Poodle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I was just wondering if anyone used a muzzle on your poodle. I have a mini who does not hesitate to bite if he is uncomfortable. He is about 7 month old now and we are having the biting issues since he was a little puppy. I am working on it, but his groomer complains that he tried to bite, so she cannot groom him as well as she would like to. He also bit my husband yesterday when I was brushing him after the bath. Not really hard, he for sure can do much more damage, but hard enough to have a long bloody cut on my hubby arm.
So I was thinking may be I should get a soft muzzle to use it while grooming?
Appreciate your feed-back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
I feel it is necessary for every dog to be muzzle trained.

Don't use a soft muzzle, the dog can't pant or open its mouth. Its stressful. Get a baskerville muzzle , and see about joining "muzzle up pup! the pro muzzle community" on FB
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,003 Posts
Biting hard enough to draw blood is a rather serious issue. Does he only bite while being groomed? Have you consulted with a trainer? There’s a good list of resources here:


In the meantime, yes, I would be taking steps to ensure he can’t hurt anyone. But, like @Ava. said, I would be careful to do it in such a way that it doesn’t create additional stress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Someone made a thread a while back on being proactive about getting your poodle muzzle trained in the event they need emergency vet care. I don't remember the full details. The main idea was that when your pup is at the doggie hospital, they are familiar with the muzzle already and it's one less thing for them to be stressed about.

It's on my list of things to do....

It might be a good opportunity to get 2 birds w/ one stone since you're considering it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi All,
I was just wondering if anyone used a muzzle on your poodle. I have a mini who does not hesitate to bite if he is uncomfortable. He is about 7 month old now and we are having the biting issues since he was a little puppy. I am working on it, but his groomer complains that he tried to bite, so she cannot groom him as well as she would like to. He also bit my husband yesterday when I was brushing him after the bath. Not really hard, he for sure can do much more damage, but hard enough to have a long bloody cut on my hubby arm.
So I was thinking may be I should get a soft muzzle to use it while grooming?
Appreciate your feed-back.
wow you have a problem. an aggressive poodle certainly dose not meet the standard of the breed...Is this poodle from a reputable selective breeder ? it appears not! Canadian Kennel Club standard is:
Temperament
A gay, intelligent and eager-to-please canine, the Miniature Poodle is a charming companion and an excellent prospect for obedience work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't use a soft muzzle, the dog can't pant or open its mouth. Its stressful. Get a baskerville muzzle , and see about joining "muzzle up pup! the pro muzzle community" on FB
Thank you Ava, I though that the soft is less stressful, never had to use a muzzle on my dogs. This is the first one who does not hesitate to bite. My last dog was a standard schnauzer and he would never bite anyone, even under the high stress. Dog before was a German Shepherd and he was trained as a police dog, so he could for sure bite, but NEVER his masters. So this is a new experience for me to have a relatively small dog that will bite. The list expected issue I could think about while looking for a puppy.
He is not aggressive. Loves people and other dogs. I had a personal trainer to work with him, and sure enough Ruger was the sweetes thing when trainer was over. I am enrolling him in a different school now and will talk to the new trainer. Need to get this behavior under control before it is too late (hope it is not too late).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
aggressive poodle certainly dose not meet the standard
He is not aggressive. I think this is a fear biting. Not sure under what biting category it goes, but for sure not a best thing you can expect from a poodle. And he is from a reputable breeder who is doing it for over40 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,518 Posts
Soft muzzles are typically what is used for grooming (maybe medical too?) and basket muzzles are used in all other cases. Soft muzzles are more restrictive in that they don't allow the dog to drink or pant while in use. Basket muzzles are bigger and bulkier but allow the dog to behave naturally.

What does his breeder say about the behavior? It is highly abnormal for a poodle puppy and should be very concerning for the breeder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,728 Posts
I have used a grooming muzzle in the past. Be careful to remove frequently (evey half hour or so) because the soft muzzles look comfortable but restrict panting.

When you groom is it possibly painful? What have you done to work on desensitization? Is it possible that the groomer has scared him/been rough? The dog who we had to use a grooming muzzle with had gone to a few poor groomers before we started home grooming and never learned that grooming was not scary.

I have had a lot of success getting past fear for my recent dogs with slow desensitization. Trixie, my mother's Yorkie snapped when her nails were cut and it was very stressful for everyone. I took over and started desensitization with tons of treats and a goal of a good experience rather than a good nail clipping. She now gets jealous when I use the nail clippers on another dog. Usually there is warning signs long before a snap, so I back off before it gets to a snap so I can slowly desensitize. There was a period where Annie was getting Matt's on her legs and didn't want me to touch them since it hurt. I shaved her down and worked on brushing and handling while they were not matted and did not hurt.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,697 Posts
I have concerns about how both the humans and the puppy are handling this situation. It sounds to me like the humans have pushed the puppy over threshold several times. It sounds like the puppy is reacting to going over threshold by using his teeth.

I think what needs to happen at this point is for everyone to step back from the "Get 'er done" approach to grooming. Yes, sticking a muzzle on the puppy will let you get 'er done, but it might also increase the stress and build bad associations you will then deal with for the rest of the dog's life. You don't want this escalating to where you must throw a muzzle on the dog for each trip to the groomer or vet. Nor do you want to clean stress vomit and diarrhea from your car upholstery because the pup is freaked out about grooming appointments.

Since you are working with a trainer, I would ask the trainer for help and exercises for desensitizing the puppy to handling. Even goofy stuff can help. Yes, I recite the "This little piggy" rhyme while wiggling puppy toes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
Don't use the muzzle as a baindaid though. sounds like your puppy needs some training
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have concerns about how both the humans and the puppy are handling this situation. It sounds to me like the humans have pushed the puppy over threshold several times. It sounds like the puppy is reacting to going over threshold by using his teeth.

I think what needs to happen at this point is for everyone to step back from the "Get 'er done" approach to grooming. Yes, sticking a muzzle on the puppy will let you get 'er done, but it might also increase the stress and build bad associations you will then deal with for the rest of the dog's life. You don't want this escalating to where you must throw a muzzle on the dog for each trip to the groomer or vet. Nor do you want to clean stress vomit and diarrhea from your car upholstery because the pup is freaked out about grooming appointments.

Since you are working with a trainer, I would ask the trainer for help and exercises for desensitizing the puppy to handling. Even goofy stuff can help. Yes, I recite the "This little piggy" rhyme while wiggling puppy toes.
Cowpony, i think you are right. I probably did push him a bit more then he liked. Problem is, he just does not like to be brushed after bath and I am afraid that if I do not do it then later it is going to be even much harder to finish brushing him. Plust is it a good example to give him that if he does not like somehting I will back off? So it is like a circle. And again, even when pushed, a good dog will not bite, in my humble opinion. I do not believe that brushing was painful, probably a bit uncomfortable.
Muzzle is the last resource I will go to, if absolutely have to. Hope it is not going to go so far. I still feel that I have to at list train him to use muzzle. With his drama king personality it is not going to be easy :sleep:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,592 Posts
Merlin tries to bite out of fear (not a mean bone in his body) when I do his nails. At first I tried a soft muzzle but I didn’t like the way it made him feel. So now I just use the cone of shame and it works perfectly.

He only does it for nails and I don’t need it to groom his face or anywhere else, thankfully.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Cowpony, i think you are right. I probably did push him a bit more then he liked. Problem is, he just does not like to be brushed after bath and I am afraid that if I do not do it then later it is going to be even much harder to finish brushing him. Plust is it a good example to give him that if he does not like somehting I will back off? So it is like a circle. And again, even when pushed, a good dog will not bite, in my humble opinion. I do not believe that brushing was painful, probably a bit uncomfortable.
Muzzle is the last resource I will go to, if absolutely have to. Hope it is not going to go so far. I still feel that I have to at list train him to use muzzle. With his drama king personality it is not going to be easy :sleep:
Maybe try some exclusive new brushing-after-shower treats?

How long is his coat? Short?

When Basil's coat is less then 1 inch, then I can get away with very relaxed grooming standards...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,728 Posts
Cowpony, i think you are right. I probably did push him a bit more then he liked. Problem is, he just does not like to be brushed after bath and I am afraid that if I do not do it then later it is going to be even much harder to finish brushing him. Plust is it a good example to give him that if he does not like somehting I will back off? So it is like a circle. And again, even when pushed, a good dog will not bite, in my humble opinion. I do not believe that brushing was painful, probably a bit uncomfortable.
Muzzle is the last resource I will go to, if absolutely have to. Hope it is not going to go so far. I still feel that I have to at list train him to use muzzle. With his drama king personality it is not going to be easy :sleep:
Any dog will bite. My most accepting dog ever - I pulled porcupine quills from his feet without a growl or a struggle, just a whimper, would have bit if the circumstances were right. His sister - also a fantastic dog - struggled a bit while I pulled her quills out and needed restraint. If I had pushed either dog too fast, yes, they would have bit. Does her struggling make her a bad dog? No more than me whining when someone pulls a splinter from me makes me a bad human!

Don't think of it as give it in. Think of it as being respectful of fear and building trust. If you were terrified of spiders and someone threw a bucket of non-venomous spiders over you, and said 'suck it up, they won't hurt you!" Would you trust them the next time they had a bucket in their arms and walked over to you? Or would you panic, try and run away, and maybe hit them if they cornered you and if they still throw the bucket, maybe next time you see them with the bucket, you try and kick them in the crotch, punch them in the nose, etc. Some people and dogs freeze and learn learned helplessness, others fight back. It's a circle, but it's a spiral downwards.

It doesn't matter that it isn't dangerous or doesn't hurt, just that the dog is scared. Training isn't possible in a place of fear.

First - I suggest a short clip while you deal with this. Short clip means you can brush for desensitization not our of necessity.

Then, a few days after the trauma of the clip subsides, grab the brush. Does he run away? Call him,give him treats. If he doesn't run away, what happens if you pet him? Watch body language. If he tenses, back up to the last stage where he trusted you. Maybe that just means having a brush in the room while you hang out. Work on respecting the signs of fear/discomfort long before a bite happens.
Back off, go back to doing the thing he was ok with.

For example, if I am working on knots in Annie's tail, I will do a few strokes on her knot free back then a couple on her tail (holding the hair between my fingers to prevent too much tugging) and when I see she is finding it difficult, go back and brush an easy area again for a while then go back to the tail. If she protested after 6 strokes the last time (might just be a tensing up), I may only do 4 before switching back to the easier areas for a while. Maybe I only do one stroke!

Lets go back to the bucket of spiders and pretend your friend has realized you are petrified of spiders and that was a bad idea. Instead of throwing spiders at you, he decides to help. Maybe, since you are afraid of the bucket, he shows you the bucket is empty from across the room, and you are confident enough to check that it is. Another day, he brings a spider in a jar, and puts it on the shelf on the other side of the room so you can see it. The next day, maybe, with his encouragement, you go look at the spider together, another day, you go outside and he puts the spider in his hand. Maybe a week later, you are confident enough to pick up the jar yourself. Maybe after a year, he films a YouTube video with you dumping a bucket of spiders on yourself and laughing. Ok, it's pressing the metaphor a bit, but the idea is to get the dog to the point where the bucket of spiders is mildly distasteful, not something that provokes a flight or fight response.

Over time, when he doesn't get pushed past threshold, his fear should decrease, and you will be able to go further. It's a spiral upwards. Over about a year I went from having a dog who snapped and tried to bite while clipping her nails to having a dog that follows me when I get out the nail clippers and lies on her side! Treats helped, but respecting signs of fear and going slow did more than that.

I would suggest possibly a different groomer as well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,103 Posts
I think Basil may be thinking about a thread of mine. I know I have talked about the utility of muzzle accptance training. It is important for emergencies and can be useful for dealing with other uncomfortable situations. I have taught and every now and again refreshed training all of our dogs to accept a basket muzzle. I use the baskerville muzzle mentioned by Ava. I have also talked about the importance of teaching puppies to accept grooming routines. Training muzzle acceptance can be part of that. I take the view of being proactive as far superior to reacting to difficult situations where going over threshold becomes part of the picture. IMO putting a muzzle on a dog that is going to bite otherwise is not giving in and letting the pup think he has a victory it is an effective management strategy to keep everyone safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
For example, if I am working on knots in Annie's tail, I will do a few strokes on her knot free back then a couple on her tail (holding the hair between my fingers to prevent too much tugging) and when I see she is finding it difficult, go back and brush an easy area again for a while then go back to the tail. If she protested after 6 strokes the last time (might just be a tensing up), I may only do 4 before switching back to the easier areas for a while. Maybe I only do one stroke!
I do this too with Oona. She loves having her back and chest brushed, especially now that its shorter and is more of a scratch-fest/massage. When she was little she tried to bite the brush a lot (more playful than scared though) and we worked through it. Toenail clipping is another story. She is a lot less comfortable with having be hold her ticklish toes. Same deal though, work sooo slowly. A few times I only got one toenail clipped a tiny bit (in exchange for many treats). It makes it hard to keep track of what I've done. But I figure having uneven toenails is better than a scared dog and in the long run I hope to have her learn that it's no big deal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Any dog will bite. My most accepting dog ever - I pulled porcupine quills from his feet without a growl or a struggle, just a whimper, would have bit if the circumstances were right. His sister - also a fantastic dog - struggled a bit while I pulled her quills out and needed restraint. If I had pushed either dog too fast, yes, they would have bit. Does her struggling make her a bad dog? No more than me whining when someone pulls a splinter from me makes me a bad human!

Don't think of it as give it in. Think of it as being respectful of fear and building trust. If you were terrified of spiders and someone threw a bucket of non-venomous spiders over you, and said 'suck it up, they won't hurt you!" Would you trust them the next time they had a bucket in their arms and walked over to you? Or would you panic, try and run away, and maybe hit them if they cornered you and if they still throw the bucket, maybe next time you see them with the bucket, you try and kick them in the crotch, punch them in the nose, etc. Some people and dogs freeze and learn learned helplessness, others fight back. It's a circle, but it's a spiral downwards.

It doesn't matter that it isn't dangerous or doesn't hurt, just that the dog is scared. Training isn't possible in a place of fear.

First - I suggest a short clip while you deal with this. Short clip means you can brush for desensitization not our of necessity.

Then, a few days after the trauma of the clip subsides, grab the brush. Does he run away? Call him,give him treats. If he doesn't run away, what happens if you pet him? Watch body language. If he tenses, back up to the last stage where he trusted you. Maybe that just means having a brush in the room while you hang out. Work on respecting the signs of fear/discomfort long before a bite happens.
Back off, go back to doing the thing he was ok with.

For example, if I am working on knots in Annie's tail, I will do a few strokes on her knot free back then a couple on her tail (holding the hair between my fingers to prevent too much tugging) and when I see she is finding it difficult, go back and brush an easy area again for a while then go back to the tail. If she protested after 6 strokes the last time (might just be a tensing up), I may only do 4 before switching back to the easier areas for a while. Maybe I only do one stroke!

Lets go back to the bucket of spiders and pretend your friend has realized you are petrified of spiders and that was a bad idea. Instead of throwing spiders at you, he decides to help. Maybe, since you are afraid of the bucket, he shows you the bucket is empty from across the room, and you are confident enough to check that it is. Another day, he brings a spider in a jar, and puts it on the shelf on the other side of the room so you can see it. The next day, maybe, with his encouragement, you go look at the spider together, another day, you go outside and he puts the spider in his hand. Maybe a week later, you are confident enough to pick up the jar yourself. Maybe after a year, he films a YouTube video with you dumping a bucket of spiders on yourself and laughing. Ok, it's pressing the metaphor a bit, but the idea is to get the dog to the point where the bucket of spiders is mildly distasteful, not something that provokes a flight or fight response.

Over time, when he doesn't get pushed past threshold, his fear should decrease, and you will be able to go further. It's a spiral upwards. Over about a year I went from having a dog who snapped and tried to bite while clipping her nails to having a dog that follows me when I get out the nail clippers and lies on her side! Treats helped, but respecting signs of fear and going slow did more than that.

I would suggest possibly a different groomer as well.
FWoP - You have no idea how on target your spider example is. The two things that I really hate are roaches and spiders. I have no issues with mice or rats, like some people do, but spiders....brrrrrrrr......
On a serious note - I got the point. Need more patience. Have to admit, patience is not really my thing. I have a tendency to back-out of the situation when I do not get fast results. And I guess I was lucky with my past dogs - they were really obedient, no biting or bathroom issues. May be I was younger and my patience level was better, who knows. Or perhaps poodles need more attention then other dogs.....
I really love my little monster. He is the sweetest and handsome dog ever. Just need to know what to do to get some of his issues under control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How long is his coat? Short?
He has relatively long coat. Right now it is probably over 2" - time for grooming. I will ask to cut it shorter 😭😢😥. His coat is so pretty, it is so hard to give it up. I know this is just a coat and it will grow back, but still......
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top