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I have posted before about my IS bitch who barks and charges at men when they haven;t got a dog with them.  I tried to follow advice given and keep her on a lead alot of the time but I do feel sorry for her and I have been getting up at 5.30 every morning to take her over the fields so she can have an off lead run.  I also sought the help of a dog behavourist and we still meet in a group every week and go on pack walks.  He is as perplexed as us as to why she behaves like this.  He confirms it isn't agression but more nerves and of course every time it happens we get more worried.  Anyway we have had a bit of a weeked of it and we have decided we are going to have to put a muzzle on her as we don't want to loose her.  We live within a mile of 3 gipsy camps and on friday at 5.30 am she nipped a gipsy chap who was in the field behind our house (I won't comment any further about this on a public forum), but this morning she nipped a chap who I see frequently and she has nipped him before.  I have seen other dogs charge at him barking who don't normally behave like this so I know there must be something about him.  Any way what  I want to ask is does anyone have any recommendations about what muzzle to get.  I have been looking at the lightweight Baskerville ones and the Trixie nylon muzzle band.

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Hi Susan,

First of all, I'm sorry you had to make this decision, but I'm sure you know what you are doing, and I'm sure it's to ensure your dog's and people safety.

I know nothing about brands of muzzles, but however, a few years back I had to muzzle a dog for long periods for a while, and it was summer (+40ºC) so Breathing, panting and drinking were huge concerns!

I did a lot of exploring and in the end I had a muzzle custom made that was an imitation of the racing Greyhound muzzle. They are very light, allow the dog to open the mouth freely, pant and even drink, but they can't bite anyone with those things on. For me this was the best solution, because it seemed to me like the less restrictive option to my dog, and did the trick, wich was preventing him to bite humans and dogs... I wish I could tell you a brand or anything but since I had mine custom made in a local shop, I do not remember brand I saw online, but I'm sure you can easily search them and see if they would fit your needs.

Good luck!

Hello Susan, I think the Baskerville type is the best option, it gives the most freedom while giving you peace of mind that the worst cannot happen. The Baskerville come in various sizes and muzzle shapes so you should be able to get one to fit well, also the Greyhound people do them  http://www.greyhoundproducts.co.uk/default.aspx?categoryid=9&de... I like the protective noseband, there is a phone number so they may be able to give you some advice on if it will fit a Setter OK.

It dosen't cure the problem, but avoids the real threat that she will bite someone badly and you end up being prosecuted and perhaps having to have her put down. I think if it were me I woud try to desensitise her from the situation, with the muzzle on keep her on a lead and take her to busy places, like railway/bus stations and just sit and walk around for an hour, faced with the constant flow of dogless people and your correction, it may become so commonplace that she may just eventualy give up.

If you have not done so already you should make the breeder aware of the probem, it may be familial problem, if it is they may have some good advice, but most of all they need to know so that they breed away from this trait.

I would definitely go with the original Baskerville (which does not have the strap coming down from the forehead to the muzzle).  The newer version looks more suited to extra strong breeds like Staffies and other bull breeds etc..

A few months ago, I had a lady with her 11 month old Mastiff bitch come to me for help because this dog was lunging and growling at men in the street.  It was good with children and women. 

I sat and chatted with the owner for three hours, running through any events which might have been the trigger to this behaviour.  Its amazing what you can find out, little events which the owner had completely forgotten about until we ran through this dogs past experiences.  When we put these sometimes small and trivial events together we had a clearer picture to go on.

I worked with the owner and her dog for almost 5 months on a weekly basis and we slowly changed the way this dog perceived men.

I would also like to point out that sometimes the owners nervousness at what 'might happen' can also cause the problem to escalate.

I am glad to say this dog and owner are doing remarkably well and they can walk through the middle of the local High Street without the dog lunging at anyone.

Has the Behaviourist spent time with you and your dog on a one-to-one basis?

I doubt very much if this type of behaviour can be changed by group sessions.

The Company of Animals have just started promoting a new muzzle which doesn't inhibit panting, drinking or eating. 


I really feel for you Susan, having to muzzle is a little bit heart breaking when you know that in all other situations you have a lovely pet.  After a series of ear infections Bella has an absolute meltdown if she has to go to the Vet, to the point where we have to have her sedated for the most minor of complaints.  We have tried lots of visits to the surgery where nothing happens etc etc and she happily goes into the Vets surgery for fuss (won't take a treat) but it is once the consultation starts it all goes badly.  Anyway that is another discussion.  We have had to resort to using an original Baskerville size 7 and Bella took to it with absolutely no fuss at all, lots of little goes in the house where we could give her treats through it, before popping it on in the vets.  She has always been very good at accepting collars, harnesses, Elizabethan Collars etc so we may be lucky on that one.  Despite an initial bounce around in the surgery on our last visit and it being bashed against my leg, the Baskerville did not budge but you do have to make sure you put it on tightly enough.  To begin with (because I hated it) I didn't tighten the strap enough and one pogo by Bella and it was off!

Thanks for your replies and the sympathetic ears - most of doggy friends have reacted with horror that I am considering a muzzle they only see my lovely friendly setter and never see the charging and nipping.  I've spent hours taking her to busy places, sitting in my local park on busy days.  She is very well socialized as we have teenagers and lots of children in the house.  We go gundog, agility and obediance training.  On the lead she has never lunged at anyone but off the lead she is anxious, reactive and timid at anyones approach.  She has always been a dog with lots of little quirks, when she could first go out as a puppy she wouldn't walk down our drive for 4 weeks we had to carry her to the pavement.  She has to do 3 clockwise spins before she will get in a car and it I try and hurry her she panics.  She will not walk on my left side if I try and walk her on that side she just stops.  She was 10 months old before she understood that we preferred her to wee in the garden!! My children thinks her mum sat on her as a puppy, but she is the funniest most loving setter.  I know that my anxiety when on walks makes the situation worse and I know that the biting seemed to start after a chap stepped out of some bushes and made both of us jump cos we didn't see him.  Lexi started barking at him and I asked him to stand still for a moment while i caught her but he started kicking and trying to grab her while hurling abuse at me and then my other setter came running in to defend us so the situation shook me up.  I know she didn't make contact with him on that occassion but I this this was the incident that took her over the edge.  Unfortunately living with the gipsy camps and a railway line and tunnel at the back of the house we do have alot of men hanging around.  The greyhound muzzle like quite good and I might be able to get one in brown so it won't look so obvious she has one on.  Thanks again.

Hi Susan. Personally I hate muzzles and although we had numerous problems with Hamilton 1. a vet hit him @ 18 mths 2. 2 labradors attacked him followed by a pit bull type he became very defensive against people and other dogs. Fortunately we found an absolutely amazing trainer who has given him the confidence to be touched, inspected, meet people and other dogs without fear. Do look on the KC website for a recommended trainer in your area who knows how to overcome the problems. It's very social and Hamilton has become a happy boy who loves socialising he's also doing his Gold KC obedience hope all goes well for you and your girl

Am willing to become part of a list Sue.  Where should it be put on this site do you think? Hope your boy is doing ok at the moment.  Has got me wondering about Barkley more I must add :-/

That is a great idea Finn.  I hope it can be arranged?

Hehe me too?  perhaps I am a multiple personality LOL LOL LOL

perhaps I am a multiple personality

perhaps I am a multiple personality......

well, yes, somebody did ask if TallulahBarkleyDaisy Griffin on facebook is a multiple personality....  I suppose they are really, a red boy, a red girl and a red and white girl.




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