1. INTRO TO: MUZZLE
A few minutes a day go a long way.
A. Starting Muzzle Acclimation
i. With your dog on leash, nearby, present the muzzle in hand. Once dog sniffs muzzle mark “YES” and reward with treat.
ii. Still on leash, repeat the process, but once the dog sniffs, and you mark “YES” feed treat through the muzzle. *If dog is hesitant, you can feed it through closer to base*.
iii. Still on leash, repeat the process, this time we will be jackpotting a handful through muzzle with it in hand.
iv. Continue this process randomly throughout the day. Keep it spontaneous so your dog can’t predict when it’s time to explore the muzzle.
B. Holding Position in Muzzle
i. Once our dog has gotten comfortable with exploring the muzzle, we now want them to be comfortable placing full face in with little to no pressure. Start by taking: squeeze cheese, tube meats, peanut butter (any spreadable treat) and spreading it
all over the inside of the muzzle.
ii. Once your treat is spread inside the muzzle, you’ll hold the muzzle in hand and present to your dog (dog should still be on leash). MOST dogs will stick their heads right in since they already recognize good things happen around the muzzle.
iii. Once your dog puts his face into the muzzle mark “YES” and allow them to enjoy the spreads while you simply hold the muzzle in place. This should be fairly calm/neutral for you, and fun for the dog.
iv. Continue this process randomly but daily. Keep it spontaneous so your dog can’t predict when it’s time to snack in the muzzle. *You can also feed meals in muzzle*.
C. Naming It
i. Now we will start to name it. Most people choose the cue “Muzzle UP”, “Muzzle”, “Muzzy”, it’s your choice.
ii. Present muzzle to dog, once dog puts face to muzzle cue “muzzle up” then immediately mark “YES” and reward through muzzle. You want to catch your dog as they’re about to do it so you can mark and reward quickly to reinforce the behavior.
Timing is everything!
iii. Continue this process daily.