Do You Spank Your Dog?

During a lesson last week I was asked by a client, “When is it okay to spank your dog?”

I was really stopped short by this question, but admittedly not too surprised as there are still those that resort to getting really physical when it comes to correcting their dogs. Of course, my answer was, “You don’t.  

It’s not okay to spank your dog. Instead decide what you would prefer your dog to do and focus on training that behavior.” Occasionally I see this type of punishment with dog behavior problems like house training, biting in puppies and house soiling in older dogs. Often times a rolled up newspaper is used.

Can I spank my dog?

Here are problems you can create when you spank your dog 

  • If you catch your puppy or older dog peeing in the house and use a rolled up newspaper to correct him, he just learns that peeing in your presence is not safe. Next time he will go when you are not around. 
  • If you spank your dog or puppy after the fact of wrong behavior, he will simply learn to avoid you in that context. 
  • Example: You come home from work and see a mess on the floor. You then find your puppy or dog and whack him with a newspaper and rub his nose it his mess. 
  • Since he wasn’t caught in the act, he now has learned that greetings are no longer safe when you come home because bad things happen. 
  • In the case of puppy biting, spanking, hitting or smacking your puppy is a huge breach of trust that often creates fear in your puppy which can lead to aggression. 
  • If you spank your dog or puppy for his seemingly aggressive behavior on leash around other dogs, he will begin to associate that punishment with the other dog. The result? He will then not want other dogs to approach because of the impending punishment.

Dog Training is Very Simple – Spanking Your Dog is Not Necessary

Decide what you want your dog to do and focus all your energy and efforts in training the preferred behavior.

What happens is this – and let me know below if you agree – you loose your patience and want immediate results and often think punishment is the answer. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction.

Positive Training Takes Time


Positive dog training creates a fair and balanced relationship built on these 2 things:

1. Trust: your dog understands that no harm will come to him from you
2. Understanding: your dog understands that all good things come from you and must be earned

The Bottom Line in Positive Dog Training

Don’t spank, whack or smack or your dog to stop the behavior you don’t want from your dog. Take your time and train your dog to give you the behavior you do want in each and every situation. You’ll have a much more harmonious outcome.

Buck Brannaman, a world famous horse trainer once said of owners and their horses, “Instead of spending time focusing on the end result, discover the benefit of being in the process – learning is in the doing – not necessarily in the outcome.”

You have the rest of your dog’s life to train. So loosen up, relax and consistently train your dog every day. You’ll soon be enjoying that win-win relationship you’ve always wanted with your dog.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog


Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog
.