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Good Morning. We have two new Cavachon puppies, one male, one female. They are almost 3-months old. Our problem is we live on a large lot in the country that is covered with live oak trees. The yard is heavily shaded with native grass and what would in other yards be considered weeds. We do keep the yard mowed as needed, and the back yard where we let the puppies out is fenced and pretty well puppy proofed, except for one problem.

Our problem is that whenever we let the puppies out into the yard they spend much of their time try to pick up things to chew - sticks, twigs, leaves, stones, and most troubling acorns. We've come to the conclusion that the only way to keep them safe and still let them have some freedom is to use muzzles that prohibit them from picking up anything. But we're not sure what would be the best option. Does anyone have experience with this problem and advice on the best muzzle to use?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 

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I would consider a Cavalier x Bichon a house dog, not a yard dog, and only take them outside under strict supervision.

Also, they are puppies. Puppies put their mouths on everything, much like human toddlers. Probably more than human toddlers, actually, since they don't have opposable thumbs. While a muzzle will definitely limit their ability to do that, leaving a muzzled dog (especially a puppy) unsupervised is not a good idea for a number of reasons.
 
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I would consider a Cavalier x Bichon a house dog, not a yard dog, and only take them outside under strict supervision.

Also, they are puppies. Puppies put their mouths on everything, much like human toddlers. Probably more than human toddlers, actually, since they don't have opposable thumbs. While a muzzle will definitely limit their ability to do that, leaving a muzzled dog (especially a puppy) unsupervised is not a good idea for a number of reasons.
LeoRose, Thanks for your response. I agree with everything you've said. We have no intention of making them yard dogs. Rest assured, these puppies never go out into the yard without one (and generally both) of us supervising them as closely as we can. becoming yard dogs. But even then, we're not comfortable that we can keep them safe without muzzle.
 

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I still wouldn't muzzle them. keeping them on lead, so that they can't sneak off and eat something, would be the better option. Also, starting to teach them to trade what they have in their mouth is a good idea.

Kikopup has some good videos on YouTube on teaching drop it/trade. This is one of them, and there are links to others there, as well.

 

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How about getting a few xpens and fencing off a cleaned area?
Still have to supervise, Hawks will snag a pup/small dog.
 

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I highly recommend this. With the veritable forest you described I would be extra worried about birds of prey or other predators coming into the yard and carrying off a pup this small (even when they are adults.)

And x-pen with a top will protect them from hawks and owls. This is a real danger to small dogs even if you are standing right beside them. The only reason my Shih Tzu survived her encounter with a red-tailed hawk was because she ducked under a vehicle. The hawk hit the vehicle and died in our driveway. My father was 5 feet away.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How about getting a few xpens and fencing off a cleaned area?
Still have to supervise, Hawks will snag a pup/small dog.
Aussie Love, actually we have built a temporary "puppy run" just outside our back door, cleared the ground and put down pet safe astro turf. At this point, they are limited to that area. I'm a retired employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and I'm well aware of the dangers of raptors and other preditors (we occasionally have gray foxes in the back yard). We'll exploring the possibility of having a permanent dog rug built for them. That may be the best solution.
 

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I still wouldn't muzzle them. keeping them on lead, so that they can't sneak off and eat something, would be the better option. Also, starting to teach them to trade what they have in their mouth is a good idea.

Kikopup has some good videos on YouTube on teaching drop it/trade. This is one of them, and there are links to others there, as well.

LeoRose. We are rethinking the whole idea of muzzles. We've restricted them to a temporary puppy run with pet safe astro turf just outside the back door. We'll probably have a permanent dog run built eventually. Thanks for your advice.
 

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I highly recommend this. With the veritable forest you described I would be extra worried about birds of prey or other predators coming into the yard and carrying off a pup this small (even when they are adults.)

And x-pen with a top will protect them from hawks and owls. This is a real danger to small dogs even if you are standing right beside them. The only reason my Shih Tzu survived her encounter with a red-tailed hawk was because she ducked under a vehicle. The hawk hit the vehicle and died in our driveway. My father was 5 feet away.
prairiefire. Thanks for the response. You are absolutely right. As a retired employee of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, I'm well aware of the dangers of raptors and other preditors to puppies and small dogs. That is one reason we've never allowed them outside without supervision. Actually, even when these little guys get full grown, they could still be threatened by an eagle or one of the gray foxes in the area.
 
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