Anonymous Asked
QuestionSuggestions for a good muzzle? I have a fearful dog I will be starting group obedience classes with. He's never bitten, but he snaps at other dogs when my mom walks him. He's never done this when I was with him and I'll be the one taking him to class, but I just want to know for sure he won't hurt anyone. He's always very nervous about new things, so what's a good muzzle for a medium sized (40lb) dog? How should I introduce him to the muzzle to make sure it's a good experience for him? Answer

Coincidentally, I’m in the market for a muzzle, myself! I’ve chosen the Baskerville Ultra Muzzle because it’s fairly open in the front which should make feeding treats very easy. I also like that it’s a softer material than a metal basket muzzle, so muzzle punching is probably much less painful (for human and dog) with a Baskerville muzzle. But whichever brand you choose, be sure to get a basket muzzle and not a cloth, grooming muzzle. Grooming muzzles restrict breathing and prevent panting, drinking, and eating; so they should only be used for very short periods of time while the dog is inactive. Also, dogs can still bite using the sides of their mouths wearing a cloth muzzle, so they’re not even safe for humans.

Because your dog is nervous of new things, you should introduce the muzzle incredibly slowly. Start by just showing your dog the muzzle and feeding him, hide the muzzle behind your back and stop feeding, bring the muzzle back out and feed again. Do this for at least a few days until your dog gets excited when he sees the muzzle. Then you can spend a little while rewarding your dog for sniffing the muzzle. If your dog knows how to nose-target objects, he may offer targeting the muzzle. Reward him for any voluntary interaction, and jackpot any time he sniff or bumps inside the muzzle. After your dog seems very happy with those small interactions, you can try making a “muzzle popsicle” by wrapping the end of the muzzle with aluminium foil, pouring in some broth or yoghurt, and freezing it over night. Remove the foil and let your dog put his head in the muzzle to lick up the tasty goodies. For the first popsicle, you may want to just let your dog lick away as you hold the muzzle. If your dog seems calm and confident “wearing” the muzzle as he licks, you can make another, shallow popsicle and try attaching one the of the head straps as your dog licks away. Remember to keep these sessions short so your dog is disappointed when you take the muzzle away and excited when it returns. Once your dog seems comfortable wearing the muzzle as he’s licking, you can try smearing the end of the muzzle with peanut butter or cheese spread to help your dog into the muzzle, and then hand feed him for a few seconds through the end. If your dog is happily stuffing his nose into the muzzle as soon as he sees it, you can try putting it on him without the spread and just feed him through the front at a pretty high rate. Gradually decrease the length of time between treats as your dog is wearing the muzzle, and he should adjust to wearing it without much trouble. Just remember to go slowly and do everything in very short sessions. You want to stop while your dog is still excited about his muzzle, so don’t wait for him to become frustrated before ending the session.

I hope that helps! Not related to muzzles, but if you’re worried about how your dog will react in class, contact your trainer ahead of time to discuss your concerns. They should be willing to either have an assistant help get your dog safely into, and out of, the training hall; or they should have an area set up to keep you and your dog separated as you move into and out of class. They should also be willing to erect temporary barriers or give you extra space to help your dog cope in such a busy environment and keep everyone safe. I’m sure your trainer has experience with reactive dogs and will help everything go as smoothly as possible, but you’ll probably feel more comfortable knowing what safety procedures are in place.

le-acid-kitteh said:

I think no matter what some people are just more nervous about big dogs due to bad experience or total lack of experience or whatever! It sucks but people judge big dogs for no reason when the little guys are, on average, more aggressive.

Yeah, I’m actually really surprised by the dramatic difference, though. I just figured some people were afraid of dogs and that’s that? And Maulkin really isn’t that big. He’s shy of 50 lbs, and there are lots of Labs and Goldens around here that are easily twice his size or more. Aussies are also incredibly popular in Toronto, and they run about Maulkin’s size, so it’s not that unusual. I wonder if part of it is because he’s black. I noticed that people stop my coworker on the street to greet her gold mutt and she’s about the same size as Maulkin.

oliveramy:

doggydayjob:

oliveramy:

doggydayjob:

It’s a completely different experience walking with little Viola compared to Maulkin. Even though Maulkin is well-trained and ignores people when we walk, there are always people (especially kids and teens) who jump out of our way or even scream when they see us. With Viola, people run up and try to kiss her and make a fuss even when she’s barking and lunging at them. Viola happens to be overwhelmingly friendly and was never taught self-control around strangers, so she’s not a danger. But her behaviour looks like any other type of reactivity, and it amazes me people find it endearing just because she’s small.

I’m thinking about adding ribbons to Maulkin’s ears when we walk to make him look less intimidating. While I don’t want people running up to him, I don’t want them running away screaming, either. He takes it all in stride, but I find it really frustrating.

But Maulkin is fluffy and not gigantic. Why are people so afraid of him? I understand why people want to swoop down on Viola but Maulkin isn’t an “intimidating breed” so running away from him is weird…

I think it’s because we’re in a city, so people are only used to Labs and Goldens as large dogs and everything else is a pocket dog. It’s a lot worse in the residential area where we live now. Around our previous apartment, people would stop me on the street to say Maulkin’s beautiful and ask to greet him. Here, people stop me to tell me he’s too big or that I’m feeding him too many treats.*

*Everyone around here uses prong collars or choke chains or just don’t train their dogs at all.

Guess they’ve never seen Babe or Babe, Pig in the City

I hate when people call my corgi fat. He’s not. You just don’t know what a corgi is. Ugh. Some people.

How frustrating!

And I still can’t believe prong collars are legal here. People use then as collars and dogs will wear them at the dog park! Its disgusting.

I don’t think they’re implying that he’s fat (though he does look fat with all that fur!); it’s just they’ve never seen someone train with treats or use just treats without corrections. Most of the people around here seem to think that food rewards are a once-in-a-while kind of treat, like giving a kid ice cream. They don’t seem to understand food can be used as payment for services rendered. To them, it just looks like I’m constantly shoving junk food at my dog instead of paying him with a portion of his food for what he does for me.

Yes, people here do that, too! They let their dogs run through the dog parks and wrestle with other dogs wearing their prong collars! So dangerous! What if a dog gets their jaw stuck in the prongs? Or people who use prong collars and choke chains with flexi leashes. Completely baffling.

oliveramy:

doggydayjob:

It’s a completely different experience walking with little Viola compared to Maulkin. Even though Maulkin is well-trained and ignores people when we walk, there are always people (especially kids and teens) who jump out of our way or even scream when they see us. With Viola, people run up and try to kiss her and make a fuss even when she’s barking and lunging at them. Viola happens to be overwhelmingly friendly and was never taught self-control around strangers, so she’s not a danger. But her behaviour looks like any other type of reactivity, and it amazes me people find it endearing just because she’s small.

I’m thinking about adding ribbons to Maulkin’s ears when we walk to make him look less intimidating. While I don’t want people running up to him, I don’t want them running away screaming, either. He takes it all in stride, but I find it really frustrating.

But Maulkin is fluffy and not gigantic. Why are people so afraid of him? I understand why people want to swoop down on Viola but Maulkin isn’t an “intimidating breed” so running away from him is weird…

I think it’s because we’re in a city, so people are only used to Labs and Goldens as large dogs and everything else is a pocket dog. It’s a lot worse in the residential area where we live now. Around our previous apartment, people would stop me on the street to say Maulkin’s beautiful and ask to greet him. Here, people stop me to tell me he’s too big or that I’m feeding him too many treats.*

*Everyone around here uses prong collars or choke chains or just don’t train their dogs at all.

"

Are there any services that we purchase in our lives that only focus on the method used to achieve the goal, and not the time it will take, cost or results?

I think Dog Training might be the only one.

"

Monique Anstee (25 July 2014)
www.naughtydogge.com
(via prairiegsds)

__

Time, cost, and results are all considerations in dog training.* But all fields of education also take methodology and ethics into consideration. And also child care, and any field where welfare is an important component, is going to put methodology and ethics above time, cost, and even results.

*And the implied claim that R+ training doesn’t work is frustrating and laughable.

It’s a completely different experience walking with little Viola compared to Maulkin. Even though Maulkin is well-trained and ignores people when we walk, there are always people (especially kids and teens) who jump out of our way or even scream when they see us. With Viola, people run up and try to kiss her and make a fuss even when she’s barking and lunging at them. Viola happens to be overwhelmingly friendly and was never taught self-control around strangers, so she’s not a danger. But her behaviour looks like any other type of reactivity, and it amazes me people find it endearing just because she’s small.

I’m thinking about adding ribbons to Maulkin’s ears when we walk to make him look less intimidating. While I don’t want people running up to him, I don’t want them running away screaming, either. He takes it all in stride, but I find it really frustrating.

spacelulu:

so my mom’s personal trainer has a dog, and she wanted to meet up to talk about socialization. it never really worked out - i guess she’s really busy. however a couple days ago she sent me an email that said “i’ve cc’d my friend who has a dog with aggression, hopefully you can help her.” so… i have no idea what the source of the aggression is, so i can’t really plan ahead for talking to this lady. i’m pretty good with fear based aggression - using counter conditioning, you change your dog’s emotional state. right? but like.. other aggression, i’m not even sure. i’ve never worked much with aggressive dogs. 

so i gave her my phone number and she said she’d “call me soon!”… i’m real nervous.

at least if i really am out of my depth i can send her to my boss who actually does behaviour mod stuff all the time.

Unless the dog is reactive due to pain or a neurological abnormality, CCing should help. Fear is the most common cause of aggression in dogs, and some behaviourists actually believe it’s the only non-physical cause of aggression.* And at the very least, you can put some precautions in place to keep everyone safe. You’ll do fine!

*At least, so long as prey behaviour isn’t considered a type of aggression.

Maulkin holds his breath when I ask him to freeze. That’s a little more frozen than I wanted….

21stcenturyjaws:

Looking for any +R trainers or supporters blogs to follow, hit me up!

jaguar135:

Any spoonies out there who have dogs that are not service dogs?

I want a dog. I really really really want one. But a) I have no experience with dogs and b) I’m still figuring out this chronic illness thing because it is still quite new (major symptoms are fatigue, pain, and fog).

What are your thoughts? Is it okay to get a dog? What should I consider when making this decision?

You should know your limitations before searching for a dog, and then find one that requires less from you than you think you can offer. You’ll need your dog to know how to relax on your bad days and take full advantage of your better days. Some of that can be controlled through training (like teaching calm behaviour in the house) and proper management (puzzle toys!), but some breeds are more accommodating than others. Once you get your illness under control, you can always get a second dog if you want a more active companion to give your calmer dog a break.

Your best bet is probably to search for an adult dog. Raising a puppy takes a huge amount of time and effort, and you can’t be sure of their personality until they’re at least two years old. With an older dog, you’d have a better idea of their needs to compare with your abilities. Also take grooming and breed health into consideration. Personally, I find the repetitive motion of brushing my dog very painful, and he needs to be brushed every day. If you end up with a dog with joint problems, you may need to carry them up stairs or lift them into cars, so consider if that’s an option for you when choosing the size and breed of your dog.

If you have the time and energy for a dog, there’s no reason not to get one. Some days, my dog is the only reason I get out of bed, and he definitely keeps me much more active than I would be otherwise. It’s easier to ignore the pain knowing he’s depending on me, and I don’t think I’d be as happy and healthy as I am now without him in my life.