  You can call our office for help selecting the correct model and size for your dog. 715-235-6502



I have a 5-year old male German Shepherd that is very aggressive towards the others shepherds when my female is in heat.  She is almost 10 and cannot be spayed due to congestive heart failure.  I keep her in another part of the yard during heat but even during this time, my male shepherd will try to about kill my other males/females.  I have 5 dogs total and do not breed them anymore.  I am having him neutered next week but I was wondering if they made any kind of muzzle that he could wear during the day that would allow him to still eat and drink.  Actually eating is done in the evening while I’m home so I guess I mainly need one where he could still drink water.  We have a large yard with a 5 foot chain link fence with a hot wire at the bottom.  I’ve actually thought about finding him another home but I know that wouldn’t work and he’s very loyal, protective and a great pet other than these times.  Any suggestions would help.



The wire basket muzzles will work fine here.

With this said neutering is probably not going to change this behavior, it will probably result in him living a longer and healthier life.

You may find that you have to back the muzzle up with a remote collar. Use markers to teach him to get the collar on, then the DVD I did on training with remote collar. ‘’Good luck.”

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Hi Cindy,

I have read your information regarding dog muzzles.  I am confused whether I would like to purchase the plastic one or fabric for my Lhasa Apso, Rocco.  Rocco is my 6-year old dog, 17 lbs, and he does not allow me to touch and treat his infected ear.  He is so smart that he runs when he hears the word "ears" and growls at me.  He is quite aggressive when it comes to touching his face or ears.  He also hates taking a bath, so I just have a groomer give him a bath, which is quite expensive. 

I have taken him to a vet and I was given a cleanser and ear drops to treat his chronic ear infection.  It has been a week and he refuses to be treated.  I was advised to treat his infection twice a day.

Could you please help me in choosing the right muzzle for him?  I initially chose the fabric muzzle, but am afraid that I might get hurt.  Thanks for your help! 



I’d recommend the plastic muzzle.  Dogs can still bite through the end of the fabric.

I might also suggest working with your dog with markers, to make him a more willing participant to the things he isn’t keen on (like bathing). 

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD

I’ve successfully taught dogs to have their nails clipped, ears cleaned and other things they don’t particularly like by using marker training.



I have two small standard female poodles. I live out in the country, and they run around unleashed, and a few weeks ago one of them got pancreatitis from eating deer carrion - I need a type of muzzle for them to keep them from eating potentially harmful things when they are out - what do you recommend?  I was thinking about the wire basket muzzles.  How would I go about measuring to make sure they are the right size?  I look forward to your response and your thoughts on this. 



I like the wire basket muzzles for issues like this, they provide very good air flow and the dog can still get a drink with it on.  My second choice would be the Jafco plastic muzzle.

There are directions on this page on how to measure your dogs. Once you get measurements if you are not sure which size would work best, you can call our office for assistance.

I hope this helps.




I ordered your German Shepherd Wire Muzzle size medium.  I received this today.  It certainly exceeds my quality expectations and think it is a wonderful product.  Previous to purchase I had emailed Stephanie with my dogs measurements as to the directions on  They are as followed:

Muzzle length:  4 1/4"
Muzzle circumference:  11-1/2"-12"

My concern is that my dogs snout makes contact with the inside of the muzzle.  Is this the proper fit?  If you need me to snap some digital pictures I would be more than happy.

Thank you,


It is ok if the dog’s nose touches the end of the muzzle.  That is the reason for the plastic guard/insert in the base of the tip of the muzzle.  However, it is not ok if the dog’s nose is ‘smashed’ into the end of the muzzle.  If this is the case, then we need to exchange for a larger size muzzle. 

If you would like to send photos, that would be fine or if you just want an exchange let me know.



I’ve been looking at your muzzles and thinking about getting one for my GSD. And although not a real problem now, I was wondering how the wire muzzle would work during the winter months. Wouldn’t the dog’s tongue and/or nose stick to the wire in cold weather? If the dog drank while wearing the muzzle, is there any problem with ice freezing on the muzzle or on the dog? Are these unjustified concerns?



This is the first time anyone has ever asked this.  We have sold literally thousands of these wire basket muzzles to customers all over the world and no one has ever reported this to be a problem or concern.  Most of the wire muzzles have a plastic insert/guard at the end of the muzzle to help the nose not to touch the wire.  In regards to licking, I guess that would be a possibility; especially if the dog were licking the sides of the muzzle or panting and hanging their tongue so that it touches the wire.

If you are concerned of potential problems, I would suggest going with the Jafco Plastic Muzzle instead. 


Good Morning!

We have been watching your DVDs, the Basic Obedience and the E-collar Training. I am half way through the e-collar DVD. We have a Pit Bull Terrier that is a dominant fixed, 2 year old male. A rescue dog. He is dog aggressive, but not people aggressive.

He will cut a leash in half in a few seconds. We gimmy rigged a thick rubber insulation hose that fit on the leash area at the connection because he would get that leash in his mouth so quickly when he wanted to be dominant on a walk and we were afraid we would lose him and he was breaking his teeth when the metal collar to leash connector got in his mouth. The rubber tubing over the connection protected him, but is not the answer.

Now that we are willing to go your suggested route, we keep hearing on the DVDs that the exercise like the one you showed with the dog tied inside the radius with a long line and learning the leave it command should not be done with a dog that chews leashes.

Also, we are concerned that if we do a correction on leash, that he will just decide to turn and bite the leash in half because that is his MO. Have you had cases that you had a leash biter and how did you do a work around? He wants to snap when he doesn't get what he wants if he becomes aggressive and I don't want to get bit. The aggression is at the leash it seems, not to my husband.

Also, when we would get to the point of using the long line like we see in the video. How do you know that if you tug it as a correction, that he won't bite it just because he isn't happy with the action that you are requesting?

Thank you in advance,


This dog needs a muzzle , here is a page that shows all of our muzzles as well as how to measure your dog for the proper size.

If your dog is aggressive (dog or people, it makes no difference), you also need this video Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

Without a muzzle, you are asking for a big problem if he either chews the leash and gets loose or redirects his aggression on a person.

Another Question:

Hello again!

Yes, I think that the muzzle is a fine suggestion! I forgot to mention that we had also purchased the dominant / aggressive dog dvd. I had watched the part about the muzzle, but didn't associate the two situations because I didn't see the muzzle on the e collar dvd. I haven't finished it yet so maybe there will be one late on the DVD.

My question is this: is there a procedure of working him out of the muzzle mode? If he is successful in the e collar training, can the muzzle ever be removed for walks? He is not aggressive to people, just other dogs. We have a pug, poodle, and a cocker, and all is well, even the pug and him siesta together on the same pillow in the sun. He is territorial. We stopped the walks and later realized that we allowed him to mark at different locations on the walks and he had extended his territory to encompass about a square mile of roads and sidewalks. We now do ball throwing to burn his energy. We are looking forward to the walks again, but we know that he has a lot of training to do first. I guess the question is, is the muzzle for ever? I guess every dog is an individual case, but do any ever get past the need if the ecollar is successful? Thanks again in advance, Rhonda 

Thanks again, Rhonda


I’m going to answer your question with a question J  why are you already thinking about removing the muzzle? You haven’t started this training yet, and my recommendation is to do what I suggested and not worry about taking the muzzle off before you even get your first lesson for the dog under way.

I have no way of knowing whether your dog will need the muzzle for the long term but my thoughts are why worry about it now?  The risk of leaving the muzzle on when he doesn’t need it don’t hurt anyone, if you take it off before he’s ready he could chew through a leash and injure or kill another dog.  Think of it like a safety belt in a vehicle.  Do you only put it on when you don’t plan on getting in an accident?  Of course not!  You put it on so it’s there just in case.  Think of the muzzle this way, and not as any big deal.  It’s just going to be part of his routine and I guarantee he won’t mind it once he realizes that he gets his walks with the muzzle on.


Hi Cindy,

Were having issues with our pup being more interested in eating snow outside, than drinking water inside. When we had the melt last week, and also took him with us for the weekend about 6 hours south. He drank plenty of water that weekend, but now that were home he isn't drinking enough, and basically runs with his mouth open and shovels snow in.

We caught a UTI a few weeks ago, we're almost through a UTI treatment, our vet said likely it was caused by eating less then clean water or snow. We normally dump and refill his water 3 times a day inside, once a day outside. Before the snow he'd drain his bowl to 25% left 3-4 times a day. We were considering using a muzzle to keep him from eating snow.

Any suggestions?  

PS - we did reiterate ground work as we discussed last year. With his maturity, and our hard work in obedience classes (kennel club not petsmart) were making headway.



If you can’t supervise him then I’d recommend a Jafco muzzle, here are instructions on how to measure him for a correct fit.

Hopefully this is a puppy thing that he outgrows since it seems to be causing him some problems.

I teach my dogs the YUCK command, and I don’t let them eat excessive amounts of snow but haven’t had any medical issues with them. The muzzle may be a great tool for you to use when necessary.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions. It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.



Hi Cindy-

I have a 5 month old dog who eats just about everything that comes in it's path-- mulch, insects, stones etc.

I have taken him to a doggie day care one day a week to get him used to it in preparation for boarding there the last week in May for our vacation.

When he comes home he has diarrhea for 2 days and stool specimens indicate a parasite that he's getting from drinking standing water. This last time his stool was full of pebbles-- so apparently he's eating the pebbles in the pee yard also.  I've contacted the facility and they will watch him more closely, but I am wondering why he is doing this-- is he hungry? I feed him Evo about 1.5-2 cups a day (he weights 18 pounds). He looks like his weight is perfect-- no fat on him but not gaunt either. I am seriously worried he is going to get a bowel perforation or obstruction.

What should I do?



I would not allow this dog access to any foreign bodies, like sticks or pebbles. This means I wouldn’t trust a dog daycare to watch him unless they can keep him in a concrete run with no access to leaves, rocks, sticks, etc. It’s not worth the risk.

You can search our site on Pica (eating of non food items) for more info. It can be medical or behavioral, I’d rule out all the possible medical issues first.

I would recommend learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

In the meantime, you may want to consider a muzzle for him when you can’t keep your eyes on and focus on him 100%. 

Cindy Rhodes


Hello Cindy:

My 1 year old Cavalier spaniel is constantly eating trash and dangerous objects while we are out on our walks.

I have not had any success training the 'leave it' command.

Would either a muzzle or training with an e-collar be a solution to this problem?

I have not been able to find a muzzle to fit, and am not sure which kind to get. Could you tell me your recommendation?

Thanks for your help.



Check out our muzzle page. There are directions for measuring your dog there. Once you have the measurements, you can contact our office and we can help you find the right style and size. Not all styles fit all dogs, so we do need your measurements first.

I would also suggest training so you can eventually walk the dog without the muzzle, I train my dogs first that when I say “leave it” (or YUCK, I use the word yuck) that if they spit out what they have in their mouth, I will give them something better. This means you need to be prepared 100% of the time at first and always have a number of very high value treats with you (whatever your dog goes bonkers for, my dogs love boiled, cubed chicken breast). If your dog grabs something, literally put the chicken under his nose after you say LEAVE IT. He will have to spit out what he has to get the treat and you can really praise him. I have a puppy that literally eats everything on the ground, I mean everything… bugs, rocks, dirt, mulch, dandelions, fuzz, paper, etc… I’ve been doing this since the day I brought her home and now if I say YUCK she leaves what she was going to pick up and comes to me for a treat. You have to be really consistent though, and be ready every single time. Keep him on a short leash and have food with you all the time. Once your dog understands this, you could then reinforce non compliance with an ecollar if you need to.

We have an excellent video on how to train a dog with the electric collar Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Mr. Frawley:

I have one of your wire muzzles for our Doberman, Nikki & I was wondering if you had any opinion about using it as a Gentle Leader by simply fastening her leash to a wire on the muzzle while she is wearing it.

Our local police want us to muzzle Nikki when we walk her in our neighborhood, because she has scared a few joggers by lunging at them when they've startled her (usually from behind). We've been using a Gentle Leader, which gives us good control over her, but the police argue that it's no substitute for a real muzzle. 

I also wonder about using the wire muzzle during the coldest weather here in south central Wisconsin. Is there any concern that her tongue could become stuck to it?

Thanks very much for your opinion!



I would not recommend attaching a leash to the muzzle, they are not made for that. If the dog were to lunge with the leash attached to the muzzle it would likely be pulled off and it may injure your dog as well. Why not use a prong or dominant dog collar to walk her while she wears the muzzle?

We sell thousands of muzzles and haven’t ever had any reports of problems using the wire muzzle in cold climates. If you are concerned about it, you may want to try one of the plastic Jafco muzzles.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Hi there Ed,

I have a 13 year old female GSD that has recently been engaging in some bizarre behavior. She has been digging up and eating dirt from the yard.  It is not just in one particular area, but from several areas (it is quite a large yard). It is also quite a sufficient amount of dirt she has been consuming. She has a diet of Nutra chow supplemented with lean chicken and fresh, cooked vegetables. This has been her diet for many years, but this behavior is quite recent. I am not sure what she is trying to compensate for in her diet, but she knows it is a bad behavior and therefore only does it when she knows she can get away with it. She has also recently stopped using her potty area and using the entire yard. All of this may have to do with her age, but I am worried that it is not helping her health. She is an otherwise completely healthy and happy dog. She has had aggression issues in the past, but only toward other dogs (never humans) for the first couple of minutes. Now, she has mellowed a lot in her old age. She has been receiving Deramax in the last few months for what seems to be the onset of arthritis, but I'm not sure if this is related to the dirt eating. She also gets glucosamine pills in her daily meal.

I am thinking that this is a behavior that can be curbed by putting a muzzle on her to prevent the dirt eating. The potty issue is one that we are still working on. 

Do you have any suggestions as to the length of muzzle I should get? I don't want it to be right up against her snout. I hate muzzling her, being that she is so old. I don't want her to feel punished. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks much,


I think she has dietary requirements that are not being met, and she’s also in some pain from the arthritis. I’d highly recommend getting her to the vet for a full check up. Without a vet exam and possibly bloodwork there is no way to know what is going on with her.

I wouldn’t muzzle her until you have ruled out medical issues.

If you do end up using a muzzle, we have directions on how to measure the dog for a muzzle on this page.

You can search our website, using our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.  Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for.  Dirt eating has been discussed many times. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

20% off Ellis Three Day Workshop through Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 11:59 PM CT