How To Punish A Dog

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Becky Roberts


As pet parents, we are accustomed to treating our dogs with tender loving care. We spend time taking them to walks in the park, playing catch, and even spoiling them with their favorite treats every now and then.

Of course, there’s also that familiar warm, fuzzy feeling of getting home after a hard day’s work. You know your dog is going to wait for you at the front door, with its tail wagging and its tongue sticking out, waiting for you to take the first step inside your house.

You open your door, and you are greeted with your number one stress reliever: your dog!

You immediately pet them, and played around, and rubbed their belly for a few good seconds.

And then you noticed it.

It was a sight that you dreaded for years. A sight that you wished you never saw.

Pillows, torn with cotton all over the floor. Your shoes, with evidence of being chewed at. And yes. Even your furniture has pieces of a canine’s wrath.

The culprit?

Your four-legged friend, who bats the same puppy-eyes as soon as you set foot on the house.

And now, for the matter at hand.

dog paws

How Do I Punish My Dog?

Now, before resorting to any violent resolution, it helps to know that punishment shouldn’t always be tied to spanking, hitting, and anything insanely aggressive.

Dogs may naturally show bad behavior, but this doesn’t mean that they are bad pets.

One of the tricky parts of punishing your dog is that you should do it almost immediately after the error or fault has been committed. This is so that your pet will not be confused as to why he or she is being punished. Don’t wait a minute more, and get into practicing positive punishment immediately.

What was that? Positive punishment, you ask?

Well, see, negative punishment simply implies that your dog doesn’t learn anything from the punishment. It can also mean an unnecessary form of harm or pain inflicted on your pet.

One of the things you must remember is that hitting and screaming or yelling at your dog has little to no effect at all in terms of disciplining them. They simply get the idea that you are mad. But this simply teaches them nothing.

Spanking also has a reputation for backfiring, especially if you keep doing it in the long run. If you are the type of owner who values your relationship with your dog, then spanking should never be done. Aside from potentially affecting your closeness with your dog, it can also result in unwanted behavioral changes to them, such as aggression, violence, and fear or insecurity.

If you start to notice any undesired behavior, you may first resort to positive reinforcement.

This simply means that for you to avoid the need for punishing, have your puppy trained beforehand. Simple commands, such as sitting, staying, or even avoiding to beg can go a long way, and can even be the difference between a long-lasting and successful relationship between you and your pooch.

Positive Reinforcement Does Not Work. What Should I Do?

Ah, yes. Of course, an alternative means of punishing or discipline will not always work for all cases.

On occasions wherein you find yourself frustrated because of negative behavior from your dog, always remember to proceed with your chosen steps gradually. You can begin by taking away their favorite chew toys, or raising your tone just a tad bit. Another famous option is completely ignoring your dog or leaving them alone for a period of time.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that these steps are forms of negative punishment, but rather smart ways to discipline your dog.

Another efficient method is giving your dog a time out. This can mean leaving them outside for a period of time or placing them in an area where they are not completely familiar.

You can also give out other commands after your dog does something you don’t like. This gives off the idea that you’d rather have them do something else that the very thing that you as the owner did not like.

Additionally, provide alternatives or pet-approved actions once you caught him in the act. Once you see him successfully getting the idea of behaving correctly, always resort to rewards and treats, or their favorite dog food.

Lastly, some owners rely on the help of a shock collar, which startles your pet whenever they do something that is not really owner-approved.

The Wrap Up

When attempting to aid negative behaviors from your dog, it’s important to be aware of the differences between discipline and punishment. When your dog is aware that you are asserting dominance over them, then chances are they will follow every command under your training.

At the end of the day, once these behaviors get severe, it always helps to seek guidance and tips from a licensed professional. Your trusted veterinarian may always help out in resolving some nasty habits from our four-legged friends.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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