Dog Training: The Trouble With Punishment

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Insufficient socialization and frequent and extreme punishment are the two major reasons why dogs become wary of people. Wary dogs stay away from people.

Few people intend to make things unpleasant for their dog, with one notable exception: when punishing him. By definition, punishment is meant to be unpleasant. However, it is extremely disturbing that this unpleasantness is overly frequent and overly extreme. Sadly, many uneducated trainers resort to punishment, which is really defeating the purpose of training to begin with. It is much easier to teach your puppy the rules of the house or to show him what you want him to do and to reward him for doing it than it is to continuously punish them for perceived bad behavior. You want your puppy to learn what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do. You especially don’t want your dog to develop a fear of humans.

Punishment means you need to adjust your training style

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Frequent punishment is an indication that your training philosophy isn’t working. Time to change to Plan B. Rather than punishing your puppy for mistakes he or she has made in the past, you should concentrate on teaching your puppy how he should act in the present moment. Remember, it is much more efficient and effective to reward your puppy for doing it the way you want, rather than trying to punish your dog for the many ways he or she might be doing it wrong.

Punishment sabotages the pet-owner relationship

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Repeated punishment drives a painful wedge between dog and human that progressively divides and destroys the pet-owner relationship. If you are having trouble, seek help from a professional. You can often sign up for low-cost group obedience classes or check websites like Meet Up or Yelp for dog obedience clubs that meet in your area. Also, ask your vet, groomer, or do an Internet search.

There is never a need for extreme punishment. Why would any person treat their best friend like their worst enemy? Don’t do it. If you are getting frustrated and feel the need to punish or “extreme” punish, it’s time to call in a professional and get some help.

What to do instead

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

It’s better to reward the behaviors you want to see, instead of punishing the behaviors you don’t want to see. There are times, for your dog’s own safety, you’re going to need to send them “away” or “outside”. They may knocking something off the counter and break it on the floor, and sending them outside is not a form of punishment, but for their own safety. You may have to put a leash on your dog and literally walk them outside in an emergency. Separation from the pack is more than enough punishment for any dog. You don’t need to accompany it with angry words and harsh tones or physical strikes.

Do not punish by sticking your dog in their crate or kennel. That should always be a calm place to relax and never associated with bad memories.

There are so many resources out there for pet owners these days, if you are feeling frustrated, please reach out for help and advice. It’s never okay to strike an animal and harsh words in mean tones are not going to accomplish your goal.