Dogs can be trained to love their muzzles. The key is to teach your dog that muzzles predict something positive like yummy treats or fun play sessions.
Here are some easy steps to follow to get your dog comfortable in a muzzle.
Be sure you are practicing these with a well fit basket muzzle, nylon muzzles are not meant for training.
Step 1: Muzzles taste good.
Your dog has no problem sticking his nose in a jar of peanut butter to lick out the yummy stuff. The same can be true for your muzzle. Place peanut butter or cream cheese on the front of your basket muzzle and hold it towards your dog. Let your dog place his own muzzle in to lick it out. Don’t try to snap it on or hold it on your dog. Practice several sessions like this until your dog is no longer suspicious of the muzzle.
Step 2: Hold a treat and feed through the muzzle.
Hold a treat with one hand and the muzzle in the other. Encourage your dog to place his nose in the muzzle by showing him the treat on the other side. Once his nose is in the muzzle say “yes” or “good” and feed your dog the treat through the muzzle. Repeat this until your dog sticks his head in the muzzle just to get the treat.
Step 3: Put it on cue.
Now, that your dog is comfortable putting his face in the muzzle we want to name that behavior. Practice the same behavior as last time, but say “MUZZLE” once before you lure your dogs face into the muzzle.
Step 4: Phase out the lure.
For this step have the muzzle in one hand and your treat in the other, but don’t lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle. Say “Muzzle” and hold the muzzle open if your dog moves his face closer to the muzzle say “Yes” or “Good” and give your dog a treat through the muzzle. Repeat this until your dog can consistently put his nose in the muzzle without being lured. Remember your still going to reward your dog your just not going to bait him into the muzzle.
Step 5: Snapping the muzzle.
Now repeat the last step and snap the muzzle closed and give your dog three treats then unsnap it. Repeat this until your dog no longer has a reaction to the muzzle being snapped shut.
Step 6: Wearing the muzzle.
Repeat this last step, but instead of unsnapping it right away have your dog chase you with a fourth treat. Then feed your dog the treat and unsnap it. Repeat this until your dog doesn’t show any discomfort or hesitation moving towards you with the muzzle on.
Step 7: Muzzle party.
Just like care keys predict a car ride, a leash predict a walk we want a muzzle to predict a fun play session. Start with step 6 and then finish with playing with your dog for 3-5 minutes. You can chase a soccer ball together, run around the house together, let him chase a flirt pole ect. Gradually make these muzzled play sessions longer and longer and you will start to see your dog can’t wait to put his muzzle on.
Learn more about muzzles Muzzle Myths
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