Dogs, like people, make mistakes. It’s not that they are trying to get into trouble; in fact, dogs are naturally good-natured beings! When pups get into trouble, it’s usually because they are curious, haven’t received proper training, or because they are anxious.
You might feel the urge to scold or even “spank” your pup when he rolls around in garbage, chews up your favorite pair of shoes, piddles in the house, or does something else that’s undesirable. Your feelings are understandable; it’s really frustrating to find a massive mess that you have to clean up. However, you should never, under any circumstances, punish your dog! In fact, according to animal experts, psychological and physical punishment will not only break your pup’s trust in you, but it will do nothing to help him learn the right behavior.
What are Punishments?
Screaming, yelling, pushing a face into a pile of feces, and swatting with a newspaper; these are all considered punishments. Technically defined as an unpleasant experience exhibited by someone else after an undesirable behavior, punishments can be detrimental for canines. For example, if your pup spilled his dog bowl, seemingly on purpose, and spilled his dog food all over the floor; if a he tore up a brand new plush dog toy; if he piddled inside his dog crate –or if he did anything else that you find displeasing and you scolded him or hit him after the fact, that would be considered a punishment.
Why are Punishments Bad
Punishments are bad for canines for a number of reasons. Scolding your pup can:
- Impeded the learning process. Dogs learn when they are rewarded for doing something that we want them to do; however, if they are punished for doing something that we don’t want them to do, their learning process is actually being interrupted.
- Dogs don’t process information the same way that humans do. While a person would understand that they are being yelled at or put in a time out because they did something wrong, dogs don’t think the same way. They aren’t able to understand that they are being yelled at because they dug up a flower garden or because they ate a shoe, which renders the goal of a punishment ineffective.
- It breaks their trust in their human companions. When a dog is punished by his human – screamed at, separated, or even struck – he is going to become fearful of his pet parent and eventually, his trust will be broken.
What to do Instead?
Instead of punishing your dog, use positive reinforcement. Use a dog training book to teach him proper behaviors and offer him rewards, like dog treats, a belly rub, or a good play with a rope and tug toy. Model the appropriate behavior and allow your pup to keep trying until he finally succeeds and is able to do what you are expecting him to do. You’ll notice a definite improvement in his behavior and your relationship will be stronger, too,
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