Marley on Muzzles

Hello! I am Marley!
I am 6 years old and you might notice that i wear a muzzle on my walks. I thought i would post to tell you all why and how you can help dogs like me in future!
My favourite things are my ball and running around offlead, my least favourite things are new people and big dogs- they really scare me. When i was a puppy my breeder didn’t socialise me until i went to my new home at 9 months- i had never seen a busy road, other dogs, i hadn’t lived in a home before. Everything scared me, it took me a long time to realise there wasn’t a big monster at the end of the road that would eat me!

I started to like going out but people kept putting their hands all over me or squealing and making funny noises when they saw me. I was very scared and hid behind my persons legs , i thought i was being very clear that i was scared and to leave me alone. I did this for a long time but people wouldn’t listen, neither would the dogs i met who jumped all over me. No one would listen even when my person said i’m nervous and to give me space. One day i had enough and i barked at someone…it made them go away! I tried the same for a dog- that worked too! I started to do this alot and it kept everyone away- so i kept doing it. I started doing it when people came to our house, it was my place, what were they doing there? I just wanted some space for Marley.

A nice lady came to my home to help me, she was very nice but she gave some misguided advice. She said to let me bark and lunge at people offlead in the home and treat me when i stopped. I didn’t get it. I just wanted my own space and not to worry. Eventually i liked the lady but only because my person gave her my ball to throw- i love my ball! Lots of people kept coming round, i kept telling them all to go away but they just ignored me and wouldn’t listen. So one day i ended up having to be more clear and using my teeth, no one would listen to my warnings, i really tried. When people went to leave i told them to never come back ever again.

I can look very scary on my walks when i bark at people or dogs, i have never hurt anyone on a walk but my person understands it needs to stay that way. She cant tell people to keep away anymore than i can sometimes, some people think my barking is funny and want to talk to me even more! Or that i just need to get over it and be around their dog jumping on me. I am a good boy when i am given a few minutes to calm myself and to see nothing bad will happen. I just panic and get scared. I have lots of people friends and other dog friends who i love zooming with! Sometimes when i am offlead though i run away very fast, my tail is tucked because i’m scared. My person tells people that and to call their dog and they say whippets like running- not when i’m scared! I wear my muzzle so i can run offlead, and if people or dogs come over and i’m startled everyone can be safe. It means i can meet new dogs- i like little terriers who play, they’re the best!

I am not bothered by my muzzle, it means i still get to go out and be a whippet. It doesn’t mean i’m nasty. But it doesn’t mean you should try and stroke me still. I’m still scared, so if my person says not to, please don’t stroke me. If my person says i’m running away scared, please put your dog onlead to give us a chance to get away- we aren’t trying to upset your day. My person tries hard to walk me at quiet times. If i am walking away from you with my person, its because she knows i will be scared of your dog or you. Please do not follow us or throw your ball right by us for your dog to catch- it wont entice me to play, it will scare me! I am alot better and more brave now! I get better everyday. I also have epilepsy, this means some days i will be extra scared as i’m not very well and wobbly on my legs. So some days i will play with you and some days my person will say i cant play today. Its not personal. I just need extra space.

There are alot of dogs like me. If you see a dog being given treats at a big distance to you and your dog, it might be because they are in training like me. Their person probably spends alot of time to make them happier, if you are not sure if you or your dog can say hello, put your dog onlead and ask if you can say hello. Some dogs might be ok like me if you walk onlead together for a bit, that person will know their dog best and be able to tell you what to do for best if you can help and want to. Sometimes the person might just walk away chanting “lets go” it isnt the person being rude, they just think their dog might get upset and they are trying to help their dogs be happy.

Sometimes dogs like me wear yellow, it might be a yellow ribbon, a yellow lead, a yellow harness, maybe even a yellow jacket. It might be a muzzle ( you can even get yellow muzzles!). This tells you we need some extra space please! Sometimes we don’t make alot of noise , some of us just look worried. Some of us bark and cry. I am not always consistent in this! I do know I am Marley and i wear a muzzle because you wouldn’t go in a car without a seatbelt and my person takes the safety measures that i need so i can enjoy my life!