Punishment Is Never The Answer When Training Your Dog

It is terrible that there is still the belief that puppies must feel pain, discomfort, or fear in order to learn good behavior. It is not uncommon for an owner to smack, hit or even kick their dogs in order to try and get the dog to understand something. In fact, many people believe this is the way to teach their dogs tricks and good behavior. It is not. Because people hear and see these falsities, they continue to punish their animals in this way; even between 5 and 16 weeks. Even some who call themselves professionals still believe and practice these abusive techniques. This is absolutely a barbaric thought process and the only thing accomplished is a loss of trust between you and your dog.

In 1998 a case was brought to light in Animal Behavior Consultant Newsletter, describing the ‘professionalism’ of an obedience instructor. She was attempting to correct a puppy who nipped, and she stuck her fingers into the pup’s throat to touch the gag reflex. After doing this, she took the puppy in her hands and shook it. The puppy then fell down and remained still. Upon taking the puppy to a veterinary hospital, the instructor and the owners learned that the puppy had died.

Unfortunately, this kind of practice is all too commonly suggested in popular training books. The problem is that by the time an owner gets to a puppy to punish it in this way, the puppy has no idea what behavior has brought on the abuse. If the punishment was for using the bathroom on the floor, half the time the dog has moved on to something else. If he is now chewing on his toy and is being spanked for peeing on the floor, he is not going to realize what he is being punished for. While the puppy’s owner should be a consistent and trustworthy owner, it seems unpredictable to the puppy.

One example is when the owner comes home and the puppy is torn between excitement and displaying shamed actions. Most people realize and appreciate that their puppy is happy to see them instead of quickly reacting to a pair of shoes that have been chewed up. The result of physical punishment often means the puppy will not come to the owner when the owner calls. This makes sense. If you were being called to someone and didn’t know if you were going to be hit or petted, wouldn’t you hesitate as well? When puppies know that their owner will not hit them, but instead pet and provide pleasure, they are less likely to exhibit hand shyness, aggression, or submissive urination.

When puppies are trained with a positive reinforcement method, they are healthier and more stable than those who are punished. This is true especially in puppies who are excitable. Outlining the positive and getting rid of the negative in puppy training will require a person with patience and self-control. However, the benefits are most definitely worth it, especially when training. Puppies are more responsive and learn faster. When a veterinarian explains this kind of thing to their clients, they can get rid of the false thinking that has been widely spread about punishment and puppies.


One comment

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