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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

The muzzle is often an unpleasant topic, but with the right habituation it isn’t a big thing for your sweetheart. In which situations do your dog have to wear a muzzle, regardless of the breed? Are there any exceptions? And what makes a good muzzle?

When do you need a muzzle?

Especially for so-called “list dogs” there are strict rules, which differ from state to state in Austria. (The following link gives you information about the federal state dependent rules and also explains to you which breeds belong to the list dogs. → https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/freizeit_und_strassenverkehr/haustiere/1/2.html)

Strict rules mean that those breeds may only move freely in completely fenced dog zones. Free means in this sense, without leash and without a muzzle. In not completely fenced dog zones they may move freely without a leash, but a muzzle must be put on. Respectable dogs and dogs that have not been stamped “list dog” are exempt from the general obligation to use a muzzle. For them the general rules apply to the leash and muzzle obligation. In public places, a muzzle is obligatory if the house rules of the respective company prescribe this rule. For the following situations, your dog usually has to wear one, unless the respective house rules say otherwise:

  • In public transport (not only within the means of transport, but already when entering the respective property)
  • In inns or restaurants (will be handled individually)
  • In shops (individual house rules also apply here)
  • Public events, city festivals ect. (also depending on the organizer)
  • Public offices

In places where there are many people, a muzzle is always advisable, because you never know how the dog will react to pressure. It would be better not to lead your darling into such situations. Make sure that your darling feels well. In public parks, woods and in everyday life, only the general obligation to wear a leash or a muzzle applies. This means that the dog must either be kept on a leash or carry a muzzle (for “list dogs” the leash and the muzzle are compulsory). However, it is advisable to always keep your dog on a leash, as even the most obedient dog can be frightened and run onto the road.

The exception proves the rule

Failure to comply with the muzzle requirement may result in heavy fines. However, as the heading suggests, exception proves the rule. So-called assistance and therapy dogs as well as hunting and service dogs are excluded from the muzzle obligation. For list dogs there is the possibility to free themselves from the muzzle obligation, if this is older than 3 years, was so far inconspicuous, has enjoyed an intensive training and was registered before 2019 to the dog tax. If a positive test can be presented, owners can have a note entered in their dog licence.

The perfect muzzle

In the trade there are countless suppliers of muzzles, which vary in equipment, fit, colour, material and size. But what criteria should a perfect muzzle correspond?

+ It must be possible to open the mouth so wide that even heavy panting and drinking is easy.
+ Weight of the muzzle should rest on the bridge of the nose, it should not rest on the jaws or only rest slightly on them. At these points (or at all points of contact), padding should be provided for prolonged wearing.
+ Laryngeal and trachea must not be constricted
+ Space between nose tip and muzzle should be at least 1 cm
+ A strap for the forehead is recommended as it prevents slipping
+ Safe attachment in the upper neck area. Shackle fasteners are somewhat safer, but more difficult to close than click fasteners.

– Loops/snares do not replace muzzles, they are very confining, dangerous and not species-appropriate.
(legally they are not accepted as muzzles)
– Haltis are also no muzzle replaced and can quickly become a danger.
– Sharp edges, rivets etc…
– Minor air permeability
– The muzzle must never rest on the nose mirror.

buy safety harness for dog



  • Good fit, lightweight, easy to clean, attention with plasticizers


  • Good fit, inherent odour, becomes damp, may deform, difficult to clean, rather heavy, should be vegetable tanned


  • Light, can be washed, nevertheless often unhygienic, attracts moisture


  • Stable, odourless, often bad fit, heavy, risk of injury to others

Mouth loop

  • ATTENTION! Not legally recognized as a muzzle! Dog cannot pant, danger of suffocation, not safe, close fitting

Only double-grid metal or leather teething baskets are really bite through resistant. So if you have a dog where this is an issue, you should pay attention to the double security.

Muzzle training

Especially very young dogs must first be accustomed to wearing a muzzle. You can read here how to do this without stressing the dog. In any case, you should never force your best friend to wear a muzzle. A step-by-step habituation is the be-all and end-all. In the first step, put attractive treats around the muzzle and let your darling explore the new item. So your dog connects the “thing” with something positive. Next, add treats or e.g. liver pâté to the bottom of the muzzle. Now let your dog eat everything out. If the nose is completely inside, you can also put treats through the grid so that he keeps his nose inside longer. Then let go of the muzzle so that it balances on the snout, so that your dog learns to accept the weight on his nose. Only when your dog has got used to the muzzle around his snout and voluntarily stays there, can the strap be closed. Before you do this you should practice the closing noise (close the buckle and reward it).

At the beginning only put the muzzle on for a short time, so that your treasure doesn’t get the idea to remove it with the paw. The length of the carrying should then be increased step by step. Plan some days for the training steps. If your darling resists carrying, you may have moved too fast. Then go back one training step or contact a trainer.

Hund mit einem Beißkorb spielt im Wasser


Open your eyes when you buy a muzzle! Not every one available on the market corresponds to the species-appropriate criteria. Of course the carrying should be trained in advance. Put it on your favorite again and again, not only in stressful situations, like veterinarian or subway journeys, so that he connects something positive and not only negative with it.