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Snout grip in dogs: Is it suitable for dog training?

Snout grip in dogs: Is it suitable for dog training?

Snout grip in dogs: Is it suitable for dog training?

The muzzle grip is used by some dog owners as a kind of “panacea” in dog training, for example, when barking or other undesirable behavior. However, this method is anything but practical! Animal rights activists also call the measure brutal and unsuitable for the species-appropriate handling of animals.

The snout grasp is a grasp with which the dog owner grasps its quadruped from above over the snout and presses the lips against the teeth lying under it with more or less intense pressure. For dogs, this is very unpleasant and sometimes associated with great pain. Puppies and young dogs sometimes cry out when the grip is used against them. Therefore, you should not use this method to discipline your dog.

Animal rights activists and responsible dog owners reject any form of corporal punishment in dogs. Of course, punishment must sometimes be, but never please by force! Much better – and usually more effective – are indirect disciplines such as withdrawal of attention.

For dogs, the muzzle grip by their owner is an actual assault. It can even lead to the quadruped becoming afraid of the hand of the master or mistress, snapping after it, and becoming aggressive. So if a puppy bites after the muzzle grip, users need not be surprised.

In general, if an animal is brought up with pain, behavioral problems such as aggression or an anxiety disorder are usually the consequences. The human-dog friendship can be permanently damaged. 

Does the dog’s mother use the muzzle grip?

Dog owners, who want to justify the muzzle grip in dog training, often bring forward a particular argument: that the dog mother also bites her puppies in the muzzle if they do not behave. This cannot stand in such a way, unfortunately. 

Indeed, dog mothers apply the muzzle grip with their boys if they do not want to hear with undesirable behavior also after repeated warnings. However, the intra-species muzzle grip is not comparable to the painful grip on the muzzle used by humans.

A mother dog would never grip so hard that her puppies feel pain and squeal. The intraspecies muzzle grip is based on instinctive behavior that is exceptionally well controlled to give her puppies an educational rest. The puppy immediately holds entirely still in the mama’s mouth, calms down, and is then released from the mother’s grasp. 

Once again, this mother-to-puppy action cannot be equated with a human’s painful grip on a dog’s lips. Moreover, dogs also use the grip playfully. Without exerting any pressure, the dogs snap quite tenderly at the muzzle of a conspecific.

Alternatives to the snout grip: how to train your dog correctly and without violence

There are countless alternatives to the snout grip, with which you can train your dog much better and more animal-friendly. Most important condition: Take your time. Teach your dog essential commands like “No!” and “Off!” from the beginning and stay consistent in the rules you set up. Then your dog will also stick to them. 

A good – and above all non-violent – method of dog training is negative reinforcement: If your dog behaves in a particular situation the way you want, a negative stimulus disappears. If your dog begs for food at the table, for example, you acknowledge this with a firm “No!” and a stern look. As soon as your dog stops begging, you look at him again in a friendly manner, thus removing the harmful stimulus.

The positive reinforcement method works the other way: Here, you reward desired behavior. For example, if your dog comes running to you immediately when you call him, he gets a treat or a good petting.

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