Cute dog that does not want to be spanked

Why You Should Never Spank a Dog

Walking out my front door to take my dog for a walk, I witnessed a man spank a dog over and over right in front of me. What lead up to that horrible incident is what I am discussing here along with my reaction and what you can do if you see someone spank, hit, harm, or abuse a dog.

I took my Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, for a walk and saw this guy chasing his dog down my street. Being the “I’ll be right there to help” type of person, Dex and I chased after the man.

Sadly, my kindness was thwarted by a cold dose of reality. The dog got loose while on a walk, and his owner was chasing after him.

As he scooped the little guy up (a Shih Tzu mix), he spanked the dog on the butt hard and repeatedly yelled over and over, “No! No! No!” and jerked the dog close to him. The dog cowered as the man continued hitting the poor dog.

I yelled over, “Hey,” and before a second word could float his way, he picked his dog up and quickly walked off, perhaps caught in the act or just not wanting to deal with me.

To spank a dog is a controversial topic among pet owners, with some believing it to be an effective form of discipline and others arguing that it can cause harm and damage the bond between humans and canines.

This article will explore why you should never resort to spanking to train or correct your dog. From potential physical injuries to negative behavioral outcomes, there are many compelling arguments against using this harsh punishment method on dogs.

Why You Should Never Spank a Dog

No matter how upset you are or what the dog did to frustrate you, hitting/spanking/slapping a dog is never appropriate. Never. Yanking the dog back to you demonstrates how amazingly powerful and scary you are but teaches a dog fear.

Putting your hand(s) on a dog as a form of punishment is not only wrong but as harmful to the relationship you want with your dog. Counterproductive in fact.

In her book, It’s Me or the Dog famed positive reinforcement trainer and star of a dog behavior show on Animal Planet, Victoria Stilwell, writes, “When you hit a dog, you teach him to fear you, break his trust, and you weaken his confidence. Insecure dogs are the one who are more likely to lash out in an aggressive display.”

Anyone who has seen the show, “It’s Me or the Dog” on Animal Planet knows that all of the techniques Victoria Stilwell uses to teach and change even the most difficult of dog cases are diverse and none of them involves spanking or hitting dogs.

Hitting a dog to teach him not to growl at a child, not to chew a shoe, not to bark, or because you are frustrated is harmful and just plain not nice. There are ways to teach a dog, to correct a behavior, and to get your dog to “listen.”

I teach all my Cocker Spaniels, “ah ah” and I thanked Victoria in person for this fun, positive technique when I say it to my dogs. It stops them in the moment and they look up at me like, “ooh mom what the heck did you say?”

Perhaps you’ve learned that spanking is okay, a parent or loved one reinforced it, or you grew up with it. Well when you know better, you do better. Two wrongs don’t make a right, truly.

Meeting dog trainer Victoria Stillwell
Me and Dexter meeting dog trainer Victoria Stillwell

“But My Dog Behaves When Spanked”

Nope! Spanking confuses dogs and can make them fearful or aggressive. Think about it: If someone stronger and bigger than you suddenly hit you, you would feel threatened. Dogs are the same way.

Dogs might start to associate you with pain or danger, leading to anxious or defensive behavior. This can make training even harder and worsen any existing behavioral issues.

Spanking can actually harm your dog physically. Even a light tap can cause pain or injury, especially if you accidentally hit a sensitive area like the spine or ribs.

I’ve seen many cases of dogs with neck injuries due to the owner pulling on their collar with a forceful correction.

How To Train A Dog Without Spanking or Punishment

Laying your hands on a dog in any way other than with affection or love teaches your dog that you inflict pain.

Dogs do not purposely do things to make you upset. I’ve raised many dogs throughout my life, taught dogs dozens of commands and positive behaviors, and consulted with dozens of positive reinforcement behaviorists and dog trainers.

Your goal is to train your dog to stop doing a behavior so that they eventually will not do that behavior again. Associations between the dog’s behavior and your response must be close together.

For example, if your dog pees in the house in your absence, you come home and yell at your dog, this makes no sense to the dog. All the dog knows is you are freaking out when you see the dog. He is happy to see you. You are freaking out.

Dogs do not pee for revenge.

If you catch your dog in the act of peeing and can redirect them using kind, positive reinforcement methods, this is key.

  • Do Not Raise Your Voice or Hit Your Dog
  • Remove Specific Triggers
  • Reward Good Behavior
  • Keep Your Dog Active
  • Get Professional Positive Reinforcement Help

Is Spanking A Dog Abuse?

Dogs (pets in general) are silent victims. They cannot tell anyone; they are someone’s punching bag, and millions of dogs will continue to live day in day out, not knowing whether or not the hand that feeds them will soon hurt them. And yes, spanking a dog hurts. It hurts the soul, the body, and the way your dog feels about you.

Is a slap considered abuse? Is a tight neck jerk to inflict pain considered torture?

In the eyes of the law, you’d be hard pressed to get a conviction. posted an article on the topic of what is or isn’t legal as it pertains to hitting your pets. What a lovely world in which we live, wherein this is now up for debate.

The bottom line is pets are property in this country. You can be charged with animal cruelty, but that’s generally reserved for the more hard core cases and not the asshat who pretends to love a dog but slaps him when no one is looking.

However, people have cell phones. People have house cameras. People see things and talk and share videos with authorities and on social media.

Reporting Dog Abuse

You can do several things if you suspect a dog is being harmed. IReport the suspected abuse to the authorities. If you can keep a log of dates, times, and videos/pictures, do that as well.

  1. f you are the one doing the spanking, please stop. Dogs are not trying to get back at you for peeing or pooping on a floor. Dogs bark. Spanking a dog will stop the moment, but you instill fear and pain into a dog. This is not what humans are meant to do, especially not to a loving family member. And if you do this and can sleep at night, eyes closed, resting peacefully, wake up. This is messed up, and you need to knock it off.
  2. If you have a friend or family member who spanks their dog – for any behavior – please encourage them to work with a behaviorist and explain why spanking is wrong .Like a baby, a do, should never be spanked for simply being who they are
  3. If a stranger is spanking or harming a dog, you must intervene at a level you feel comfortable with. If you fear for your life, by all means do not step in but call the authorities. Cell phones are great devices for capturing a video of something plain wrong.

Love Your Dog With Good Pet Parenting

Dogs are sensitive, intelligent creatures who deserve our love and respect. By choosing positive reinforcement over punishment, you’re not only teaching them better, but you’re also strengthening your bond and creating a happier, healthier life for both of you.

So let’s leave the spanking in the past and focus on building a positive, nurturing environment for our beloved furry companions.

Dogs are bigger spirits than we as humans. Watch an abused dog as he or she is rescued from a kennel; I’ve lost count of the number of dogs I’ve seen wag. They trust us, believe in us, and give us second chances. Give them a break, don’t hit, don’t slap. Teach, strengthen the bond and love them.

 Fear will not stop aggression or misbehavior; fairness, and positive reinforcement will. If you cannot stop hitting your dog or feel this is normal behavior, get professional help or give your dog to someone who will provide a loving home without pain.

Why you should never spank a dog as Spaniel looks on

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