Why you should never spank your dog

Try positive reinforcement rather than spanking

Let’s face it, most dogs misbehave from time to time.  While it may be tempting to correct the bad behavior with a spank, you should never discipline your dog physically.  Spanking is confusing to your dog, may cause your dog to become hand-shy or fearful of you, and most importantly, doesn’t teach him the desired behavior.

If your dog is misbehaving, what is a better method of correcting him? Any unpleasant stimulus will work to let your dog know his behavior is unwanted.  A negative stimulus may be something such as a loud noise (shaking a can of coins, for example), or a brief tug on the leash.  The negative result teaches him to avoid the behavior.  Your dog must receive the negative stimulus at the same time the bad behavior occurs; otherwise, he will not associate the negative result with the behavior.  A stern voice is oftentimes all that is necessary to correct many dogs.

The best way to teach your dog the desired behavior is with positive reinforcement when he behaves correctly.  For example, rather than spanking a dog for urinating in the house, provide an opportunity for him to relieve himself in an appropriate place and then praise him lavishly when he performs.

Remember, your dog loves physical contact, as long as it is not done in anger. Most dogs even enjoy light spanking done playfully. Avoid physical punishment and you can ensure your dog always looks forward to your touch.

What are your thoughts on spanking a pet?

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  1. Angel Ms. Phoebe's Fur SibsAugust 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I call spanking abuse and an act of ignorance and laziness on the owner’s part. It is just a stupid fix by a dumb human who cannot apply appropriate discipline because they cannot control their anger and do not have the patience to learn proper methods of dog training. I have met so many dumb people who do this and then are surprised when it does nothing to correct the behavior except make their dog fearful and aggressive of humans. Those who cannot understand and follow proper dog training and advice have no business having a dog or any other pet, and especially a human child. Stupid is as stupid does as the saying goes.

  2. I have a puppy, I reward her for going potty outside and scold her with a loud voice when she has accidents inside and bring her outside immediately. Lately she has been jumping on the furniture and urinating. I scold her and bring her out. But it happens multiple times a day now. I’ve never spanked her and I am against animal abuse but the comment the last said about ignorance and laziness is rude. I grew up learning that it was okay to flick an animals nose to correct something or make it stop and that it was okay to even hold the mouth closed of your barking dog to get it to stop. I was spanked and grew up just fine and respectful and not abusive at all. With that said, I am sticking to positive reinforcement for my puppy but what’s a better way to treat this case now it has escalated?

  3. to Mrs. Phoebes Fur Sibs.,

    If you called me or anyone i know “a dumb person”, not only would i spank you, but i would beat the shit out of you. i think you are one of those people who have “internet muscles” and are a complete coward. as far as spanking animals, a light tap, and stern, or upset voice is one way that may work. read up on animal psychology my dear friends, and disregard post by people like “Ms Phoebe”.

  4. That’s a load of crap. Do you know what a mother dog does to her pups to train them. She will beat the living crap out of them and that seems to have worked for several million years. I’ve whipped every dog I’ve had when they misbehave and none of them was hand shy and all became very obedient and well behaved. They become hand shy from abuse not discipline. There is a difference. You reward the dog for good behavior and show them love, they understand the difference. And if you beat the dog’s butt for jumping on the furniture and urinating, it would stop immediately.

  5. to Mrs. Phoebes Fur Sibs.,


  6. Phoebe’s,

    You are an idiot who probably has dogs that walk all over and dominate you without you even knowing it. The rest of us intelligent dog owners do not put up with that behavior.

    Does a mother dog or pack leader give a misbehaving dog a timeout, stern voice, or praise to control behavior?? Heck no! A misbehaving dog will quickly get its butt torn up by a mother/pack leader and it learns from it. So has every dog I’ve owned. My dogs have never been abused or fearful and have been some of the best behaved and of the best disposition that you could ever hope to come across….but there’s not a one of them that didn’t get a good whooping every now and then for bad behavior.

    The above posters and I apparently all share the same sentiment and obviously this works. Stop letting your animals (and most likely children too) make you their doormat. Physical punishment is almost always required in the raising of a pet or person.

  7. The mother is not going to be its life long companion either….she knows that…and she never beats the crap out of her own pups either…that is absoutely not true….I would hate to see how cowed down your animals are…I can tell from the way you post things you are nothing but a bully …Period

  8. Mrs. Phoebes Fur Sibs, shame on you.

  9. My dog will bark at me when I’m doing something that doesn’t involve him. We takw long walks, go to thw dog park, play fetch, play in in our apartment. I give him a LOT of attention but if I answer the pjone or get on the computer or fold cloths he barks at me because it doesn’t include him. I tried the timeout thing and he lays down and stays there but it’s really not working in the long run (or so it seemed) I gave him two good wacks on his bottom to get his undivided attention and it worked (he does understand what I’m saying but he’s stubborn) and you better believe he was quiet after that. When he was a baby I could never but now he’s 7 months old and he thinks he rules me. Not gonna happen. I really don’t think a good wack on the botton at the time of the offense is “abuse” and he’s not confused about why he got spanked. It’s this same mentality that has our children running amuck now a day. Spare the rod spoil the child.

    Nonetheless I think to say you “beat the sh*t” out of him does sound abusive… I don’t know how literal that statement is but I wouldn’t do that. Just a wack on his bottom to get his attention and let him know I’m serious. Then nothing but love when we’re together and he know I love him.

  10. When my dog misbehaves, I yell at him and give him a spank on his bottom and he stops. Its not like a hard spank, just a light tap with my four fingers. Its not abusive, its corrective, and my dog understands that. Now whenever he misbehaves, I don’t even have to physically touch him most of the time, I just raise my hands with a scolding ‘no’ and he stops. Don’t be a wimpy owner. You are supposed to be the pack leader, and pack leaders lead by example of what and what not to do. My dog is in no way psychologically harmed and knows the difference between both forms of physical contact. He is never fearful of me, nor hand shy, except when he misbehaves of course.

  11. I spank my dogs so what. They sleep on the bed, get fed the best food, clean water everyday and walked 4 times a day rain or shine. I dare anyone to come to me and say I abuse my dogs. They know I am alpha and they will be treated well no matter what. The people who write these articles think dogs are not smart and can’t tell the difference between a spank and a touch.

  12. Let me start out by saying that I love my dog and I’m not a violent person who enjoys spanking her dog. It is a relief to see so many dog owners express their experience. I have spanked my puppy in the past and it is the only thing that worked. I feel awful and guilty and I don’t like doing it at all, but my dog is smart and she stops the behavior. She’s not afraid of me at all and does shy away from my hand when she is misbehaving to the point where she knows the hand means stop. She stops immediately and licks me and gives me kisses and I love her for that. I don’t have to actually smack her in the butt she already knows and gets a few chances before it gets to that point now. There’s a huge difference between abuse and lightly spanking. My parents didn’t spank me as a child but they didn’t need to. Just the fact that I knew they would if I misbehaved was enough to keep me out of trouble. Spanking out of love is not pleasant but sometimes it’s necessary. I think people would rather rule it out as an option as to avoid making it a gray area. I think it’s simple to recognize the difference between discipline and going too far. That’s where intelligence comes in to play.

  13. I had to spank my one of my dogs today. I own three (3), and while cleaning and cooking he is always underneath my feet. He fancies himself the alpha of the three. I have tripped over him and hurt myself many times in attempts not to harm him and instead have gained injuries daily. Today I am nursing a broken finger (not his fault) but am working in the kitchen and he’s constantly circling my feet, while the other two dogs stay quietly out of my kitchen as none of them are allowed. This particular dog seems to think the rules do not apply to him. So while I almost tripped on him again today and fell back on my counter hurting my wrist I decided I could not take it anymore. So I took my sandal and whopped him on the butt. He thought it was play time and kept coming back in and circling me while I cooked. I whopped him again and yelled to get out of my kitchen. Long story short (too late) he didn’t stay out, apparently my sandal does nothing, and my positive reinforcement training only works for the other two dogs. When I put this one in his crate (only a foot away), while I finished cooking, he barked the entire 20 minutes. I believe he is possessed, no other explanation.

  14. I bet Ms phoebe’s dogs are out of control and have no manners.

  15. Well Ms. Phoebe’s apparently you grew up as a spoiled brat never getting your ass whipped so it’s easy to say that. If you whip your dog with a news paper why would the dog be scared of your your look it up if you are so smart.

  16. So many comments on this site from people who apparently cannot read with good comprehension. The article above, from the animal behavioral expert, says, “While it may be tempting to correct the bad behavior with a spank, you should never discipline your dog physically. Spanking is confusing to your dog, may cause your dog to become hand-shy or fearful of you, and most importantly, doesn’t teach him the desired behavior.”

    You can maintain good control over a dog without hitting it as part of discipline. Yes, it is important for the human owner to assert dominance. But this can be done with voice tone, and withholding praise until the right behavior. The actual training should be done with positive reinforcement. I had the most well behaved dog on the planet, who is now in doggie heaven. I did NOT train her with spanks.

    Do not hit your kids either. Spanking, hitting, does not teach right from wrong. It is just an outlet of aggression on the part of the spanker.

  17. I definitely spank my dog. But within reason.

    If I catch her in the act of pooping in the house yelling, yelping, water bottle etc dont work for stopping her. Ive literally grabbed her and picked her up rush her out the door and the poo kept rolling while we were running. So i swat her butt to get to her to clench that butt hole and then we go out side.

    Or when she takes a snap at my face or hands. She’ll get a quick nose bop and a stern “DOWN!”

    If she jumps on the couch I push her off and if she tries to jump right back up I grab her scruff and push her down to the floor and make her lay down. She doesnt try the couch at all anymore after grabbing her scruff.

  18. I came here tonight because I have a very intelligent, very loved, miniature poodle. I could not love him any more than I do.

    With that being said, not a half hour ago I gave him a good whack on the behind. He is the first small dog I’ve ever had, and the first dog period since my German Shepherd passed away in 2003.

    Anyway, this dog picks up on everything and learns things that blow my mind! He is the smartest dog I’ve ever had! So after a bath this even and 3 trips outside within an hour span, he seemed ticked off at me for doing something during his grooming process that he doesn’t like. He was acting aggressive and not listening at all. Not 3 feet from me he pooped right on the floor! I stood him near the poop, told him, No! and whacked him on the butt! It is the very first time he seemed to calm down and take me seriously. I sure don’t like having to do this, but he is a very smart and stubborn dog. My dad used to whack our beagle, and he never cowered or feared my dad, he not only respected him, but followed him everywhere!

    I read all of the comments and the woman up there at the top seems a bit ignorant to me. And as far as how a pack animal treat their pups or others, that guy was some what right, I think he just phrased it wrong. Yes, pack parents do snap, bite and even draw blood on a misbehaved pup. That pup soon learns to mind. I would never beat on my dog, but from now on when it comes to something as serious as pooping on, peeing on, snapping at, etc. I’m going for the behind! If lady phoebe, thinks it is abuse, too bad. She probably has rotten misbehaved kids as well!

  19. If physical contact was wrong it wouldn’t take place in the animal kingdom, from canines to primates. And it wouldn’t work when it comes to packs and prides, Dominance in some cases is shown through aggression. Now I don’t believe a human being should beat the living hell out of an animal as if they are fighting for their lives. But when a stern voice, shaking coins, tug on a leash, or treat doesn’t get a dog to adjust its behavior. Physical contact I believe is completely appropriate. Enough to show the animal that you mean business. I have a lab, who responds to basic commands. Sometimes she tests me. Tonight she did not want to go in her crate for bed. She pulled away, ran away. She didn’t need to use the restroom, wasn’t scared just didn’t want to go to bed. Like a toddler. One firm pop just above her tail and she went right in to her crate. It makes me feel bad, I hate negative energy. She knows when it’s bed time. But it exists for a reason, people, animals of all kind respond to it for a reason. But there should always be limits. Of course, train your dog to the best of your abilities. Avoid physical contact especially if your angry. But don’t hate yourself for it, we are all animals and we all to a certain extent express frustration the same, I don’t condone animal abuse. But I don’t believe mild physical redirection is wrong, some animals need it, just like some humans need it.

  20. I bet your dog controls you phoebeFebruary 21, 2017 at 2:54 am

    I hate having to physically discipline my dog, but sometimes it is necessary. I think most people who have obedient and well trained dogs would not debate that.
    One thing I have done which I leaned from my brother (who has the most obedient, loving, and respectful dog who is full of personality) is to use an object for the discipline.(like a cord or thin stick type of object)
    The reason for this is not only so that they do not associate a hand reaching toward them with something negative, but also because using strong blunt force can have a negative impact on the joints, especially the back hips. Using an object that creates a stinging type of pain is not only more effective in the moment, but is also healthier for the dog, physically and psychologically, both short term and long term.

  21. I bet your dog controls your lifeFebruary 21, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Even though I disagree, I respected you opinion and viewpoint until the last sentence. People do not spank their dogs as an outlet of aggression. Are you just theorizing why people would spank a dog and then making a sweeping generalization about those who do so? Who are you to make such a claim? I HATE having to discipline my dog. It saddens me and I am hurt afterwards. I am usually reluctant to do it. As were my parents when they disciplined me. I’m glad they did. I’m so glad I don’t have this cuddle bunny soft safe place mindset that is rampant these days. This is the real world, not a teletubbies episode.

  22. Pheobes house smells like dog pissMarch 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Agreed with just about everyone. Phoebe is probably the kind of person who also thinks spanking a child is abuse. I’ve trained many a dog and they are wonderfully smart and obedient and have each had there fair share of licks just like me. There’s a FINE line between abuse and spanking. Phoebe your dog’s probably abuse you and your house is probably covered in dog piss and shit.

  23. Pheobes house smells like dog pissMarch 6, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Lol I had to laugh when I read your comment. “clench that butthole” hahaha. That was a good laugh thanks for commenting.

  24. When my mother made me spank my dog into training as a kid, i felt horrible. She said it “trains” them, but it just does nothing but hurt them. I would never spank an animal again, No matter if she says they will be untrained. There’s other methods to train them than with pain.

  25. I have 5 dogs..3 chi’s and a lab/ rott and the only one that I have elms with is my 2yr old,2 pd.chi I have spanked my dogs for bad behavior but with this one she is so small I’m scared to..But with her all I have to do is pick her up get eye to eye say no to her and she lays her ears back and doesn’t do it again.She will look me in the eye the whole time.

  26. I spank my puppy when she poops in the house. I have been trying to house train her for over a month now and she doesn’t listen to me yet. I don’t abuse her. I love her, she’s even a service dog. I give her the best food and as many toys as I can. But when she does wrong I really don’t have any other choice. I’m not against caving them. I just don’t have one so I can’t really do much else but spank her until I do get a cage. She knows when I’m pissed because I do yell. But she still loves me no matter what.

  27. Caging*

  28. I grew up in a family who raised German Shepherds and we never abused our dogs but we did occasionally mimics a mother dogs bite with our hands ( forming a claw with your hand and either quickly pushing or grabbing at the dog ) combined with a loud voice. Watching our mother Shepherds teach their puppies respect we learned that puppies were taught respect and the appropriate behaviors not with gentleness but with discipline. The mothers would bite, growl, and snarl at her puppies when they stepped out of line. One mother even stepped up her dicipline when her puppy tried to eat from her bowl, she took her puppies muzzle in her mouth and shook him and growled at him while he whined, her discipline was not gentle, the mother didn’t use JUST “positive reinforcement” that’s not how puppies learn.

    In fact, that’s now how animals in general learn. Animals process information and learn differently than humans do and many trainers try and humanize dogs and take a gentle approach and call it ” natural” when it’s anything but natural, they are not “people” they are animals.. This doesn’t mean a dog should be beaten or abused but it does mean the dog should be disciplined when it acts out of line.

    Discipline combined with reinforcement for good behaviors is how dogs learn.

  29. I find denying a treat works well to avoid negative behavior. It’s surprising how many words a dog understands.

  30. Krishna Dawn Brown-KrolczykJuly 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I think hitting a dog or human as a form of discipline is lazy and imaginative. There must be consequences for bad behavior but hitting is for people who just react and don’t think. The only useful thing hitting teaches is that there is a consequence. Other than than, it teaches that violence is a good way to handle your problems and you cannot trust people who are supposed to be caring for you. Hitting is a fast, knee jerk reaction for people who have no self control and were probably beat as children. They think hitting is a good way to solve problems because that is what they were taught as children.

  31. I have never touched any of my dogs besides a quick light jerk on the training (choker, I hate that term) collar for the sound when correcting an unwanted action. It is just my belief that for my dogs all touch is praise and affection. I would never tell anyone who dose spank or slap a dogs for a discipline/correction that they are bad owners or lazy as long as it is not abusive. Just like people say there are many ways to crack an egg, so too are there many ways to train and discipline/correct your dog. My dog has his AKC Canine Good Citizen and is starting Therapy Dog Training and is a very well behaved young man, at times when off leash he can get into trouble/mischief, but in a mellow but stern voice “NO” stops all unwanted behavior and will bring him to me in a seated position with his full attention until I release him with an “OK” then he is off and happy as can be. He dose learn from just “NO” and a tug correction if on leash, it might take a few corrections but he gets it quickly. My only fear with touch as a discipline/correction is that there is a chance a dog could become fearful and when fear is the reason they are following commands you really do not have an obedient dog in my opinion. A dog that is following commands or discipline/correction and knows that he will be getting praised or play time with their special toy will always come running when called and follow any command because the reward is what they crave more than anything….it’s you.

  32. You all need to stop disrespecting Mrs Phoebe, everyone has their own right to their opinions!

  33. I think ms phoebe is a dumb ass with out of control dogs

  34. I enjoy spanking my dog for misbehaving. My mom spanked me when I was a kid, and it taught me well. My dog does not get any preferential treatment.

  35. miyanaga alexanderOctober 7, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I spank my dogs especially my puppy then today she bit my hand and I held her head down on the ground and tore her behind up I hold her by her scruff that’s how dogs do it by the scruff or the throat the dog on the bottom STOPS fighting cause my puppy thinks she dominate im showing her I’m the dominate female not her. Every time she bites my hand I’ll grab her by the scruff and whoop her I over power my dogs no matter how big they are. Especially my pitbull I whoop him too they stop and know I don’t approve there bad behavior they listen to me neither one is hand shy or people aggressive so that’s a lie they become more obiedint like a child would.

  36. I’m with everyone saying this is complete bs. My puppy is 1 year old and when I first got her, she was very disobedient. The previous owner had tried to train her to dog fight and nearly killed her in the process. I nursed her back to health but started noticing she had a lot of issues that needed to be worked on. One of the biggest ones was that she wouldn’t let anyone even walk by without trying to bite them. When she would try to bite, I would pop her butt and sternly tell her no. Now she loves playing with people and just wants to say hi to everyone. I have been doing the same with her issue of thinking all dogs are going to attack her if she doesn’t attack first and she has stopped trying to run across the street just to get at dogs. Just have a little bit more work before we can have dogs walk right past her with no issues. She is learning to play gently, eat her own food, not beg, not pull, has learned the commands sit, shake, lay down, stay, and wait. I don’t have the money to buy treats for her and I have severe back problems. She is not a light or tiny puppy. I can take her into a store and she will not put anything in her mouth unless I tell her to get it. So to anyone who thinks that I pop on the butt is abuse, I feel bad for any dog you own because they will never truly be happy or safe.

  37. I have a coonhound and they are very stubborn so sometimes I smach her on hind leg to get her to get off the couch or bed but otherwise I wouldn’t change anything about her, I love her

  38. I need help, I had five dog, my old men Spuke died on thanksgiving due to respiratory proble at age 15, it is a heart breaking for us, we missed him so much. Before he die for some miracle way as our ALPHA male dog he had the rest of the dog well behavior and they all got along with each other, but after he died our four year old female German Shepwrd want to take control of the yard and house and every time that my two year old cheweny want to come to the yard, she can’t because she want to kill her. The two year old male cheweny gets in between to protect my female cheweny and now my one year old cheweny daughter of the two cheweny don’t like the German Sheperd, is so sad because before spike died everyone gotten along
    And now we having this trouble
    And every morning we have to take them out seperately because we don’t want a dissaster
    Can anyone advised me what to do
    I. Love my dog so much, big I need them to get along and all be together like they used too
    Is crazy

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