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Hitting dogs: is it OK?

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Hitting dogs: is it OK?
  • Hi. In my communities, hitting a dog is "normal", to "discipline" dogs and teach them to obey the owners. They said: "I only hit her a little bit, to let her know that is wrong..."  I know all of you will give your best complain, since all posts here said : NEVER HIT DOGS. Please let me know your comments, I will make a summary and spread them into all dog mailing lists I join. It may sound crazy, but I want to do something to change people's mindset about hitting dogs. Appreciate your cooperation. Thank you. 
  • I don't think it's the country that makes the difference, it's the type of person you ask. I live in Canada and there are plenty of people here who buy a dog, don't read any training books, don't go to any classes, and don't do any research. They think smacking the dog is an acceptable way to discipline it. They probably haven't got the first clue what a clicker is.
     
    And you will find people like that in the US, UK, etc etc.
  • All depends on what message you are sending (through your energy) to the dog at the time.

    I hit my dog all of the time. I grab her tail and smack her butt (the sweet spot just above her tail) sharply, tell her she is a "baaad dog" (in a humorous voice), and when I let go she spins around and positions her butt for more 'cuz I made it all tingly and she doesn't want me to stop!
     
    (This was an adult dog who was very insecure, confused, mistrustful, and wary of humans when I got her)

    If I did this very same thing in anger or frustration, and with a harsh tone, I would be sending a very different message to my dog.

    A tap of the foot to redirect a dog like a tap on the shoulder to say "Uh, pay attention" is not the same as kicking or hitting the dog to administer punishment.

    I would never want a dog to feel attacked by me or corrected unfairly. Lose trust, and you lose it all. IMO

    It all depends on what message the sender (owner's intent and energy) is sending, and how that is being interpreted by the dog (receiver of the message).

    Harsh physical punishment because the dog "knows" what he did and "has it coming", I need to vent, I'm angry, I'm frustrated, my dog embarassed me, I had a flat tire on the way home, etc...does nothing to communicate compassionate leadership or instill trust in the dog towards their owner.

    Hit a dog, and you might as well be shooting yourself in the foot if you want your dog to follow your direction as their trusted, predictable, and fair leader.

    Many people who hit a dog are completely oblivious to the "submissive" signals a dog is sending to their attacker before they even receive the first blow. The dog may be saying "I give!", and yet the attack continues. Sad.
  • Agree. I've revised my previous post.
  • People who hit dogs to discipline them haven't a clear understanding of how dogs learn, or that there are more effective ways to get a dog to behave as you want.  You might simply want to tell all your readers to grab a copy of Pat Miller's "The Power of Positive Dog Training".
  • I hit my dog all of the time. I grab her tail and smack her butt (the sweet spot just above her tail) sharply, tell her she is a "baaad dog" (in a humorous voice), and when I let go she spins around and positions her butt for more 'cuz I made it all tingly and she doesn't want me to stop!

     
    I don't understand, if she likes the smack, then aren't you reinforcing the behavior instead of stopping it?
  • I truly think this is one of the areas that shows progress in a society. Fifty years ago, right here in the good old USA it was normal for teachers to hit students for infractions and parents to hit children.  It was considered to be, "for their own good". Needless to say in a society where children were hit the dog got hit too. Potty training was usually accomplished by swatting a dog with a rolled up newspaper and rubbing their nose in the mess.
     
    It has been found that violence is completely unnecessary to teach children right from wrong. If you extend this it has also been found that violence is as unnecessary in dog training as it is in learning the multiplication tables.
     
    It never hurts to remind people that you just can't use violence to train an Orca.
  • Agree with Statica and I'd also like to add that hit the wrong dog and you're very likely to get serious aggression in return. Most dogs take a beating and just slink away to lick their wounds, but every now and then you get a dog who simply won't stand for that and will bite back. There's a lot of aggressive dogs out there that were made aggressive by being beaten. They weren't born that way.
     
    It all depends on how the society or subculture or individual sees dogs. I see dogs as autonomous individual sentient beings with feelings and emotions, but without a moral sense of "right and wrong." I never say of my dogs "He knows it was wrong to do that." Right and wrong is totally relative to a dog so all I can say of them is "He may remember that last time he did that, I did not approve, so I wonder why he did it again? Did I not show him what I wanted clearly enough?"   But, if you see dogs as sort of "things" that don't feel sadness or anger or lonliness, and if you also ascribe a human moral sense to dogs (ie, you say "He knows it was wrong but did it anyway" as your justification for why you hit) then it's pretty easy to beat them. And yes, chances are if you think its okay to hit kids, you'll probably also think it's okay to hit dogs.
  • ORIGINAL: Scout in Canada

    I hit my dog all of the time. I grab her tail and smack her butt (the sweet spot just above her tail) sharply, tell her she is a "baaad dog" (in a humorous voice), and when I let go she spins around and positions her butt for more 'cuz I made it all tingly and she doesn't want me to stop!


    I don't understand, if she likes the smack, then aren't you reinforcing the behavior instead of stopping it?


    Your not getting what I'm saying.

    It's like a good scratch in the same spot to her and I initiate the activity. It's a moment of affection which my dog thoroughly enjoys.

    I'm not talking about modifying a behavior when I do this. I'm talking about a physical interaction with my dog which she enjoys, which would mean something entirely different if I did it in anger or to punish.
  • Well, I don't hit my dogs or my children...so far everyone is pretty well behaved. 
  • No, it's not ok to hit a dog, unless you are in some way protecting it or another animal from further harm. For example, if my dog is approached by another dog, and I don't trust that the other dog is nice, you better believe I would resort to violence if I had to do that. Otherwise, I don't think I could do it. Heck, Max was chewing my bed sheets one night, and I got so frustrated (he's destroyed a few of them) that I took the magazine I was reading, rolled it up, and smacked it against the bed near where he was chewing. It scared him enough that he doesn't chew those sheets anymore (but he never generalized that to not chewing other sheets or the mattress cover). Anyway, I felt horrible about it after the fact, and i've never used that method again, even though it did work. 
  • Your not getting what I'm saying.

    It's like a good scratch in the same spot to her and I initiate the activity. It's a moment of affection which my dog thoroughly enjoys.

    I'm not talking about modifying a behavior when I do this. I'm talking about a physical interaction with my dog which she enjoys, which would mean something entirely different if I did it in anger or to punish.

     
    OK I see what you're saying now.
  • I NEVER hit my dogs.....When my puppy is missbehaving I sit on him.....I do not put my weight on him, but I do get on top of him and gently grab the back of his neck.  He immediately calms down and lets out a big sigh, then I know he got the message.  Whenever he gets out of controll I say "do you want me to sit on you"  and he stops it.....
  • once my not-so-smart neighbor asked me if the best way to get her dog to stop bitting her hand was a spanking.... "huh????" then again, this is the wife of the guy that once asked me how much I paid for my purebred Fila and answered "you should've told me, I know a guy that can get you a pittbull for $45", I guess every neighborhood has a set of characters like that.....
  • ORIGINAL: Charlie06

    I NEVER hit my dogs.....When my puppy is missbehaving I sit on him.....I do not put my weight on him, but I do get on top of him and gently grab the back of his neck.  He immediately calms down and lets out a big sigh, then I know he got the message.  Whenever he gets out of controll I say "do you want me to sit on you"  and he stops it.....

     
    To me personally, that is as bad as hitting.  I simply do not get physical when disciplining my dog.  In my situation what my dog wants is my attention, and withdrawing that attention when he is behaving undesirably is the most effective punishment I can dish out.  I will body block him to keep him away from something if I need to, but that's as physical as I get for any purpose other than affection.  (He gets lots of cuddles and tummy rubs - GOOD physical contact.)
     
    Kate