Thank you, Selzer. I will work on implementing these suggestions. We had a large fenced yard until about a week ago but will have a fenced yard again at our next location. Someone had also suggested that I used a lead that wraps over her nose. I know that when I had her muzzled for vet appointments people assumed she was dangerous.
How should I handle this? She is not a mean dog. She is truly very sweet. I hate that people see her that way. Are there more benefits to the basket muzzle or is it simply safer? Also, is a 6' lead long enough during our trust building exercises?
Selzer had some awesome advice.
What that person was talking about on your post in FB, was a head collar or gentle leader. It is a collar that wraps around the top of their nose under their chin and behind the ears. This is meant for dogs that need leash training. Ones that won't walk with YOU and pull. When they pull, it causes their head to be pulled back toward who's holding the leash. I do not believe this will be beneficial to you in any way. you say she's pretty good on lead already except for those distractions, and something tells me she would not care if something was on her face in those situations and she'd fight the pressure of the pull regardless.
I started to tell you a little on FB about more training. I think that's where you need to concentrate for now. (along with the great suggestions from Selzer) but you mentioned she is stubborn and won't do certain things for you without treats. That's ok for now. The idea is to just get her thinking and using her mind when you guys are training. Do sessions multiple times a day and under no distraction. Get her proficient in those commands. Things like sit, stay, down, wait, release, place, etc.. teach her things for manners but also fun. Teach her to focus on you. I teach "eyes" and make him hold his focus until I release.
I know you mentioned in our messages that she doesn't like toys. Does she like to play at all? Fetch? Tug? Flirt Pole? Ex: Titan is INSANE over a tennis ball and frisbee, so we use those in place of treats a lot of the time when training. I do a few commands then we play.. then commands, then play.. it tires him out physically and mentally at the same time. If it were me, because you don't have a fenced in yard, I would get a longer lead for her when you do training, maybe 15-20 feet. As long as you have control of the lead and you aren't training around people. This would be just to give her the feel of not being restricted. You can practice recalls and long stays this way while still holding the lead and walking away.
Whatever you decide on, be consistent and when you feel yourself getting frustrated, stop training, end on a good note, and come back later to try again. Right now I'd truly focus on her OB.
Also, from the little I know about muzzles.. the basket muzzle gives the dog full motion while not allowing her to bite. When I was fitting my mastiff for one when she was a puppy, she had a cloth one that completely restricted her mouth movement. She could only growl and not open her mouth at all.
not promoting either, or even the site for that matter because I have little experience with them, but this was a site that had both on the same page so can physically see the difference and how less restrictive the basket is for the dog.
Also, at this point, I know you don't want your dog to be viewed as aggressive, but understand that you are keeping everyone involved safe, including yoru dog, when you muzzle her in public. Ignorant people will label her as aggressive, and knowledgable people will appreciate you for taking the right precautions with her.