Correction vs. Punishment

Dogs are cute and fun to play with, but no matter how cute our canine friends are, they sometimes exhibit certain behaviors that we need to correct. Dogs aren’t necessarily bad creatures, but like humans, they sometimes need guidance on how to correctly behave.

How then do you correct a dog’s behavior? Some dog owners believe in punishment; spanking and hitting their pets whenever they act out of line. Others believe in a positive correction method, using a reward system to teach and train their pets.

Below, we compare both methods to find out which one is more effective in teaching a dog to behave in the right way and manner.

Punishing a Dog

Punishment is often thought of as harsh treatment which involves spanking and hitting a dog. However, punishment doesn’t always have to be negative, and there is actually a positive way to punish a dog. Categories of punishment include:

Aversive obedience training: spanking and hitting all in this category. “Aversives,” as they are also called, are punishment methods that cause pain to your dog. These methods are cruel and harmful and are not at all effective.

Positive obedience training: this involves using humane and non-violent ways to train your dogs. Instead of using force, you can punish your dog by simply taking away their favorite toys or hiding any other thing of value from them. Positive punishment methods are naturally more effective than forceful discipline.

Positive ways to punish a dog include:

  • Using a firm (but not loud) voice to discourage certain kinds of behavior
  • Timeouts
  • Withdrawing treats or taking away their toys, feeding bowl, or any other thing of value
  • Ignoring them, or not giving them attention when they act out of line.

Effects of Spanking a Dog

Resorting to force to discipline your pet is likely to cause more harm than good. Some problems that are hitting or spanking a dog may cause include:

  • Aggression
  • Insecurity and fearfulness
  • An instinct to withdraw

Dogs should never be hit. When you hit or beat your dog, rather than correcting that behavior you hate, you’re instead teaching him not to trust you. Dogs are simple animals and treating them harshly will only cause them to be confused and scared.

Discipline through Positive Correction and Reinforcement

The positive correction approach gained increased attention through trainers like Victoria Stillwell. The underlying idea behind this method is that dogs can be taught to be well-behaved if they are rewarded each time they act “well.” Dog owners that use the positive correction method believe that you can discipline your pet without using violent or abusive methods.

Unlike negative punishment methods, a reward-based system is effective. Your pet is more likely to behave well when it learns that certain kinds of behavior are rewarded with a treat. In the same way, your dog will also quickly learn to avoid behaviors that cause you to withdraw your affection, their toys, or anything else of importance.

Punishment vs. Correction

A dog should not be treated harshly when it misbehaves; it should rather be corrected. Punishment is effective only when it is positive. As we have discussed above, negative punishment methods, like spanking and beating your dog, are no good. Instead of instilling good behavior, these methods will only cause a strain on the relationship between you and your pet.

Positive correction, on the other hand, is actually effective, and it communicates quickly to the dog what kind of behavior you like and which you dislike.

Almost as important as the method you use to discipline your dog is the timing of the discipline. Dogs think very quickly and can connect things that occur only in the present. If you try to correct your dog a long while after it misbehaved, chances are it won’t even know what the reprimand is for. What’s worse is the dog may start to think of you as unstable. To be effective, it is important to discipline your pet right at that moment that it misbehaves.

Knowing the right and effective way to discipline your dog will save you a lot of stress. The bottom line is to avoid hitting your dog whenever it misbehaves. Instead, use a reward-based correction system, and your pet will be grateful to you.