In dog training (or in ANY interaction with ANY species, for that matter!), there is no room for direct angry contact of any human body part (e.g. hand, foot) to any part of the dog’s body. Of course, there IS room for kind contact of any kind: petting, patting, stroking, etc.

Hitting does not teach a dog anything. Spanking only vents YOUR anger, YOUR frustration. Slapping only teaches a dog to shy away from your hand (become hand-shy). Smacking can result in your dog snapping back at you! What other recourse does he have? He can’t tell you or even ask you to stop. He can’t push your hand or foot away. A dog’s mouth is his hand, and he will use it similarly.

TONE OF VOICE (see my related article) can accomplish SO much! A correct tone of voice can stop a dog in his tracks. Your tone of voice can quickly tell your dog that you are displeased. A dog that respects your leadership will understand. Your tone of voice is what will get your dog to listen, learn and pay attention to you.

I spank my dogs all the time – but I spank them when I tell them I love them! I grab their little butts and I give them a few swats as they turn around and try to kiss me, wagging their tails the entire time.

I could not hit my dogs hard enough to hurt them “to teach them a lesson”. Their coats buffer blows just as it keeps most bites from causing wounds.

If I hit my dog, it is to get their attention (“HEY!”) in an urgent situation. I make sure my voice carries more weight than my touch, and I praise when they turn to look at me. My swift swat is, at this point, punctuation to my words – kind of like what a collar and leash does. And because I RARELY swat my dogs, they have learned I mean business when this happens. “HEY! Get your face out of the garbage!” “HEY! You WAIT for me!” “HEY! Leave it!”


Pam Young, LVT CDBC CPDT  
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer