REMEMBER---credentials are only as good as the person who has them. This is why observing a trainer is important. One CAN be credentialed and still not have good mechanics or skills.

What to look for: *Clear statements about what training methods are used. *Photos of dogs in flat collars, harnesses, martingales *Evidence of education/credentials, organizational affiliation with positive reinforcement based organizations *Breadth of experience *Trainer pictures and biographies readily found *Trainer is insured *Evidence of ongoing professional development with organizations and professionals in the field who are recognized experts in the use of counter conditioning and reinforcement based training. *Willingness to let you visit a class, interview the trainer. *Trainer displays a high rate of reinforcement to dogs that is rapidly delivered. Warning signals: * Trainer is vague about the methods used. Implies that different dogs/breeds require different training methods * Website shows an online store that sells aversive equipment or supplements with no science supporting them * Trainer uses terms such as dog psychologist, behaviouralist, behaviourologist * Dogs on the website all seem to have bandanas around their necks for no discernable reason * Trainer suggests warning vests/collars/leashes. * Trainer talks about dominance, rank reduction, alpha status or handling your dog “like a mother dog would” or “as the pack would”. * Trainer offers a guarantee of success * Trainer talks about working with Red Zone or Level 10 dogs * Trainer says they succeed where all others have failed. * Trainer encourages ONLY group classes or ONLY board and train. * Trainer uses proprietary protocols not recommended by Reactive Dogs group * Trainer states they don’t use food or describe food use as “bribing” * Trainer sees using food for behavioural rehab as “rewarding bad behaviour”

Questions to ask. I’ve worded these questions carefully so that I can suss out a trainer who may be using techniques I’m NOT comfortable with, but they haven’t been open about on their website: * Can I sit down with you and ask some questions? * Can I observe a class? * Who are your mentors? What trainers/behaviour experts do you learn from and respect? * How will you keep my pet, other people and other pets safe? * What dog training equipment do you use when training a dog or do you recommend I use? * What happens in your training program when the dog responds in the way you want him to? * What happens in your training program when the dog responds in the way you do not want him to? * How will you punish the dog or advise me to punish the dog if he gets something wrong or exhibits a behavior I do not like? * How do you ensure that my dog is not inadvertently being punished? * How do you know that the type of reinforcement you have selected to train my dog is appropriate? * How will you know or how will I know if my dog is stressed during the training? * Which professional dog training associations are you a member of? * Will you guarantee your training results? * How do you think a dog’s behavior should be addressed if the dog is growling or snapping at people or other dogs?

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Updated: May 31, 2020

I muzzle train all my dogs…my permanents, my fosters and sometimes my boarding dog (if I have the owner’s consent). Why? Because you never know when your dog may have to have a muzzle and you don’t want their first experience with it to be in a high stress situation. Some dogs may need one for reactivity to other dogs or humans, some may need one to stop them from consuming everything in sight on a walk (this is called Pica). There are many reasons that a dog may need a muzzle and the smart owner conditions their dog to one and practices with it throughout their life. Increasingly, good trainers are starting to introduce muzzle training in their puppy classes. I consider it basic husbandry training. You want a muzzle that allows the dog to pant, to eat and to drink. You will be associating the muzzle with GOOD THINGS like food during the conditioning/training. This is a video of me conditioning Louis the puppy to a muzzle.

The video below is of me training my then 15 year old pug, Annabelle, to a muzzle. She was in the early stages of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (Dog Alzheimer’s) and while I would have muzzle trained her anyway, I especially wanted to do it since she was losing her cognitive skills. With the loss of her cognitive skills, the risk of her getting snarky at the vets or the groomers was high.

This is NOT hard to do and there ARE muzzles for pugs (see the pictures attached). The two types of muzzles for flat faced breeds that are pictured are:

Canine Friendly Short Snout Muzzle (no eye holes):

JYHY Short Snout Muzzle (with eye holes)

The best resource for learning about muzzles and muzzle training is The Muzzle Up Project:

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 367 pugs rescued since October, 2005

Pugalug Pug Rescue is a registered charity #85426-8430 RR0001

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