A few years ago at a conference I was attending a speaker made the following observation regarding dogs and physical punishment; it is has stayed with me with ever since.

‘Get a thick glossy magazine and roll it up really tightly, then wrap sellotape around it to that is it nice and solid, then when your puppy or dog does something that you consider to be negative, pick up your sellotaped magazine and hit yourself over the head with it, as it is your fault for not making sure that your puppy or dog is happy and educated’. Click here for an explanation of a happy and educated dog.

Physical punishment, (including all its variations), is an unconstructive training method because:

  • Rarely is the timing exactly right or the level of intensity commensurate with the dog’s alleged misdemeanour.
  • The application of a consistent level of delivery is seldom if ever achieved.
  • Put simply, it can be extremely difficult for most people to use punishment positively and/or effectively in the real world. The reality is, is that it is almost impossible for most people to use punishment effectively.

Problems with punishment:

  • Punishment can make an animal fearful and distrustful, destroying the bond between dog and person and may provoke a defensive aggressive response.
  • Punishment may provoke an assertive dog to an aggressive response.
  • Interactive punishment often teaches a dog to avoid the behaviour only when people are present.
  • The dog may think it is being punished for something completely different to that that the owner intends.
  • Not everyone is capable of administering punishment effectively.
  • Punishment never teaches the animal what it should do.

So, if you find yourself in this position, examine why your puppy or dog has done what is has done and work with it to achieve a positive outcome.