My post for Positive Pet Training Week is only very loosely based on the theme of training for first aid and emergencies. Ruby has never worn a muzzle, nor do I have one, but with a fearful/reactive dog I thought that integrating a cue that could lay the groundwork for muzzle training would be a good idea. You just never know when a situation might arise that might be too overwhelming for the anxious dog's taxed inhibition. With an unpredictable reactive dog, a muzzle helps make dog introductions safer. Sara over at Two Blockheads has a wonderful post about muzzle training that I recommend. I introduced the "muzzle" behavior with a plastic cup that we use for the shell game. It was fairly easy to capture since it was just another form of touch, although I was surprised how comfortable Ruby was with shoving her whole face in. The video we took earlier today is probably only the third time at most that we've worked on this. I did some free-shaping to break things up, and I really liked the nose pushing behavior with the cup. Our next step would be adding duration, and later on build acceptance/comfort with a basket-type muzzle being fastened and worn.
Part Two of our training (or really Part One, which included a really cute shaping session with her basket/pedestal that my phone ran out of room for) is just a typical dinnertime trick training session. Ruby is working mainly for her regular kibble with a few soft treats mixed in. She is not normally this excited about dinner by itself - she genuinely enjoys training which delights me. I've really been enjoying Meghan's videos at Nala the Wonder Dog and find them very helpful, particularly her different and playful ways of delivering treats. In reviewing my own videos I am filled with love and admiration for Ruby's enthusiasm and intensity. She watches everything I do and I adore how creative she is with her tries. The "peek-a-boo" position between my legs is one of our newest tricks, and remaining in a down position while I step over her requires a great deal of trust on her part. Her kibble-catching is also very impressive. She is just so much fun!
This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop, hosted by Cascadian Nomads,Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. This month's theme is training for safety/emergencies for National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. The hop happens on the first Monday of every month, and is open for a full week - please join us in spreading the word about the rewards of positive training!