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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47 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. Caging*

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. How is physical discipline not effective for dogs when they do that to themselves for correction?

    My dog was being stubborn the other day just like a toddler. She would only come half-way when commanded. She would half-way heal. I put her on her side and smacked her butt. She nipped at me out of defiance and I whooped her a good one after that and made her yelp. She obeyed perfectly afterwards and we had a great training session and she got great rewards for obeying.

  15. Gosh. What a great bunch of comments. Some real abusive assholes in here. When you do something stupid or wrong, someone should hold your head to the ground and beat the shit out of you. People like you deserve a horrible life for how horribly you’ve treated animals. People like you just consider animals your property. They’re just emotionless slaves and accessories. That’s not discipline, that’s abuse. Assholes. I wish the worst on you.

    Dogs correct each other and accept it from each other because they are the same species. You abusers shouldn’t ever consider yourself the same as a dog. They are clearly better than you.

    I have four perfectly trained dogs — pitbull, min pin, german shepherd and lhasapoo. All rescues, all obedient — never laid a hand on them. Never beat them, whooped them, spanked them or slapped them. Didn’t have to. I spent time with them and trained them. AND had a full time job and a family to take care of. I still made the time because it MATTERED. And two of them came from abusive homes and had some bad habits. I’ve seen it all, I’ve trained them all — without hurting them. Those of you who resorted abuse are just lazy.

  16. In glad there are people like me on this sub. I do NOT abuse my dog but when he acts out like nipping at someone or pooping (revenge pooping) I give him a smack on the butt. After that good behavior is basically a guarantee. My parents were Marines. Mom 4 years Dad 20. When I got out of line I was punished as a result…I dont shoot up schools. I call anyone my senior sir or ma’am. I’m not a complete pyscopath. I understand things will not always go my way. LJFE. Pure & simple

  17. Humans are animals.

  18. Christopher your a moron…correcting a dog physically is not automatically abuse. When I was a kid, I got my ass beat when I decided not to do what I was told. Watch wild dogs, wolves, domesticated dogs in their own packs and you’ll see plenty of physical correction. And if you want to train a dog to behave, wouldn’t the most effective way be by using methods that they will understand ie the ones they use themselves? This article claims that a dog won’t associate the correction with the bad action. TOTAL BULLSHIT. My Doberman when he was only a few months old knew not to chew shit up. If I found a pile of stuff he chewed up, then showed it to him and said what’s this? His ears would go back, he’d refuse to look at the mess. So even though he wasn’t in the act of destroying the shit, he knew he destroyed it and that he wasn’t supposed to. A pop on the end of the nose or a bite on the ear with a sturn talking too always worked. And my boy is eleven now, perfectly behaved, loves me more than life, isn’t hand shy or any kind of shy, has plenty of confidence, is extremely well socialized plays well with other dogs, cats, children. He’s voice and sight command control trained and doesn’t have to be on a leash ever. If you think I abuse my dog, go fuck yourself.

  19. My german sheperd puppy id 2 mo old and out of control with the biting the only thing that works on her is a smack with a newspaper hope she outgrows this because i dont have a clear spot on my arms. I bleed alot because of blood thinners.

  20. There is a mile long line between abuse and disapline. A child smacks the parent what are you gonna do? time out? NO! YOUR GONNA SPANK THE CHILD! everyone says oh I have furbabies like their humans. well ACT LIKE IT! Ive had this happen to me before while watching a cousin whose parents gave me permssion to spank. We were walking to the store and she picked up a sandwhich bag from the ground and asked what it was. Long story short it was cocaine. And I didnt care that we were in public I pulled her pants down a little and spanked her and said you dont pick up stuff thats not yours/you dont know what it is. I hold the firm fact that a spank to the rear is a HELL of a lot painless than death. unimaginative? no some misbehaviors require a spank vs no treat. get real. A dog bite is automatically put down. by law in some states. I fully agree with this unless its actual abuse. I had a dog randomly bite my grandfather on a walk. Unfortunatly I had steel toe boots. Ill spare gruesome details but I kicked the medium dog and the dog died instantly. Owner of dog called cops I gave cops the pants my grandfather was wearing when he was bitten where there were quite a few holes from dog bites and forensic testing proved it was from the dog that I defended my grandfather against. I gave that dog a quicker death than putting the dog down which was the law. My point in this story is, if a dog bites its the law in alot of states its to be put down within 10 days or fines of up to 00,000 will be fined and dog taken.

  21. Pulling down a child’s pants in public and spanking them for asking what something was?! Chances are that will just teach her that asking questions is considered wrong & you will be hurt and publicly humiliated. It’s highly unlikely that she will find COCAINE on the ground again, it’s not like you were teaching her safety in a constantly recurring dangerous situation that she needed to learn quickly. Most people NEVER find cocaine on the ground. And no, a lot of people’s reaction to a child hitting them isn’t to spank them. Children are curious by nature. If something gets them a great deal of attention, they will continue to do it. If they don’t like the response, they keep trying until they get one they do like, especially if it involved lots of attention. My son decided to try out hitting my husband and I when he was around 2 and a half. He had a little phase of it, maybe 2 weeks. When he would do it I would see him looking in our face waiting for the response so we didn’t give any. Then at other times seperate from the incident we would increase teaching him about hurting others, manners, how hitting hurts & upsets etc so he was absorbing the information independently of the incident (ie the lesson wasn’t attention from the incident). It took a couple of weeks but patience paid off. It’s been a year and hasn’t hit us or anyone since, and has pointed out on several occasions seeing things on cartoons or with friends that hitting is wrong. He has a friend a week younger than him who hits his mom & others all the time and cusses at them. His mom spanks him. Over the past 18 months he’s got steadily worse. I don’t know a huge amount about dogs. I know large ones must be held down and “dominated” when tiny because they grow so fast that once they’re huge and stronger than you are they will still think you can do it and treat you as the leader which is actually happier for them. If they’re the “boss” they can get irritable and angry which is unsafe. I did pop an ex’s dog on the butt when she ate my phone though which was an instinctive reaction that I might not have now.

  22. It’s more about understanding the psychology of the dog. They operate, like most living organisms, on positive/negative rewards as well as positive/negative punishments. Just think about things an animal would encounter in the wild, the only sunshine and rainbows are in the sky. While studies show that any animal (not just dogs, rats, birds, etc.) respond better and quicker to rewards, there are THOUSANDS of examples in the wild where an animal learns to alter their behavior due to an unpleasant stimulus they receive for their behavior (lets say a bird lands on a stick that is too small and it breaks and they fall. They will learn to choose bigger roosts.) The most important thing to remember if you plan on using punishment is to be gentle, and don’t do it often. Whenever you choose to reward or punish an animal it has to be during the behavior/act or else they will not be able to connect the dots. A dog won’t comprehend that you’re spanking them in response to pooping inside while you were away. They will just think that when you get home, you hit them. If you never reward for good behavior a dog could begin to associate you with punishment, and that is not good. You don’t want to physically hurt them, maybe startle but not abuse. A simple boop on their butt or nose works perfectly. If I choose to punish a dog, I do it in a way that another dog would do it. I had a medium sized dog and she growled at me when I sat near her food, I reacted without even thinking. I swiped her legs from under her to put her on her back the quickest and without injuring her. I put my hand on her throat and applied a little pressure with my finger tips to stimulate another dog’s mouth, she was never food aggressive again in her life. Keep in mind if you choose that method It works best if you hold them in place until they calm down, and do not allow them to get up until you tell them to. I’ve trained 3 different mastiffs out of food aggression this way, and they’re pretty damn strong. If the dog begins to become fearful of you, you are either punishing too harshly or too often. I would not tell anyone to never use punishment, just use caution and always stick to rewards if possible.

    I gathered this information from college behavior & animal behavior courses, as well as personal experiences. I grew up with multiple dogs in the house, and we fostered animals as well.

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