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  • I was talking to a JA owner in town the other day and I was telling him about how we have to muzzle our AA. He said that I was giving the breed a bad reputation by doing so. I posed the same question at the FOA forum and have been told the same thing by a user. Surely not muzzling a dog that we are unsure of is the best option, regardless of whether narrow-minded individuals assume that because one dog is muzzled the whole breed should be.

    What are your thoughts?
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    I think what would give the breed a bad rap is not the muzzling, but a bite caused by a dog from that breed. If anything, people should be praising you for being such a thoughtful dog person, instead of expecting everyone else to 'just deal with it'. You are doing the smart thing by using precautionary methods on a dog that you are still getting to know and learn about. Besides, who cares what other people think. They aren't the ones taking care of Tiger, you are; so don't listen to what they say and you do what you feel is the best for your pups and family.
  • I think you are making the best decision that protects you, your dog, and others. It's not like you are telling everyone that their Akita (whether JA or AA) needs to be muzzled.
    LJ - owned by Queen Jazz, a Shiba Inu, Atlanta, GA
  • Um...the Akita already has a bad reputation. Don't be a statistic. Muzzle the dog.

    Safety first.
  • Beth, the usual response when we've explained the situation is praise. When people are scared and go the other way or ask me to go another way (which happened on our walk today) I can deal with it. Even though in my opinion a dog lunging on a leash (be it small or big) is scarier than a dog muzzled walking calmly by someones side. It's people accusing me of destroying a breed that really frustrate me. It's a bit disheartening but I suppose I'm going to have to bear in mind that we're doing whats best for Tiger and that, at the end of the day, he's just lucky he found people who are willing to get these accusations instead of not taking the precautions. It's difficult. People are mean!

    LJ, I tried to explain this to the man. I said I could see his dog clearly didn't need to be muzzled and it was a shining example of the breed, he's truly done a really good job, his dog was beautiful and friendly. Everything you could want. I said that we, and Tiger, hadn't had the chance to bring him up the way we'd want to and it's affected him, that the muzzle was a training tool in a way, so that we can safely socialize him with minimal risk to everyone involved and that, in fact, the muzzle has a major calming effect on Ti, he doesn't pull one bit on the lead when he has it on where as in the garden without it he pulls your arm off! The guy said in order to protect the reputation of the breed we should either fix him out of sight of other people (so they don't see the muzzle and make assumptions, I assume) or put him down, otherwise everyone was going to have to muzzle their dogs?!

    TeamLaika, I think this is the reason he's reacting so strongly. We would never take his muzzle off just to please people, Tiger isn't necessarily a bite risk but after a fight with another dog (he was off leash after it snapped, the dog bit him but Tiger didnt react, he stood stockstill) we were worried he may, in future, be scared and react. Rather than find out we just muzzled him and found it also fixed a handful of walking problems we have. Until we've had a chance to meet with a behaviorist and get some advice it'll be the way we work. If he has to be muzzled for the rest of his life, so be it. I just wanted to see how everybody else felt about particularl breeds being muzzled and whether it effected their opinion of the breed or the dog/owner in particular. Don't worry, whilst it's upsetting we've had this reaction, I wont be taking the muzzle off before we and a professional are certain it's the right thing to do :)

    thanks for your responses guys :)
    Post edited by miss_mallinson at 2009-09-22 14:21:21
  • Dont doubt yourself, Claire! As I periodically need to be reminded- You know your dog and what you and he are comfortable with. I think we get into this Green Eggs and Ham thing with our dogs and "would you could you here or there?" competitive thing, valuing a dog by what it can tolerate- a "better" dog doesnt need a muzzle, a "better trained" dog can behave in the store or can go with you anywhere unencumbered by a leash: Its all wrong thinking. The best dog owners learn their dogs and make the right decisions for them as individuals. Sage is happy in his yard, and when on a hike far away from anybody, he is happy harnessed. I have become sure of it. I have nothing to prove about how highly trained he is or isnt, or how easygoing a personality he just naturally has or hasn't. He is my friend, I "get" him, I live with him all day every day and what we choose is b/c it fits us right now. Tiger is happy in his muzzle and you and John are happy, so no point in taking it off just to show he can go without. A stranger's statement about a breed wearing or not wearing muzzles is irrelevant- this is only about Tiger and keeping him safe. You know what you are doing, Claire! and anyone who meets him in his mask can see what he's like. Remember all the people who have met him in real life and recognized that you are good dog people, and that he's a good dog. :)
  • "in my opinion a dog lunging on a leash (be it small or big) is scarier than a dog muzzled walking calmly by someones side."

  • Chrystal, you're right of course. I know we're doing the right thing for Tiger and other peoples opinions matter less, if at all, than what makes him happy and easy to work/live with. I'd love for him to be able to run about fields and play with dogs but it's not right for him and he's happy walking with us, running along in tall grass (which is not something I'll do again, he got far too excited and hunty whilst I got my shoe stuck in the mud!). It's just really frustrating that someone (both akita owners!) would accuse me of destroying the breed when I'm doing my best to protect my dog, other dogs AND the breed (by being a responsible owner of said breed). :( don't worry we wont be removing the muzzle for anyone, I just wondered if anyone here, who I consider to be responsible, caring dog owners, felt the same way and that we were destroying the reputation of Akitas. :(
  • Nope, youre good.
    how frustrating to have that said, though. People are jerks regardless of what breed they fancy. I think LJ is spot on, above: you are not making a statement about all dogs or all akita, just handling your own individual dog.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Claire, you are not destroying the reputation of the Akita breed, if anything you are improving the breed by being a responsible handler. You are showing the world that this is not a dog for everyone and that there is a lot of responsibility to keeping an Akita. You are, in essence, preventing the downfall of the breed from compulsive purchasers and those who just buy because it's cute. You are being responsible, and if this guy doesn't see it that way, than these people are the irresponsible ones.

    Claire, you're doing right!
    Post edited by Calia at 2009-09-22 14:55:57
  • Silly as it sounds, this is what I needed, a reminder that I'm not doing anything wrong and a pat on the back. I really didn't expect it from someone on a rescue site, although the guy on the street was a little less surprising. Another reminder that this forum is amazing :) thanks guys. It's frustrating, but its life and if it's true that people will stay away from Akitas without major research then really we're saving the breed not damaging it. :)
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
    Hi guys, I have a question. So I am to travel with Endo to Helsinki soon. On the ferry, they allow dogs to be crated or muzzled. I got a traveling crate but it is quite HUGE. My husband is complaining about it because he doesn't want me to lug around with a puppy and crate to everywhere. He suggests getting a muzzle to put on Endo. I don't know how I feel about this. I don't really want to. Especially hearing everyone's stories about Shibas not enjoying muzzles...well...

    Any tips?
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 644
    I didn't know you can muzzle instead of crate as an option when using public transport. I would probably use something like the Duckbilled Dog Muzzle.

  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1263
    It's a rule they have on many ferries in Europe.
    The ferry ride between Tallnn and Helsinki can't be that long, are you taking a car or not? If she's not used to a muzzle I'd prefer a crate but it is difficult to carry if you're not bringing a car. Get a foldable one?
  • I have a foldable crate, but it's quite big and no, I don't have a car.
  • the duck muzzle thing is pretty sweet. i'd go that route since lugging a crate around while walking the dog in a new place sounds like anti-fun and the typical leather muzzle makes him look like cujo.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1263
    Get a muzzle and see how he likes it? If he hates it, maybe, for his sake you will have to drag the crate along. Could there be somewhere you can leave the crate at the Tallink office in Helsinki while you are there?
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 68
    Lots of people think head halters / gentle leaders are muzzle, call and see if they would accept one (and if they say yes, write their name down just in case)?
  • Do you have a carrier (rather than travel crate)? Those are a good investment. I know you are in Europe but at least on the East coast in the U.S. dogs must be enclosed to get on the metro or commuter rails. I like the idea of getting a pup used to it early as it allows me more flexibility when traveling with my dogs. Every dog friendly shop I have been to allows me to store the carrier usually behind the register.

    But if you don't intend on doing lots of travel with him or those countries in Europe have fewer restrictions, then a muzzle may make more sense.
  • I'm going for a day only (no hotel room), I suppose if Endo doesn't like the muzzle idea, I can always try to rent a locker at the terminal. Not sure if my crate will fit though.
  • miss_mallinson I think you are doing the right thing.
    Regardless of the breed or the individual dog if you feel you need to muzzle then that's your choice. It's your life and your dog. I would rather see someone take the precaution and muzzle their dog then take the risk and not do it.
    photo Paint-Project-Backround3.jpg
    Proud Momma of 2 cats, 1 Morkie, 1 Shiba Inu, 3 hamsters, 2 gerbils, & 20 finches :)

    "A person's heart is not truly open until they have known the love of an animal."

    "Those who say that dogs can't smile have never had a dog who loved them"
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Soft travel crate.
  • I decided to leave Endo with a friend. Just so much easier.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1263
    Did you perhaps go for the dog show???
  • Yes, I did. I met Endo's siblings! I forgot how small Shibas are!! I don't think Endo is going to be small at all.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1263
    I think there were quite a few Swedish Shibas there but I've just browsed the results quickly on Facebook.
    How big is Endo now then?
    Ooops just realized I'm totally off topic. Sorry.

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