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    52 - Train muzzle acceptance

    52 - Train muzzle acceptance

    It is well worth teaching your dog to accept a muzzle as part of his training. Even the most placid dog might bite if he is in pain and has to have treatment at the vet's. If he is used to and comfortable wearing a muzzle, there will be one less area of stress for you, your dog and your vet.

    Putting on a muzzle does not have to be something negative or unpleasant. Vets usually have a range of muzzles that are cleaned after every use, but it will be more pleasant for your dog to wear one that bears his own scent. It can therefore be worthwhile to invest in a basket muzzle that fits him perfectly.

    Preparation work

    If you think your dog is likely to be very wary of a muzzle begin by using TTouches around his face. A soft wrap, placed gently around his muzzle and tied loosely around the back of his neck is another good starting point.

    Spend a few moments to do some TTouches around the muzzle area

    Breaking down the exercise to its simplest form by using a piece of soft elastic around the muzzle and head will help build confidence and trust

    With encouragement your dog will start to move towards the muzzle

    THINK POSITIVE

    It is helpful for your dog if you have a positive association with the muzzle. If you think is it cruel or sad, your dog will pick up on your feelings and respond accordingly.

    You can use a length of soft elastic - simply pop it over his nose, cross it under his jaw and then tie both ends together in a bow behind his ears. Ensure it is not too tight. If he slips it off with a paw, calmly pop it on again and give him a treat or play a game to distract him.

    1. Place the muzzle on the ground and when your dog looks at it click and treat. Repeat a couple of times.

     2. Wait until your dog begins to move towards the muzzle, click and treat.

    3. Place a treat just inside the muzzle and click as your dog leans forward to eat it. Repeat until your dog is confidently taking the treat from inside the muzzle.

    4. Hold the muzzle in your hand with a treat near the straps, click as your dog takes the treat. Repeat a couple of times.

    5. Progress slowly, moving the treat down the muzzle until you are able to post a treat through the hole in the end of the muzzle and your dog is confident enough to put his nose inside to take the tidbit.

    6. Gently hold the straps behind your dog's ears as he takes the treat.

    If he panics and tries to shake off the muzzle, withhold the treat and allow him to shake free. Be patient, and give him time to advance and retreat until he is prepared to take the treat out of the muzzle repeatedly and allow you to hold the straps behind his ears gently. When he is confident with the straps behind his ears, the muzzle can be secured. Keep distracting your dog with tidbits so that he becomes used to the feel of it.

    Remember to put the muzzle on at home and feed tasty treats so that it is associated with pleasant experiences for your dog. If your dog usually has to be muzzled at the vet, put his muzzle before going inside so that he enters as confidently and as calmly as possible.

    Given time your dog will happily take a treat from the muzzle

    Post a treat through the hole in the muzzle 

    Gently hold the straps behind your dog's ears

    TEMPTATIONS TO AVOID

    Do not make any attempt to correct your dog verbally or hold the muzzle on forcibly. He will quickly learn to accept the slight restriction in order to get the treat, so please be patient.

    Do not do up the straps until he is entirely comfortable with putting his nose into the muzzle

    From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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