Reward based Muzzle Training

The beginning of our muzzle training journey. This is not a 'how to' video, I am simply sharing our experiences so far. 

I decided to train Dita to wear a muzzle. It was motivated by a trip to the vets were Dita was very uncomfortable with a procedure. They offered to put a muzzle on her but as she has never worn one before I didn't want to scare her. Instead I held her head and took the risk. As she is getting older and may need more health checks I decided to train her to accept a muzzle so to reduce her stress if/when she has to wear one. 


As with any training I do with Dita I based it around reward based methods. I want her to have positive associations with the muzzle, which is after all just a piece of plastic to her. We tend to have negative associations with them but the reality is they are a fantastic tool and if introduced slowly and positively, dogs can feel quite comfortable in them.


This video is a snapshot of 9 different sessions. Each involved lots of repetitions not shown here. Good training takes things slowly and at a speed matched to the dog. 


Dogs need muzzles for many reasons. Maybe they scavenge and eat dangerous things, maybe they are dog/people aggressive and the owner is minimising risks. If you see someone out with a muzzle on their dog then know that they are a responsible dog owner.


We will continue with our training, doing the same sessions but outside, keeping it on for longer and doing different things whilst it's on. 


Should you want to try then note every dog is different, some may take to a muzzle immediately with zero fuss, some may take a long time. The important thing is to always watch your dog's body language, any signs of stress then step back a stage, and as always, consult a professional dog trainer if in any doubt.