To hit your dog?

24 Jan

To hit your dog or not to hit your dog, this question is asked of me often when I am out working with clients as to a possible solution for correcting bad behaviour.

In my experience over the years (even from when I was a little girl and grew up with dogs, caring for neighbours dogs, volunteering with rescue dogs and lots more right through to recent years working through various behaviour problems), it is better NOT TO HIT YOUR DOG. There are various reasons for this -

Firstly, it teaches them to be wary and be scared of the hand, the paper or whatever you might want to use to hit your dog. We don't want your dog to be scared of any of these things, if they are scared of the hand, remember that the hand is used around food and if this is feared and then the hand goes near their food source, the dog could become worried and scared and the food will be taken away and hence challenge the hand. You especially don't want this when there are little childrens hands around or elderly persons hands near the food. Also, if they are scared of an object like the newspaper rolled up or the broom etc. then when this object is picked up the dog could display aggressive and uncertain behaviour towards the handler or holder of the object, this can cause a potentially dangerous situation.

Please, don't hit your dog, instead your ONLY a vocal correction to correct your dog or puppy. I know it might seem easy at the time to hit your dog, but it just introduces voilence to your dog and we don't want that - EVER! The vocal correction you use will depend on what you have learnt through a trainer or puppy school or obedience class.

Somtimes even ignoring bad behaviour can work, but it doesn't always, so don't use this as a method all the time as you will find your dog isn't actually learning right from wrong.

You have a short period of time to correct your dog when bad behaviour occurs, literally a few seconds to catch them in the act of doing something wrong. If you miss the boat on this one, then simply the bad behaviour never occured. If you try and tell your dog off after the event your dog or puppy will not know what they have done wrong and will simply see your demeanour change and be nervous around you. They may also associate your bad mood with something else like having just walked in the door or entered a room and straight away you tell them off - they will start to think every time you walk in the room or come home, they are going to get told off, but for what they don't know.

Dogs don't do anything deliberately to 'get you back'. Remember that - they simply display a behaviour at that time and then move on. Dogs live in the moment, so with careful timing and your consistency you can correct your dog properly without every hurting them or confusing them as to right from wrong.

So, to hit your dog - definately not, please refrain from doing this and instead communicate more effectively with your canine friend and they will love your back for it, by giving your respect as a leader, not a boss.

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