Can A Dog Be Punished – And If So, How?

When it comes to dog training, opinions differ. One thing is for sure: the dog also needs restrictions and needs to learn how to behave and how not. When and how can a dog be punished?

For dogs to discriminate between good and bad – or desirable and undesirable – behaviors, they must be trained. However, there are many prohibitions when it comes to this topic, and there are a few things that dog owners should consider.

Because in many cases, punishment is the wrong way. For example, pulling on the leash or hitting the dog. Some also use water pistols to dissuade their four-legged friend from certain behaviors. But many trainers also advise against this.

But what does punishment actually mean? Conduct that is considered unfair or inappropriate will be sanctioned. In the case of a dog, the punishment should be uncomfortable enough to dissuade him from doing so in the future. On the other hand, there is always a danger that the animal will be frightened. A four-legged friend may even react aggressively to this.

How Not to Punish a Dog

Of course, you don’t want your dog to associate you with negative feelings. So how can you even blame him? Most importantly, never physically punish your dog. The experts explain that hitting, pinching, and breaking the collar can all cause your dog to perceive your hand as a danger.

Therefore, some dog owners resort to certain devices as punishment, such as shock collars or a loud horn. They have the advantage that the dog does not associate them directly with their people, but they can also encourage intimidating or aggressive behavior and should therefore be avoided.

As a general rule, punishment is only effective against dogs if it is applied immediately after the misdemeanor has been committed. If a four-legged friend urinates in an apartment and is punished only when his family returns home, he will not be able to link the two incidents and will be confused.

Always Scold Your Dog Right Away

To distract the dog from its behavior, according to “Focus”, it is recommended to skip words such as “No!”, “Off!” Or “Wow!” It is important to always use the same word. Pronounce the word calmly, loudly, and, if possible, always with the same stress. Sometimes it helps to offer the dog an alternative to its current activity.

For example, if he chews on furniture, you can suggest that he chew on a bone instead. And it is important: as soon as the dog stops undesirable behavior, you no longer need to scold it, but again praise it in a friendly way.

Particularly with small puppies, it is often helpful to ignore unwanted behavior. Otherwise, they will know that if they continue to behave like this, they will get your attention. To do this, you turn your head and look to the side. Only when the puppy stops, you turn to him again.

Instead of Punishment: Train Your Dog with Positive Reinforcement

In general, experts advise training dogs not through punishment, but through positive reinforcement: instead of punishing unwanted behaviors, desired behaviors are rewarded. If we teach our four-legged friends how to behave and meet their needs, in many cases punishment is no longer necessary.

Also important: try to empathize with your dog and understand why and how he behaves in certain situations. In the vast majority of cases, dogs do not mean this when they annoy us with their behavior. They simply show that something is missing – for example, movement or mental stress.

If something goes wrong, you can remember it and stay calm, rather than punishing the dog. And make sure that the next time this situation does not happen again.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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