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MuzzleUp! Dispelling the Stigma of Muzzles, a Workshop by Maureen Backman

July 17, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Imagine a fearful dog gaining confidence and weaving around agility poles while wearing a muzzle. Or a shy dog running toward the muzzle from across the room in order to place her snout in the basket, eagerly anticipating her reward. These aren’t just pipe dreams; training makes them possible for dogs of varied breeds, backgrounds and temperaments. When done the proper way, muzzle training can increase the trust in you and your dog’s relationship.

In the world of dog behavior, one of the most essential but misunderstood pieces of safety equipment we have is the muzzle.Dogs wear muzzles for a plethora of reasons.Unfortunately, their appearance and the judgments associated with them prevent their usage, sometimes with tragic consequences.

This workshop will cover the how-to’s of muzzle training, including working through common trouble spots, as well as incorporating tricks, games and activities so that dogs feel comfortable and happy wearing a muzzle. We’ll also discuss how to tailor dogs’ muzzle training for specific scenarios like the veterinary office and leash walks. Demo dogs will be present to demonstrate muzzle conditioning, training and usage.


Dog Ownersunspecified-2

  • Learn how to implement a muzzle training plan, troubleshoot tricky spots, and provide muzzle enrichment activities
  • Learn how to be proactive and set your dog up for success, including fear-free vet visits and early intervention for aggression and fear
  • Education on what types of muzzles work best, how to modify for best fit, and how to combat stigma with muzzle art and games

Dog Trainers

  • Have an expanded skill set to offer clients
  • Learn ways to incorporate muzzle training into training packages to yield more successful case outcomes and happier clients
  • Learn how to modify muzzle training plans depending on a dog’s presenting behavior plan
  • Use counseling skills to increase client motivation to follow through with muzzle training, and create a successful rapport between trainer and client to ensure successful, efficient training
  • Incorporate muzzle training into a consultation package

Veterinarians and Hospital StaffIMG_5838

  • Increase successful muzzle training outcomes
  • Reduce fear and stress during veterinary visits
  • Provide your clinic with resources to further support clients, improving quality of care and value of services
  • Improve client compliance for training follow-through

Shelter Staff

  • Learn how to address shelter-specific challenges for implementing muzzle training protocols
  • Learn how to continue implementing muzzle training program as part of shelter services


MAUREEN BACKMAN MS, CTC, PCT-A is the owner of Mutt About Town, which offers private dog training services in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in work with fearful dogs. Maureen’s particular strength is combining her knowledge of counseling along with her studies in animal learning and behavior to help humans understand how to communicate and work with their dogs. She is strongly committed to using only force-free training methods.

Maureen is the founding director of The Muzzle Up! Project. Through partnering with veterinarians, businesses, rescues and trainers worldwide, Muzzle Up! aims to educate the public about dog behavior, safety, and why we don’t need to fear muzzles.

She graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers, is certified in training by the Pet Professional Guild, and has a master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Date: Sunday July 17, 2016
Time: 9am-5pm
Location: Synergy’s Behavior Center (2127 NW York St., Portland, OR 97210)
Fee: $75 per person, space is limited (Includes snacks, lunch, and any handouts).

  • To help keep prices down, we recommend that you bring your own folding chair if you have one. We have 20 chairs but are expecting more participants than chairs.
  • Cancellation: Before July 1, 2016 – the full amount minus $20 processing will be returned. The  fee is non-refundable after July 1, 2016

***Continuing Education: Please check back frequently for CE information.

  • IAABC: 8 CEUs
  • CPDT/Oregon Veterinary/WA Veterinary pending.


  1. Please fill out the Registration Form for the MuzzleUp Workshop. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.
  2. CLICK HERE To Pay. If you prefer to pay by check, please mail it to Synergy Veterinary Behavior, 2127 NW York St., Portland, OR 97210. Your spot in the workshop is held with receipt of payment. Please read the cancellation policy stated above.
  3. This workshop is for humans only. Demo dogs will be present. Please leave your personal dog(s) at home.


For lodging information ideas in Portland, visit:  http://www.travelportland.com/

Two hotels that are within close walking distance to our facility are:

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Portland-Nw Downtown (Within Walking Distance)
2333 NW Vaughn St
Portland, OR 97210
Silver Cloud Inn – Portland (Within Walking Distance)
2426 NW Vaughn St
Portland, OR 97210


July 17, 2016
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Scott Raymond
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Synergy Veterinary Behavior
2127 NW York Street
Portland, OR 97210 United States
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