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MemberDecember 21, 2020 at 2:35 pm230
So far they have been using shaping by successive approximations to encourage him to voluntarily put his nose into the muzzle (feeding on the outside of the muzzle for now) with the muzzle completely still (so no straps yet, only using a “yes” reward marker with high-value treats).
As far as putting the muzzle in a dish with food inside, this would just be used to help him get used to the sensation of the muzzle without a person standing close to him. Once he is confident with this, they could use shaping by successive approximations to get him to put his nose into the muzzle while it is on the floor or dish with no food inside (so no guarding risk at that point). Once he is confident with that picture, I am hoping they will be able to resume more “typical” muzzle conditioning with the muzzle on their lap. I don’t see guarding being an issue with this plan.
Are you familiar with shaping? With proper marker timing, a dog can be rewarded for a behavior at a distance and either come to the handler for a reward or the handler tosses the treat to the dog.
As stated before, they are doing NILIF which is essentially another way of saying that resources and privileges are being earned by the dog (food, walks, etc.). He cannot be crated, but they do have a tether station so they can contain him and have him earn freedom.