Put a muzzle on it.

On the way to the park yesterday, we drove past a woman walking her Pit bull down the street.  I actually did a double take as the traffic slowed for a red light.  The dog was wearing a muzzle and I wanted to be sure that it wasn't just a face harness; and sure enough it was not, it was a full on muzzle.  You don't see dogs wearing muzzles very often and it got me to pondering.  I was impressed, very impressed that this woman was responsible to this degree.  Not only was her dog on a leash but she took the next step and had her dog wear a muzzle.  Obviously the dog is not friendly; I have no idea if it is just a dog issue or perhaps it is not people friendly either.  But nonetheless she was  not taking any chances. 

My mind wandered to the other end of the spectrum as far as safety.  The people who meander into dog parks and beaches with their dog; knowing full well that they are not friendly.  One of the dogs that I was shooting for a magazine was attacked by one of these as we were about to leave a beach on day.  As the scuffle finally ended and we were heading out; the same dog turned around and made a b-line to attack another unsuspecting dog.  They are out there and sadly these dogs live with very bad dog owners. 

It is a dismal thing when a dog is aggressive.  Aggression can stem from many other behaviors, fear, dominance, guarding etc. etc.  But the aggression is the problem, not where it comes from.  There are different levels of aggression; everything from just hating others and trying to keep them away to full on wanting to kill other dogs.  Dogs who growl and snap are common; it can be the dog itself or leash aggression.  But what I'm talking about are the dog who will inflict damage on another dog or human. 

Life is a day to day unfolding of events; many of which we have no control over.  So if you have a very aggressive dog who will grab any dog within grabbing range; then a muzzle is a great thing.  Yes, dogs are suppose to be on leash and yes any dog off leash should be under control but come on.  We all know that people who have unruly dogs let them off leash.  Those people who say "no he won't come," as you yell at them to leash their dog.  It happens far too frequently. 

There will be many people who see this woman with her dog and be angry.  But when you look at it and assess the entire spectrum of what she has done they may change their mind.  She could have been out walking her dog without any regard for others.  Knowing full well that her dog will bite if given the chance and ignored the safety of people and dogs around.  But instead she muzzled her dog for the safety of others.  First off, the muzzle let's people know loud and clear.  She does not need to say "MY DOG IS NOT FRIENDLY," to anyone.  She is hopefully trying to rehabilitate the dog to some degree.  She is not making the problem worse by locking her dog away.  She is thinking of other's safety by putting that muzzle on her dog.  The muzzle that the dog was wearing looked to be a very well fitted one as well. 

I know too many people who have very aggressive dogs who will inflict serious damage to another dog who let their dog off leash.  They know what their dog will do and yet they are so careless.  Many people with dogs like this become angry people; some get a "my dog deserves," attitude.  But I'm sorry, if your dog will hurt another dog or human for that matter; they can never be off leash, bottom line.  No, they cannot.  Not in the back forty, not down a hopefully secluded path or a quiet forest, never.   If your backyard is entirely escape proof then yes but that's it.  If you have a dog like this then get a very well fitted muzzle.  Be sure when you walk your dog that there is no risk of, simply letting go of the leash.  When you know your dog is dangerous; you cannot be willy nilly about it.  You  must take great precautions so that your dog does not hurt someone.

If you do not take extraordinary precautions then it is your dog who will lose out.  A dog can only attack so many dogs or bite people so many times before their life is ended.  Maybe considering the alternative will shake some sense into these people who are careless about their dangerous dogs.   Yes, your dog has a right to enjoy life; but enjoying means creating a safety net for others out enjoying.  Like this woman who had her dog completely under control and safely muzzled.  

I have no tolerance for stupid people and in the end it is the dogs; who will pay for their human's stupidity.   


  1. My dog was attacked by the same neighborhood 100 lb Pit Bull/Great Dane mix TWICE. After the first attack we found out that she was the 5th dog who was attacked (one fatality at a public park) by this pit bull because he was unleashed in an open garage. The dog was seized and we went through an administrative hearing in which the dog was deemed Potentially Dangerous. The owner was able to take possession of the dog after she agreed to abide by the list of restrictions including a muzzle whenever he was outside his home. Fast forward 8 months later and he was off-leash in the open garage again it was closed when we started walking by and she opened it and he ran out) and he went after my neighbor and I as we were walking our 3 dogs. He bee lined for my neighbor's largest dog but we used a stun baton that we bought for protection to advert the attack. When I called animal control it turned out that the owner falsely reported that the dog had been stolen 3 weeks after she had taken possession back. She changed his name in an attempt to hide his identity.

    We attended another hearing in which the owner's lies were so tangled up she couldn't get her story straight. Sadly the hearing officer ordered the dog to be euthanized. Yes the dog was vicious but I say sadly because it was not his fault and I don't blame him for the attacks. The owner sealed his fate when she decided to lie and cheat the system just so she didn't have to put a muzzle on him.

    Pit bulls get a bad rap when in actuality its the owners who are responsible for keeping other people and animals safe when they know that their dog is aggressive. So now we have an angry neighbor who won't accept any responsibility for her own actions and I am still not comfortable walking in my own neighborhood in fear that she will retaliate. Not to mention she has since got another pit bull puppy.

    I will add that my dog is getting more and more unfriendly towards other dogs when we walk and I have and will muzzle her when I have to.

    Sorry about the long response, but your blog is right on. Muzzle your dog if they are not friendly and for God's sake, do not let them off-leash. Even if your dog is friendly, my dog is not.

  2. This subject struck a cord with me. Not all dogs who wear a muzzle are necessarily an agressive, want to hurt anyone and every dog animal.

    My dog is fearful and cautious. We don't know why. We got him at 7 and a half months. He is a work in progress and is improving. He requires time to access situations before he feels comfortable. Some people are dumb when it comes to dogs. They think they can run up to any dog and the dog will be thrilled. Mine is not. He doesn't know you. He will back up, he will look away, he will start waffleing his lips and in some cases he will growl. Everything about him says stay away. I keep him on a leash so that I can control the situation when we walk or hike.

    That said, he has snapped at a person that insisted on coming too close and reaching out for him. (Thus began my training on how to read subtle dog body language well - aside from the obvious ones.) We are working with a CAAB certified behaviorist. He will probably never be totally comfortable with all people and I don't know that he should be required to be. I don't like all the people I met, why do we expect dogs to? But for HIS protection, we will be training him to use a muzzle or obtain a vest that says he needs space or he is in training that he can wear when we are places where I can't control the situation. He likes people once he is given time. He loves dogs. But I can't trust people to act responsibly and appropriately. My concern is exactly what you talk about in your blog: that everyone's assumption will be that he is a dangerous dog. But I will do what I need to do and the he## with what they think.


Love to hear from you.