We’re going to Venice for a long weekend and our dog, Mattie is coming with us. We leave not this weekend, but the next, so I have just under two weeks to get my dog trained. For what, you ask? In certain parts of Europe, dogs are required to wear muzzles when on public transportation. It doesn’t matter if you have the sweetest dog on the planet, it is still required for your dog to wear a muzzle. Venice just happens to be one of those cities. So my job is to get my dog comfortable wearing a muzzle. Sure, I could just force her to wear one and hope she handles it while we are on public transportation, but why do that? Instead, I’d like my dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle. So I’ll be using positive reinforcement training to get her to accept wearing a muzzle.
In the following video, you’ll see step one of my training. Basically, all I’m doing is presenting the muzzle to Mattie and when she acknowledges it, in this case by touching it with her nose, she gets a “click” and a reward. That’s all I’m doing for our first session. This makes the muzzle a rewarding object for Mattie. You’ll see her get more excited and want to offer more than just touching the muzzle with her nose. She’ll start to pay at it and even try to offer a “bark” behavior. You’ll see me double reward her two times in this video. This is because she stuck her nose into the muzzle all on her own. There were a few times that I started placing my hand underneath the muzzle with a treat, but that eventually got her too excited, so I reverted to just presenting the muzzle and the treat was a separate hand.
So, even though the session was over, and I took the camera off the tripod, Mattie was still very happy to stay right there and have more training. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
© Semi Charmed Life