Views on Light Slap as Punishment
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Thread: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

  1. #1
    Member PaddingtonandMe's Avatar
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    Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Ive had dogs and cats all my life, and all my life ive seen my family hit them (not hard, just a light tap on the muzzle or head) when they are bad. When i got old enough i was taught also to do the same, and i did, with great results. Now i read online that it does nothing but make the animal fear you or hands, but that was never the case for my dogs or cats. The light smacking taught my dogs and cats the same as the shock collar teaches the dog where the invisible fence is.

    Ive always had this technique used for dogs that destroy things or bite people or animals, and cats that pee on the floor or scratch or bite. Its not used for barking, being rambunctious, or not following a simple command. Its not overused. They always only got smacked if caught the action, or while they were held down looking at what they did (like for peeing or destruction). Never after the action has passed. Within no time at all i had very well behaved animals that werent afraid of hands or me. We never did a repetitive hit either. One smack, thats all. Dog bites, one smack. Come home to see house destroyed, take a minute to calm self down so that we dont hit hard, take animal to a ruined item and make them look at it, one smack.

    In the wild, alpha wolves will slash open a shoulder or grab the throat of a misbehaving pack member to teach them to stay in line. Lightly smacking a dog is not nearly as bad as that, but the owner is the alpha and animals in nature learn through pain, and that is why its always worked for me i guess.

    So based on my experience i think it is okay and helpful to lightly smack misbehaved dogs or cats, and its not abuse if not overused. Online i see lots of different views as well, almost split 50/50 between a useful punishment and useless abuse. What do you all think about lightly smacking bad pets?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member JulieK1967's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I think there are no bad pets, only irresponsible owners.

  4. #3
    Member PaddingtonandMe's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    ive never seen a dog that was good 100% of its life and never in its life ruined anything or bit something without being punished and told not to at some point.
    Pets include: 75gal freshwater tank, 10gal planted betta tank, 10gal brackish fiddler crab tank, Sandy the Cat, Paddington the Dog


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  5. #4
    Senior Member JulieK1967's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    That's what training is for. Hitting is not training. Hitting, even "light slapping" is, IMO, abuse. My dog has never been hit or yelled at and yet she's still a very good, obedient dog. She's never destroyed anything or chewed on anything she wasn't supposed to. She sits when she's asked to sit, and stays when she's asked to stay. With the exception of a minor leash pulling issue that we continue to work on with positive, non-adversive techniques, she's a very, very good dog. Hitting is unnecessary and all it teaches a dog is to fear you. That's not the kind of relationship I want with my dog.

  6. #5
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I don't like it, and I'm an aversive using trainer somewhat balanced, but through the years I've had to deal with too many dogs that were hand/head shy.

    I always started dogs with combo verbal and hand signals because when dogs were picked up and customers went home with their instruction DVDs I wanted the 1st 10 minutes of work to be done hand signal only. People loved it and it gave me a chance to show off a bit with a dog that could be worked verbally or hand signals.

    I don't understand what you need, if you are satisfied with how your dogs turned out nothing else is needed. You say all your life, all the dogs were trained with the slap program, are we talking 50 dogs or more. Reason I'm asking is there are some dogs that will totally spook from a slap and maybe you and family just have not had that type of dog.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    When you come home and find something ruined and discipline the dog, no matter how you do it, it is not fair to the dog. You may think they know what you are showing them is what they did but dog's do not. They may act guilty as they know you are mad at them but they really do not know why you are slapping them.

    Even if you catch them in the act, there is no reason to slap them, even lightly. If they are chewing on something they shouldn't, it is your fault for leaving it where they can get it. If they pee on the floor when you are out, you should have them crated until they are fully housetrained or let them outside more often.

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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I think once you've gotten to that point, you've lost.

  9. #8
    Senior Member HollowHeaven's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by PaddingtonandMe View Post
    In the wild, alpha wolves will slash open a shoulder or grab the throat of a misbehaving pack member to teach them to stay in line. Lightly smacking a dog is not nearly as bad as that, but the owner is the alpha and animals in nature learn through pain, and that is why its always worked for me i guess.
    I guess it's a good thing dogs aren't wolves, and we're not dogs or wolves.
    Hauling off and smacking your dog will probably the desired result. They will fold up and stop what they're doing. They'll likely do it again, because you didn't teach them anything, but for the time being it'll work.
    Eventually you'll likely get a dog who's hand shy. In some dogs, this sort of treatment could shut them down, even a "light smack". In other dogs, it'll get you bit, and rightly so. I'd bite someone if they smacked for without warning or cause too, and I have, don'tcha know.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member hamandeggs's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Personally, if I felt like I had to hit my pets (er, "LIGHTLY smack" them) in order to get them to behave, I would never want to own a pet again, because I don't like hurting innocent animals that depend on me to survive. Somehow I don't think that's the response you're looking for, though.

    Do you really think you're going to get a whole bundle of people here saying "you are so OMG awesome for hitting your dog, how right you are, I have been so wrong all along with my clicker and cookies"?

    Biscuity goodness, CGC.

  11. #10
    Senior Member mashlee08's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I'll only hit indie in an emergency, example, she is about to put her face in a hot oven and I only just have time to shove her away. Other then that. No, just no.

  12. #11
    Senior Member melaka's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    The other day I was playing wii and accidentally smacked my dog on the side of the head, hard, with the wii controller. She yelped and slunk away, and forgave me pretty quickly, but kept looking at me strange for the rest of the night. Even though it was an accident, I felt so bad because I imagine she had no idea why I hit her. I'd think that smacking them for correction isn't much different.

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  13. #12
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by mashlee08 View Post
    I'll only hit indie in an emergency, example, she is about to put her face in a hot oven and I only just have time to shove her away. Other then that. No, just no.
    Ditto. I smacked Chester once on the butt because he was trying to kill a cat. He dropped the cat, cat was fine, we proceeded to spend the next few months on training around cats using positive association and we progressed to him being safe off-leash around the barn cats. Just like I've yanked the leash to haul him away from a car that didn't stop at a light; it was necessary and he wasn't upset but it doesn't mean I'm going to use yank and crank training on him.

    Seeing dogs that are hand shy and just cower when someone reaches to pet them is so sad, and there are plenty of dogs where a "light" slap is emotionally the same as a whack upside their head. It is also a dang good way to create a dog that bites, a few too many "light" slaps on the muzzle and next time that dog is at the park and a little kid reaches right for his nose for a pet..... well, not going to end well for anyone.

    I want my dog to trust me and see me as the provider of all good things in life. Hitting him on purpose (yes, I've tripped over him and bumped his head with a shopping bag and such, but he knows that is accidental) is counter to that desired trust.

  14. #13
    aiw
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I thought similarly to you when I first joined this board. I was a big Cesar Millan fan and didn't really know anything else. There may be some dogs who won't show permanent damage from a light smack but there are definitely ones who will... I own one now. Someone disciplined him harshly for peeing in the house (probably just a light slap) and we have spent the past 6 months trying to undo the damage. He still pees in the house, he has just learned to hide, so now instead of alerting me to go outside or peeing in front of me he will sneak away in the house somewhere quiet and out of the way.

    I spent a lot of time at first trying to figure out the 'right' way to train or the 'best' way when I finally decided that like so many arguments it was pretty pointless. I decided to just try to learn from my dog, watch what motivates him and why and really understand him. I trust my compassion to tell me if I've crossed the line and I'm a soft touch anyways so I don't really worry about it. I have found though that the positive stuff by and large works better. We seem to communicate better and I like to see him excited about what we're doing instead of unsure and anxious about making a mistake. I recommend experimenting. You don't have to throw away everything you've ever learned... just be open to trying something new, just to see how it goes.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by aiw View Post
    There may be some dogs who won't show permanent damage from a light smack but there are definitely ones who will
    Exactly. The problem with arguments like these are often one side wants complete justification for what they do and the other side is firmly against it. The mirror copy of this thread is the "Snap! the leash" thread also going on right now. It's YOUR dog so do what YOU think is best. Be open to using positive techniques. Don't be surprised if you scar your dog with negative techniques. Find a happy medium and be ready to relearn everything AGAIN with any new dog; they're all different.

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  16. #15
    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by PaddingtonandMe View Post
    In the wild, alpha wolves will slash open a shoulder or grab the throat of a misbehaving pack member to teach them to stay in line. Lightly smacking a dog is not nearly as bad as that, but the owner is the alpha and animals in nature learn through pain, and that is why its always worked for me i guess.
    You need to read more about wolves. Start with this, the website of the guy who first helped popularize the "alpha wolf" idea. He now explains that he was wrong and that we've learned a ton about wolves in the years since his book came out. He links to a newer study on that page.

    This article, this article, and this position statement also explain why it's silly for a human to attempt to act like a wolf.

    So, no. I don't "lightly slap" my dogs, nor do I think they're stupid enough to consider me some big, hairless, bipedal alpha dog.

    Crystal the Papillon and Casper the Alaskan Klee Kai

  17. #16
    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by PaddingtonandMe View Post
    In the wild, alpha wolves will slash open a shoulder or grab the throat of a misbehaving pack member to teach them to stay in line. Lightly smacking a dog is not nearly as bad as that, but the owner is the alpha and animals in nature learn through pain, and that is why its always worked for me i guess.

    ?
    This is not so. Wolves in the wild need all pack members healthy for the hunt. Therefore slashing a shoulder would be stupid. Besides, wolves are not dogs and owners are not alpha wolves. Dogs don't form packs. Scavengers and small game hunters don't need a pack, in fact surviving better as a solitary in most cases. Besides the things I want to teach dogs is not the same as what dogs want to teach other dogs.

  18. #17
    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by mashlee08 View Post
    I'll only hit indie in an emergency, example, she is about to put her face in a hot oven and I only just have time to shove her away. Other then that. No, just no.
    That's management/reaction though. You're not teaching anything there, just attempting to avoid disaster.

    I have kicked Mia for almost jumping into an oven once. It was all I could do to stop her at the time. The intent wasn't to train, it was to keep her from being burnt.
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  19. #18
    Senior Member Amaryllis's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by aiw View Post
    I thought similarly to you when I first joined this board. I was a big Cesar Millan fan and didn't really know anything else. There may be some dogs who won't show permanent damage from a light smack but there are definitely ones who will... I own one now. Someone disciplined him harshly for peeing in the house (probably just a light slap) and we have spent the past 6 months trying to undo the damage. He still pees in the house, he has just learned to hide, so now instead of alerting me to go outside or peeing in front of me he will sneak away in the house somewhere quiet and out of the way.

    I spent a lot of time at first trying to figure out the 'right' way to train or the 'best' way when I finally decided that like so many arguments it was pretty pointless. I decided to just try to learn from my dog, watch what motivates him and why and really understand him. I trust my compassion to tell me if I've crossed the line and I'm a soft touch anyways so I don't really worry about it. I have found though that the positive stuff by and large works better. We seem to communicate better and I like to see him excited about what we're doing instead of unsure and anxious about making a mistake. I recommend experimenting. You don't have to throw away everything you've ever learned... just be open to trying something new, just to see how it goes.
    This needs to be repeated. Because it's very beautiful to see someone change their mind for the sake of their dog.

    I own a hand shy dog. Kabota likes to be petted, he asks to be petted, but he closes his eyes and flinches when you bring your hand down over his head. Once you're petting him, he's fine, but for that one instant, he's not. It makes me very sad. In 10 months, I haven't been able to fix it, either. We don't slap in my house. Ever. Touches are nice or not at all and that's a rule for everyone to everyone. Kabota is still scared.

    And yes, before anyone says anything, I would grab a child or dog away from something immediately dangerous. I say "would" because every time it comes up, I've yelled and because I so rarely raise my voice, it was so shocking it worked like a slap.
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  20. #19
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I don't think we provided any of the expected affirmation ?

  21. #20
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    Re: Views on Light Slap as Punishment

    I hit my dog when he was younger. It was mostly reactionary to something he did. Like once I really took it to him when he growled at me over a new bone I gave him, my fault for being too close but it was a reaction to smack him.
    I always knew the consequences and that he could become hand shy, so I always made my hands a good thing. I don't hit him at all now but I still make sure to keep reminding him that hands are always good even when they are hanging above you, even when they move fast, no matter what they are doing they are good. They mean cookies, they mean pets, they mean toys, they mean play time, hands are always a good thing.
    It's worked and I've never had a problem with it, he's greeted children who do the classic "LETS PUT MY HAND OVER THE DOGS NOSE" thing and he's nice.

    If I had the chance to go back and stop myself from hitting my dog I would. It's nothing good, it doesn't teach the dog anything, and it isn't fair to the dog. All you do is create fear, it may not be noticeable all the time but the dog remembers that you hit him and he's not sure when you are gonna hit him next.
    It's a waste of time really, all it does it make you feel better and makes you think you accomplished something, when really you haven't.

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