Clicker Training – muzzle training step 3

If you’re just joining us, I am in the process of using clicker training to get my dog to happily wear a muzzle instead of forcing it on her. We are going on a trip to Venice next week and dogs are required to wear a muzzle on public transportation. You can catch yourself up by watching step one and step two.

I start today’s session by refreshing yesterday’s session. All I do is ask her to stick her nose into the muzzle. You can see there is a hitch in the start of our session. I “clicked” Mattie for jumping onto the ottoman, but I never put a treat down, so the first 10 seconds is her slightly confused of not having a treat and trying to look for one. Once we got past that, we moved onto her sticking her nose into her muzzle.

I wasn’t quite sure how to get started with wrapping the strap around her head. I began with a treat in the palm of my hand, underneath the muzzle and reaching around her head with my other hand to grab the strap. At first I wanted to “click” her for allowing my hand to reach around to the back of her head, or to even touch it, but this proved to be too distracting to her. It threw her off. So, I went back to just reinforcing her for sticking her nose into the muzzle again, giving her something she already knows how to do in order to keep the session positive.

I had a moment to decide how I could do things differently and went with a more direct approach. I ditched the treat in my hand and instead, focused on holding the muzzle with my right hand, while holding the strap in my left and approaching her that way. She made me very happy by adjusting immediately. My focus was to get her to wear the muzzle with the strap wrapped around the back of her head and held in place with my hand. I’d wait a second or two and then “click” her. You can see there were a few times that she was all over the place, so I did the same as yesterday and closed and opened that window of opportunity by pulling the muzzle away and restarting again. Towards the end of our session, you can see her getting a bit restless, so I knew it was time to end it. I set her up for success and got her to wear the muzzle one last time and for a few seconds longer. You can actually see her look at my clicker hand, just waiting to hear that sound for reward. She received a jackpot at that point and the session ended.

© Semi Charmed Life

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