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.
So here we are, step 2 in training Mattie to wear a muzzle for our trip to Venice. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can catch up with step one. Short recap as to why I am training my sweet dog to wear a muzzle, is that it is required for her to wear a muzzle while on public transportation in Venice.
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.
It’s time I recommend a site that is filled with great reading and resources. Anyone who has heard of positive reinforcement training, should know who Karen Pryor is. Karen’s career started years ago working at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. She used positive reinforcement techniques with the marine mammals there. She was one of the first people to make the move to expand this concept to other species, including dogs.
One of the first books I was told to buy when I entered the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program was Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot The Dog. Seriously, it’s a great read regardless if you work with dogs or other animals and it’s even a great insight for working with people.
Karen has since expanded herself and created a site called ClickerTraining.com. I urge all of you with dogs (or any animal you wish to use positive reinforcement training with) to visit this site and give it a good look.
The blog section is full of useful information when working with your dog. I recommend adding the blog section to your “reader”.
The site also has a store where you could buy many different books that have to do with various stages of training. It also has a lot of training tools for you to buy.
There is even a video page.
There’s also something called the ClickerExpo. This is an expo dedicated to spreading the word of positive reinforcement training. Though these are heavily geared towards dogs, it doesn’t matter much. The concepts hold true for all species of animals. I’ve been to 4 ClickerExpos and I am not a dog trainer. They were still informative and inspiring. I have noticed that the ClickerExpo (based in the US) has crossed the pond and is now in the UK. Sadly, the Expo is fully booked! I’m on the waiting list, in the hopes someone cancels their booking.
I really hope that by sharing this site, I have shared some useful information to other people. Happy reading!
© Semi Charmed Life
After the last few attempts, I decided to try something different with the puzzle box. I did not film this, however. What I did was have a training session with treats in my hand and the puzzle box on the floor. It has become clear to me that the puzzle is not very reinforcing and so Mattie, doesn’t want to put any more effort into it. I have to make it interesting again.
All I did was give her a “good” and a treat every time she just looked at the puzzle box. I’m hoping to make it a more positive item again.
This evening, I decided to up it a bit and I put a much larger and desirable treat into the puzzle. I’m kicking myself because earlier I cooked some chicken breast (a favorite of Mattie’s) and didn’t think to put that into the puzzle box. Oh I am failing in this thinking thing but acing hindsight!
So the introduction to the puzzle box didn’t go swimmingly, how did other attempts go?
Her 2nd attempt: