Dog punishment is something that a lot of owners subscribe to, and that’s chiefly because they view their dogs like children. Well all know that time outs and the occasional pinch on the arm are all it usually takes to keep our kids in line, but there’s a HUGE point that owners miss. Dogs are not kids. Dogs are dogs. Dog punishment does nothing but instill fear and sometimes even aggression in a dog. So don’t do it!
Dog Punishment is Faulty on Every Level
Dog punishment doesn’t work. In all the posts I’ve written, I’ve never really covered this idea in-depth before, but I think it’s time. I recently came across a question in one of the forums from an owner who said her dog lunged at her and bit her after she pinched him for digging through the trash. Just reading her question was enough to make me realize that there needs to be more written on this subject. So let’s break this down.
Dog Punishment can Cause a Violent Reaction
As I’ve stated in previous posts, dogs are creatures of instinct. Everything they do, even cuddling up to us at night, is driven by instinct, as are the actions of all animals. Part of instinct is the fight or flight response. When confronted with a stimulus that could be perceived as a threat, dogs only really have two responses – run away or attack the attacker. In the case of the woman’s post, she probably pinched her dog WHILE he was digging through the garbage. Because the dog didn’t know what was causing it discomfort, he immediately and instinctively turned, lunged, and bit. Completely not his fault.
Dog Punishment is not Understood
Again, dogs are NOT people. They have a cause/effect response, but it’s not as advanced as ours. And they certainly don’t have the capacity for situational comprehension. This means that there is a high likelihood that he will not understand why he is receiving his incomprehensible physical stimuli from his best friend. Which brings us to my next point.
Dog Punishment can Instill Fear and Distrust
When you use physical punishment such as pinching, smacking, or anything similar to that on your dog, it only serves to make him fearful. Even if you catch him in the act, and he manages to associate the action with his “punishment” all you’ve done is shown your dog that you are a master to be feared.
Dog Punishment – Just Don’t Do It
Dog punishment doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Dog’s don’t understand the human language. They have a cause and effect way of looking at the world that extends only to themselves and their immediate situation, so punishment usually comes too late to be effective on any level, anyway. And even if dog punishment comes at a time when dogs can associate it with their actions, it only serves to make them fearful of their owners.
Instead of dog punishment, practice rewarding dogs. When a dog misbehaves do something like clapping loudly or giving a quick spray to the snout with a water bottle to distract them away from what you don’t want them to do. Always remember to reward the correct behavior, whether you ask your dog to do it or he does it on his own. Dog punishment doesn’t work but rewards do.
What are your thoughts on better ways to train a dog than through heavy-handed tactics? Share your input on dog punishment below?