Once you get around the social stigma that may be attached to muzzling your dog, it is a fairly straightforward process. Although it can be done in just a few minutes each day, it can take a couple of weeks time to train properly. If you want your dog to be comfortable wearing a muzzle, you really don’t want to have to shove it on their face and make them deal with it. Frequently the times when a muzzle is needed, the dog is already under a lot of stress, it doesn’t usually help to add to that with poorly trained muzzle skills.
So what do you do?
Well, first off, you buy a good muzzle. There are a million opinions out there about this, but my go-to muzzle for most clients is the Baskerville Muzzle. It is well regarded by many other trainers and behavior consultants. The Baskerville muzzle offers a slightly softer feel with more flex in it than other basket muzzles, but still gives the security of an entirely enclosed mouth. Basket muzzles (as opposed to cloth muzzles) also offer the dog more freedom- they can still bark, snap, growl, drink, and eat easily within the muzzle because it does not pin their mouth closed.
Once you have the muzzle, start the process slowly- pair it with treats over and over again. Gradually build up to the dog putting his or her own nose in. Then treat for keeping it in the muzzle. Eventually pay for the duration of time they are wearing it. Rather than write out a complex series of steps, this is much better communicated via video, and as luck would have it Chirag Patel has an incredibly good one on YouTube, here - or see it below. Before starting any muzzle training I would watch this video beginning to end. Then as you’re working through training use it as a guide.
When a dog can be easily muzzled and wear a muzzle comfortably, the world can open up for them. I hope this helps