We’re all aware that puppies are baby dogs! So, that is just one of the many reasons why you should never punish your dog because he is after all only a baby. Your dog’s intelligence is on par with a 2-year child, but we still expect a dog to behave however we wish them to behave. Often this desire for an obedient dog is without the appropriate support and training by the dog’s owners.
Why should you never punish your dog?
As dog parents, we often forget that dogs are not born with the knowledge that they mustn’t piddle on the carpet, or dig up your prized plants out of the flower bed!
So, how do you stop your dog’s inappropriate behaviours without punishment?
Before we begin, let’s start off with a few questions.
- Do the frequent bouts of barking and inappropriate chewing of your best shoes send you nuts, and is training your dog becoming a tedious and overwhelming task?
- Have you been led to believe that you need to punish your dog for him to take any notice of you when training him?
- So, is it the right answer that the only way to train your dog is to punish him for bad behaviour?
Not at all!
To punish your dog is never an answer to anything. When it comes to pets, it does more harm than good. Want to know why? Before we dig deep into the dog psyche, let’s first understand what punishment means.
What is Punishment?
We can define punishment as merely an unpleasant experience. We punish someone when we do not want them to repeat a particular behaviour. For instance, we punish a dog with a tug of the leash when it runs after a bike or another dog.
Are there Different Types of Punishments?
Yes, there are!
Generally, punishments can be of two types, psychological and physical. A slap, blow, or kick is physical punishment, whereas scolding, yelling, or isolation are forms of psychological punishment.
There’s no doubt that both kinds of punishments affect the wellbeing of your pet and how they bond with you.
You may not believe it, but psychological punishments are far more harmful and damaging for an animal than physical punishments. That’s because the famous ‘No’ command hurts a dog more drastically than a slap. Psychological punishments’ effects are not visible to the naked eye because they impact a dog’s mental health.
Can I Punish my Dog to Prevent Undesired Behaviours?
It is a common perception that punishments effectively reduce, eliminate, or prevent behaviours that we are led to believe are undesirable in a pet. However, this is a myth that needs well and truly debunking. When you punish your dog this not only aggravates the issue but may create additional problems and concerns for the future.
Why you should never Punish your Dog?
No caring dog owner wants to influence their pet negatively. But, sometimes, it becomes difficult to train your dog to obtain the good behaviours you want from him. When your pet demonstrates bad behaviour, you’ll remember those prized plants and piddle on the carpet. So, it’s natural to feel upset, frustrated, and disappointed. These emotions may compel some dog owners to punish their dog for doing something they don’t want him to do! This is how a dog can be unintentionally, negatively influenced.
Aggressive Handling to punish your dog.
Spanking, yelling, and aggressively handling your dog cannot teach him to behave as you want him to. Any negative reinforcement on your dog will never work.
Check out some of the adverse effects of punishing your dog.
#1 – Punishment Hinders a Dog’s Learning Process
Trial-and-error is perhaps one of the best ways for dogs to learn. When we allow a dog to have the chance of learning something, it is going to try different ways of achieving what we want him to do. If we’re happy with his achievements we’ll often reward him with a treat or praise, and sometimes both. But when we are unhappy about our pet’s behaviours some owners will mistakenly punish him to ‘teach him a lesson!’. Sounds familiar… right?
Unfortunately, they don’t realize that by punishing their dog, they’re interrupting the learning process. They are also preventing their pet from having the opportunity to show his understanding of good behaviours. When punishment occurs too frequently, it has the ability to inhibit the dog’s freedom and motivation to continue trying.
#2 – Punishments Nurture Fear
Punishment causes fear in dogs just the same way as it does in humans. Physical punishments like shocks or slaps cause pain along with fear, while psychological punishments like isolation make fear deep-rooted.
Psychological punishments make the dog feel that you are prohibiting it from doing things and giving him commands that he doesn’t know how to obey. This causes instability and damages their mental wellbeing.
#3 – Punishments Create Distrust
If the punishments are applied randomly and are not timed properly, this can have long-lasting negative impacts, and the dog will lose trust in his owners.
Obviously, if this behaviour by owners continues, their dogs would not want to be by their side and would be unable to bond. How could any form of a healthy relationship be built when their pet doesn’t want to stay anywhere close to them?
#4 – Punishments Blocks Communication
There are dangerous aftereffects of punishment and this is probably the most important reason why you should never punish your dog. Dogs communicate with us through their simple gestures, barking, and growling. Sometimes, they act weird only to get our attention.
If we start punishing them for behaviours, just because we don’t find them pleasant, we are telling them that we don’t want to communicate. Punishment never tells a dog what we want and only conveys what we don’t want. We must give the dog enough space to determine the correct behaviour. And communication is the best way to achieve it.
Can Punishment be Positive?
Wondering what positive punishment is? It refers to the application of an unpleasant stimulus. This kind of punishment is used to decrease the frequency of certain behaviour. However, it isn’t useful for disciplining the pet and can do more harm, it is also a form of abuse.
The mistake everyone makes is administering punishment too late or continually scolding the dog. Remember that poorly timed punishments can instil fear rather than improving or eliminating the problem behaviour.
It is often the fact that the pet will eventually learn to cease that particular behaviour to avoid the consequence, but he’ll find it difficult to bond with you.
Both psychological and physical/direct interactive punishment can be harmful if not timed correctly or are too severe. The dog may become afraid of the owner, which can affect the entire training and learning process.
When punished, a dog will justifiably become defensive, which causes aggressive responses. Even if the pet ceases a particular behaviour in their owner’s presence, they might continue with it in their absence.
To Punish your Dog is Not the Answer
That’s why we would never suggest punishment of any type as an answer. However, painless, simplistic punishments can be helpful if applied when the behaviour is taking place.
But too harsh punishments could be damaging when you use your hand to punish the dog, such as when pinning, hitting, or grabbing their collar because they will become fearful of the hand. This is a natural outcome because the dog will associate pain with the hand. This shouldn’t happen because they should always associate positive things with the owner.
What I’d suggest is that you should change the training method. And try to use a method based more on rewarding your pet than punishing. This will help you develop a strong and healthy relationship with your dog.
Positive punishment becomes positive reinforcement,
Positive punishment becomes positive reinforcement, where good behaviour is rewarded rather than bad behaviour being punished.
A key study that compared the two methods, with positive reinforcement, clearly coming out on top.
In February 2004, a paper in Animal Welfare
Elly Hiby and colleagues at the University of Bristol compared the relative effectiveness of positive and punitive methods for the first time. The dogs became more obedient the more they were trained using rewards.
When they were punished, on the other hand, the only significant change was a corresponding rise in the number of bad behaviours.
Using hitting or spanking as a method of punishment will severely damage any kind of relationship you may have with your dog. If you use force as a means of discipline, your dog is likely to develop various behavioural issues. Some problems that often occur using physical punishment to your dog are:
- Insecurity and fearfulness
- The instinct to hide or run away from you.
Hitting a dog does not address any problems and will only teach the dog that the perpetrator is a source of pain, and is to be feared.. Whether the reason for punishment is excessive barking, peeing in the house or snatching food off your counter, punishment in the form of spanking is only going to make matters worse.
Your dog won’t be disciplined if they’re punished with force. In most cases, physical punishment only makes dogs scared and confused. Why? Because you’re conditioning your dog to expect pain from you, without them being able to understand the reason why!
Why Positive Reinforcements Work Better Than Punishment
Unlike physically punishing a dog, which is cruel and futile, disciplining a dog with a reward system is a tried-and-true method that has real benefits.
Constructive and positive training methods help your dog learn proper behaviour through conditioning, which is the best way to discipline a dog. His good behaviour is rewarded, and his bad behaviour is ignored.
So, when a certain activity results in being rewarded with a treat, belly rub or high praise, you can be certain your dog will want to do it as often as possible They love pleasing their owners, and when trained correctly, they’ll know how to do that.