Dog Fighting: Why Punishment Isn’t Correct Action

Dog Fighting

Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter

Is your dogfighting other dogs or guests or babies? Like you do to your kids, you might be tempted to punish the dog for the unacceptable behavior. However, punishment is not the correct action to take for a dog with such aggressive behavior.

Hitting your dog or yelling at him/her does nothing to help the dog learn how to act the correct way in such a situation.

Why is punishment not the correct action?

Punishing a dog increases a dog’s fear and aggression

Studies have shown that using punishments, whether verbal or physical, on dogs to correct their mistakes makes the dog fear you. 

Continuous punishment increases stress, lowers your dog’s quality of life, and increases aggression. 

When your dog becomes fearful, the first option they have is to run away when they see you. If they don’t have a place to run to, they may feel cornered, and they will try to protect themselves by being aggressive.

They can extend their barking, use their teeth to bite, or fight back.

It is a quick fix solution that will not last

Punishing your dog is only a short-term quick-fix solution that helps your dog to stop the behavior when you are present. 

The dog may learn that when you are not present, the behavior does not lead to punishment. So, it will stop the behavior when you are watching and continue when you are not around. 

For punishment to be effective, it must happen in 1 or 2 seconds of the undesirable behavior. The punishment should be at their right intensity to disrupt the behavior but not to impose fear.

The desired behavior should also be encouraged immediately and a reward after that. This is because punishment may teach a dog that behavior is undesirable and fail to teach the dog what is desirable. 

That is why it’s advisable to seek help from an experienced professional trainer who can train you to discipline a dog after fighting and method if you choose to punish your dog.

It can make a dog exhibit unusual behavior

Punishment is not the ideal action to take when your dog is fighting. It can lead to your dog exhibiting unusual behavior. This can include things like tail chasing, spinning, chewing, and loss of urine control. Such behavior arises when a dog or a pet is in a state of conflict. 

Punishment can be a way of giving attention to bad behavior

If you punish your dog every time they fight, they may think you are rewarding the bad behavior with attention. This will make your dog repeat the behavior in the future with the expectation that you will shout or scold them.

Instead of punishing, try to draw your attention away from the dog and turn your back every time they continue to do the wrong thing. This will make them reconsider their actions when they realize no attention is being served to them.

Giving your dog excessive or inappropriate punishing can cause many behavior problems. A punishment that is not followed by teaching a dog how to act on the best behavior is not practical.

It will only work when you are around, meaning it is not the correct action to take. Look for professional help rather than punishing your dog.

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