Love your child punish your dog

What’s going on? Everywhere I go I hear peolple putting up an argument for using punitive methods in dog training. You need to ‘show them who’s boss’ and ‘they’re taking the piss’ are just two of the commenst which are often precursors for a rant on why dogs need to be hit, struck, scared, electrocuted, tingled, pinched and controlled physically by scruffing, alpha rolling and imposing household rules that are as restrictive as any prison puppy

This type of discussion isn’t limited to laymen. Professional dog trainers and scientists alike appear to be locked at the horns in the debate as to whether or not electric collars cause stress or whether they experience pain or startle response. I think you can probably guess my opinions but what difference does it really make? Whether a dog yelps because the stimulation is at a level that you could describe it as ‘pain’ or whether or not the dog has just been ‘startled’ to the extent that it feels the need to vocalise is irrelevant. The experience is more likley to fall into the unpleasant category for the dog and for me, makes it a method I would rather avoid.

I know how these electric games that people often pass around the office make me feel. I know what they are, I know they won’t hurt me but I just don’t like them. I don’t like the sensation but most of all I don’t like the anticipation of the shock. I’m a rough, tough cop with the mental capacity to rationalise and understand my environment and that is how these things make me feel. How would my dog feel if he kept experiencing this ‘stimulation’ but with no concept of what it is or where it came from?

The point of this article though is more of a moral question about our view about animals in general. Why is it that I cannot find one scientific study or one child welfare society advocating the use of punitive methods in dealing with children? Smith et al (2005) clearly shows the damaging effects on physical punishment on the mental and physical welfare of children and I cannot find anyone doing a counter study. I cannot find anyone on child care forums suggesting her work is flawed or missing the point.

Many parents do still use punitive methods on their children but I would suggest that for many they use it as a last resort or only when they lose control and the professional bodies certainly aren’t condoning it. The parents themselves aren’t shouting it from the rooftops and blogging online about their right to train how they like.

So it would appear that the issue is based on our perception of animals. On the whole, as a society we appear not to give animals the same respect and rights we afford ourselves. There is an arrogance in being human that allows many to apply a double standard when it comes to the treatment of their children and their dogs. If you really are concerned about the welfare of all the beasts in your care then perhaps it is time to reassess the morale side of dog ownership rather than defensively fight back to the rising tide of change.


9 Responses to “Love your child punish your dog”

  1. Another highly pertinent article. Thankyou. I look forward to reading all your articles.

  2. Another great article. Please keep writing these because I keep sharing them! Always hopeful that one day another person – pet owner or dog trainer – stops and thinks about how they interact with their dog.

  3. Violent aggressive people turn dogs into violent aggressive dogs.

    Dogs behaved better and had much more respect to owners in previous generations than here and now. Just like children.

  4. Helen Trevithick Says:

    I am struggling to find a way to stop my dogs instinctive behaviour to chase and kill cats and sheep. I was considering the last resort of an electric collar and putting him in with a ram. Now I am no longer considering using these methods because he is my very best friend. I don’t know of any other way to reduce his instincts 😦

  5. if you abuse a dog by force and call it training then all you are doing is breaking their spirit and leave them feeling they have nothing tp lose just like a child would feel if you did the same to them why do you think they banned corporal punishment in schools and homes reward training is the best method of training and I would like to train the trainers the same way they say punishment and physical abuse is the only way to train dogs and see if they would enjoy it remember dogs don’t speak or understand human language. they need time and education to learn. imagine being beaten for not doing something when someone tells you in a foreign language that you don’t understand but expected to do it straight away ??? use common sense and kindness ..

  6. Jessica Sky Says:

    Great post. It’s sad how people will continue to rationalize punitive dog training by prattling on about how “children aren’t dogs, you can’t treat them the same way.” I have never treated a dog like a child. I respect that they’re entirely different species. But I also respect the fact that they both learn by the same principles and they both need someone to trust and feel safe with.

  7. The (blue) light-bulb moment for me was when I realised that although dogs can be physically or mentally intimidated into doing (or stopping doing) almost anything, it is only when you work WITH them that you develop that real bond that brings out the absolute best in them – man and dog in perfect harmony 🙂

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