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?

Related Posts

75 Comments

  1. I think the thing that most people don’t get here Is the fact that it depends on the dog. Some dogs can react badly to physical discipline and some dogs can react better. The only thing thing you can do is be extra gentle and see how your dog reacts.

  2. Don’t Hit An Animal……..Dogs live every moment of every day to make you happy. They make mistakes and do things that make you angry. Take a deep breath, explain to them like you would a three year old child. Dogs have the mentality of about a three year old. They promise not to do it again with those big brown eyes!

    Let them know you are not pleased with the behavior, teach them the right way, and remember that physical reprimand is abuse with animals. It only teaches them that humans are mean. Let’s be thought of as nice for a change!!

  3. Let s face it as humans some kids are easier than others. My older son I only have to look at him. He is good with clues. My youngest one. She is though cookie. I have to raise more the voice for respect. So what may works for some dogs may not work for others.

    When you take a puppy at 8 weeks you basically remove it from the mom at an earlier age. They learn with his brother and sisters how to bite hard and soft. When they are playing if one puppy bite the other one hard, u will see how the other react and bite harder meaning stop you crossed the line. It is that abuse hell not. When I got my puppy his tale was almost without hair becuase they bite to each other. It was not abuse that’s how they learn . When they are not being obedient for example they are breastfeeding and bite the mother breast believe me she is going to bite him back and bark and to tell him stop that hurts. The puppy will scream of pain sometimes. It means you crossed the line. Dogs will understand. They are smart.

    If you dog is not listening to your commands and you spank him I do not see any physical abuse. He will calm down. Now if you hit a dog becuase he peed in the house becuase you are lazy to take him out then it is physical abuse becuase it is not the dog fault but yours. My lab when i got him home I took him out every 3 hours for the next month. I was hard but he had like very few accidents. Never spanked it for that since he was learning. Now if my dog start bitting me and I say stop and he keeps doing it giving a treat for reinforcement means nothing. Some dogs will get it others could care less. They will try to be alpha dog that’s nature. If i will spank him and say not . Believe by the third time when i say not and give him a look he will know not to do it anymore. He only respect me. As soon as he sees me believe me he comes plays and does with me like nobody else. But he knows when he cross the line, discipline is coming.

  4. Kelly Ann BlackmonMay 24, 2021 at 1:32 am

    Idk why would anyone assume a person who can’t spell or write a complete, coherent sentence, is intelligent enough to comprehend that purposely applying fear and pain to an innocent animal, who’s sole purpose of living is to love and protect the same person who is abusing them. Any discipline administered with anger and violence isn’t discipline. It’s evil and the behavior of someone with the emotional maturity of an infant. There’s a special place in hell for people who abuse pets.

  5. Kudos to you Kelly Ann Blackmon, well said!!
    Your absolutely correct. Thank you

  6. Kelly Ann, come on now. Hell? Ease up. There is a science behind dogs learning through physical responses without it being abuse. How about do some research. Narrow minded response you gave. You can love an animal and sometimes tough love is required. Everything Michael explained was spot on even tho you had to attack his grammar. I’d say your response to him is somewhat verbally abusive. Is there a special hell for that too? Let me know when you get there I guess.

  7. 100% agree with Michael. Kelly Anne, your response is ridiculous. Despite Michael’s grammar mistakes, his intelligence surely surpasses yours by a long shot.

  8. Kelly Anne Conway perhaps? Same degree of ‘Karenness.’ I am a former English lit professor and there’s a time and place for correcting one’s grammar. The heartfelt, intelligent post from Michael is neither the time or place. When you attack others, you’re manifesting the hell about which you speak.

  9. Kelly Ann Blackmon, are you sitting there attacking Michael’s grammar and spelling when you just wrote a complete run on sentence with no ending point, and put way too many poorly placed commas in your sentence trying to appear to be grammatically intelligent? Obviously he spelled well enough for you to understand his point and disagree with him. Worry about where your commas go, and finishing a sentence before trying to correct someone else’s grammar. He probably has more experience with dogs than you do.

  10. Nice to see some people admitting that some dogs need a good smack sometimes. Not every dog is the same.. I have an extremely stubborn beagle right now that doesn’t respond to anything except a smack. After a swat she behaves awesome for a few hours at least. Positive reinforcement does nothing to get her to stop a bad activity. If you even try, you’re just reinforcing the bad behavior. If you take your dog away from the bad activity to a good activity then treat.. You’re just telling them to do the bad thing again and they get 2 rewards for it now. That thought process is nonsense. Dogs need serious immediate consequences. Plain and simple. There definitely is a balance to be had with punishments tho or they will start to fear you too much. You must catch them in the act if you’re gna hit em. You can’t smack your dog hours later when you get home bc they ate the rug. They just wont put the 2 together. You can rub it in his face and restrain him for a while but it’s too late for a swat by then and that would definitely be abuse. I’m just sick of all these karens thinking you can raise a dog with positive reinforcement alone. That is simple horseshit. I have never had a dog that didn’t require serious consequences from time to time. Some breeds are easier and require it much less but the stubborn ones don’t give you any choice. When they go right back to the same behavior they know damn well they aren’t supposed to for the 8th time just bc you turned your back and they think they can be sneaky about it, it’s ass whoopin time for sure… Nothing else will break that insanely stubborn will and if you’re too weak to do it, you shouldn’t have a dog bc they will eventually get themselves killed with that crap if you don’t enforce boundaries for them. If you don’t show a dog you are stronger and faster than them they will walk all over you. It’s in their blood. Sometimes the wack doesn’t work tho either. I find diff bad activities require diff punishments for my dog and im constantly having to come up with new ones. Short leashed to the tree for a while, squirt bottle shot to the face helps sometimes too. I try to use the smack less but sometimes nothing else works and you just gta. Your dog will never respect you if you don’t put em in their place from time to time. A good pin to the ground where they can’t move helps get that message across quite well. If you ask me, kennels are way more abusive than a swat and ill never put my dog in a cage like some circuis animal but I understand how larger dogs may require that bc they can do real damage to your house. At that point though you should have a dog house built outside for them and they simply shouldn’t be left in your house alone in the first place.

  11. Anyone who thinks dogs don’t need to be punished sometimes is an idiot who probably has a wild a$$ dog abd disrespectful bad a$$ kids!!! If a kid needs a spanking why wouldn’t a dog??? And, some dogs don’t require a spanking bc their temperament is such that just a raised voice will get the point across.

    I have a Presa Canario, and I’ll tell you right now this is the absolute MOST STUBBORN DOG I HAVE EVER OWNED, and I used to raise and show Rottweilers and miniature pinschers! Both of those breeds are stubborn af, but the Presa smh, she takes the cake.

    I do NOT abuse my dog, but she will look me in the eye and defy me when she KNOWS what I’m telling her to do. THAT is when she gets a spank!!! When she’s 115#, sorry this nonsensical “reward based training” could get someone hurt or killed!!! I’ve raised horses my entire life as well, and a 1000# animal can kill you with a quickness, so you better be able to discipline them in the way they need. Some are easy and some, as in my dog’s case, are hard!!

  12. Interesting discussion. My 9-month-old golden just chased a motor scooter down the road. Besides a stern reprimand, she got a swat within seconds of having chased the vehicle. My thought was that this was a life-threatening behavior and I wasn’t messing around with the correction.

    Retrospectively, I don’t think I would swat her again under the same circumstances. She seemed to know she was in trouble even before I got to her, based on her posture and behavior. A stern reprimand probably would have been just as effective without the swat.

    I appreciate the point in the article that oftentimes corporal punishment confuses rather than teaches. I also appreciate the comments that each dog is different. Please note that just because a dog owner spanks a dog, don’t automatically assume that the owner is abusive. In my case, I was lovingly, though maybe not most effectively, trying to preserve the life of my dog.

    More details that you probably don’t want to know 🙂 In the incident described above, my puppy was off-leash. We live in an isolated rural area with a 20 mph road on the edge of our property with very little traffic. Our puppy just lost a lot of off-leash privileges. We will be getting a GPS collar soon (like invisible fence) in hopes that we can train out the vehicle chasing under controlled circumstances. Hopefully I can find the motor-scooter guy and get him to drive by several more times when we are in training (again under controlled circumstances with a long lead).

  13. My aunt has these 2 dogs that constantly bark with a high pitch that hurts your ears. They bark at anything and everything. They eat their own poop and are spoiled and they jump all over you and have no discipline. How does a person handle such an animal. I love animals but I literally do not care for these dogs at all. This is the first time I have ever disliked any animal the way I do these dogs.

  14. @Tami:
    Stun gun. About 2-3 megavolts oughta do.

  15. To Kelly with the stun gun comment, WTH?! You cannot be serious?! Why would you do that??? There’s got to be a better way to teach your dog not to do anything bad while also not hurting them. I’m trying g to find a better way to teach my, dog without spabking her and here you are talking about using a stun gun and that’s far worse!

  16. To Kelly with the stun gun comment, WTH?! You cannot be serious?! Why would you do that??? There’s got to be a better way to teach your dog not to do anything bad while also not hurting them. I’m trying to find a better way to teach my, dog without spanking her and here you are talking about using a stun gun and that’s far worse!

  17. for thousands of years people have hit dogs to pull them into line and bit them and growled, it shouldnt be changed because some Karren believes dogs need to be treated better and just because they got lucky with there dogs and there breeds they assume every dog is trainable without raising a hand this is not true and it also makes the dogs believe they are in charge you have no dominance over a dog that does not fear you its not until a alpha gets weak enough to fight that another dog in a pack will try to take dominance this is a dogs instinct and not hitting or serving physicall punishment shows a dog that you are weak and not rightfully there alpha, i have never beaten my dogs but i have had a firm hand and im not affraid to punch a bigger breed that doesnt feel the same pain as a human because there nerves are designed to take more of a hit, i have found with 3/5 dogs ive had wear absolutely 100% untrainable without hitting them even the puppy schools i took them too said they wear the most defiant dogs they have ever seen because they would listen and do what there told then 3 seconds later they would go and do the exact same thing again they just got in trouble for once i started actually hitting my dogs it maybe takes 2-3 times before they learn the desired behaviour

  18. Every dog needs a solid firm back hand across the face to let them know who is the Alpha and who is running the house. I have an aggressive pitbull that I rescued. He is so mean, i have to put him in my room anytime i have company. But he’s submissive towards me because he knows. I have had him for a month now, and now i have two friends that can come over without having to put him up. Ill be damned if i let a dog run my shit.
    Kelly, my dog would walk all over you and yours.

  19. I cannot believe how nasty some dog owners are . Why would you hit a dog ? Robo and Jimmy Frazier.
    Sadly you have stolen the true spirit of your dogs who deserved better. I have animals who l treat with respect and get more love and respect back . My last boy saved my life from an abusive man . They do not judge and love you unconditionally
    I have no respect for bullies

  20. Kelly..I got the joke, a good one if you have a sense of humor.

    Honestly, I wonder what age most of your dogs are? Is come from an era where whooping a child was a means of correction. Now if a child can be corrected with a whooping followed by a timeout, how can this method work for small humans, but not small dogs? Now there are kids that don’t need whoopings and alike puppies (a stern voice does the trick), so I agree its not a one size fits all conversation, but still I don’t think that its a form of abuse. Maybe Im wrong though.

  21. Jeremiah is correct. I hate to say it, but he is. I had been asked to take on a dog from a never-do-well friend living in a car, I refused, I am 60, and had no desire for a dog. 0% desire. Yet I ended up taking the dog in, after my first red flag, thrown on myself. I adopted the dog, a very stubborn n crafty 9 month old Greybull. Kindest n gentlest n happiest dog I ever saw, being bounced 3 times by 9 months old .. I felt pity n impatience at first, she was unruly as she hadn’t been socialized properly/at all. I kept her for a year, all good, she never did anything wrong, but she was high-energy, strong as hell and liked to jump fences and escape all the time. The problem was me, I noticed that she only responded when I tapped or slapped or put hands on her, she had a defiant streak a mile wide. So that was the way it is? Fast forward a year, I sold the house, with the yard that I had forgotten she needed, I bought a sailboat, my retirement plan all along, figured she would adapt to pooping on the outside deck, seemedca no-brainer to me, put some grass back there, and let nature take its course, yeah? … She began to hold her body wastes, waiting for the walk to shore. I was not going to break training, so it became the cycle for her to hold it in for endless,cans finally hit somewhere down below .. She hit everywhere EXCEPT the grass .. On the outside … I had become twisted due to other heinious things occurring to family, and slowly I devolved into slapping her for this as it had been the only thing she paid attention to, but in my anger, I know I crossed many lines, not the least of which was the Cardinal Rule, she would die to protect me, now her abuser .. Not really abuse, but her defiant nature, strong body and stubborn refusal to adapt seemed a challenge, which I now sadly realize. The only good thing to come was, I got her off the boat, in an angry mood, and her previous owner came to save her, from me, I could feel the impatience I had cited a year previously rising slowly in me, and at some point, here is the warning, at some point, I don’t know where or how, it became more than just discipline, I was beginning to go past sensibility and I knew that, above all else, I had already committed the Cardinal Sin, I didn’t deserve her and I gave her back to her previous owner, now with a yard and a house and a desire to have her back. This is a warning tale, about many facets of bad ownership, and I despise the apparent monster I didn’t know I was, but do not lay hands on your dog. They will remember and it will destroy their spirit. I wish, after getting a break from her,vthat I had another chance with her, but she hated the boat and got what she deserved, a yard AND an owner that WANTED her, didn’t “settle” for her. Be clear about motivations, methods and mercy. I will never again own a pet, I used to be patient, I don’t know who I am anymore, but laying hands on a dog can open doors to worst things. Call me an asshole, I am glad she is safe n happy, and off the boat. Had I got what I wanted, she would have been trapped on a boat for the rest of her life. I am a douche because I expected a 2 yr old dog to get hip, and gave her up when she needed my kindness .. I know I suck, feel free to say so.

  22. I Really wasn’t sure about all of these comments but I appreciate your opinions. My puppy rules over me.Bites are better.I only popped her once so far but just telling her no over and over has turned her around. I will try it.That chick bad mouthing others was crazy.Now who is stupid?

  23. Lizzie the lib

  24. Oml, I have a pug about 3 or 4 years old and I have spanked him repeatedly because of his bad behavior and sometimes hard out of anger. Before you guys come at me I have corrected my behavior toward him. He now cowards down to a hand being near him, unfortunately I didn’t realize my actions before he started cowering down. Kelly you are messed up for even saying that, shock therapy sometimes works with certain dogs but no way in hell you should stun gun your dog, they make shock collars for that with the right voltage to not harm your dog. Tami I recommend getting a shock collar and not a fucking stun gun, use the shock collar at a low voltage at first when you notice they have done something bad or try a vibration collar first and see if that affects them when they do something bad. Remember if you wait to long to punish a dog for their actions they won’t remember what they did wrong and will be confused after give or take 20-40 seconds after they have done back, correct me if I am wrong! Please don’t correct me on grammar… This is a form about pets not a spelling bee.

  25. Häns Dominique LassiterNovember 10, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    DIsclaimer for the grammar police: I am sitting here on the verge of tears because I had to spank my 5 month old staffordshire terrier puppy because I had no other recourse. Forgive me if I make a syntax error or 2.

    I usually have a high level of success with raising and teaching dogs. My first dog was a gift from my uncle when I was 9 years old, and although I wasn’t schooled on how to “train” a dog, I figured it out along the way. He was my best friend, responded to voice inflections, knew when I was disappointed and adjusted HIS behavior accordingly. He died when I was 24 years old (Yes, we had 15 years together!), and I was so hurt that I swore I’d never get another dog.

    Well, 31 years and a yorkie, 2 miniature schnauzers, and a jack russell terrorist, my spousal equivalent and I had the grand idea to adopt a doggie. We settled on “Bruno,” the blue staffy, but his little brother/litter mate/runt of the litter “Butch” was attached to him and he to Butch. So much that when we took him to the car, Butch yelped uncontrollably. The nice lady gave Butch to us for free because she knew that he’d be in a good home and well taken care of.

    Well…We found out that Butch has some health complications, most notable among them a neurological disorder that affects his gait, and how he holds his head. He seems to display developmental delays, and is behind Bruno is his house training and behaviors. He is STUBBORN and DESTRUCTIVE, as he has chewed the armrest in my car down to the foam, has chewed up the decorative rug under our dining room table, and will look you dead in the eye and #1 AND #2 IN THE HOUSE after he has been outside for over an hour.

    Tonight, I’d had enough. They are in two separate crates because they are growing so rapidly, and although Bruno is larger and stronger, Butch routinely bullies him while they are in the crate and I am afraid that one of them will get injured. It appears now that Butch is displaying separation anxiety, even though the crates are in front of the other, no more than inches from door to door. His incessant yelping and screaming like someone was trying to kill him was driving me batty, so I grabbed a spatula from the utensil hanger and wore his little butt out. As of this post, he hasn’t made another sound and is asleep, but I FEEL AWFUL for spanking him.

    Someone please talk me off the roof. Did I do the right thing? I’ve tried all of the positive reinforcement techniques, rewarding with treats when he/they meet/exceed expectations, praise them with snuggles, hugs, and kisses, and even take them on field trips to the doggie park nearby and to PetSmart (they LOVE that place and their employees LOVE them). Sadly, the only thing that seems to get Butch’s attention is hazing.

    I feel poorly. I don’t want him/them to be afraid of me, but he isn’t going to chew up my furniture, damage my car, and #1 and #2 all in my house, either.

Leave a Comment