Why I’m teaching an old dog new tricks...
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but that’s exactly what we are doing.
Buster is our ten plus year old Staffordshire Bull rescue. He is slightly spoilt, in the sense that once upon a time he didn’t even have a home and now he has two! He spends some of his time with us and some of his time with my parents and he loves getting his 15 minutes of fame!
Buster has really high engagement with us and a lot of his behaviours can be reinforced with treats.
I think it's really important for dogs to be able to wear a muzzle comfortably, they may not need it every day but the one day they may need it they will probably be already quite stressed. For example, at the vets or in an accident or new situation. Putting on a muzzle should be just as easy as putting on a collar.
Training needs to be slow and fun!
On day one we started by just showing Buster the muzzle and treating him. It's all about creating a positive association with the muzzle. Buster slowly started linking seeing the muzzle with getting a treat. We repeated this for a few days, in short training bursts. The next step was feeding Buster through the muzzle, so he then started to associate putting his nose in the muzzle got him a treat. Buster is now placing his nose in the muzzle and we are getting him to stand and wait comfortably, when he does this, he gets a treat. If he pulls his nose away or scratches at the muzzle, he doesn’t get a treat.
Remember, training needs to be slow! Don’t rush your dog, we are a few training sessions in now and we aren’t anywhere near wanting to fasten the muzzle on. If you rush your dog you may scare him and create a negative association or even worse a fear of the muzzle.
So, why don’t you use lockdown to teach your dog some new tricks?