I have had too many people tell me that they “spank” their dogs for misbehaving. While this seems effective to you, I need to clarify that this could not be more wrong! I will start by breaking down why this method is ineffective and why it will cause more severe issues.
First, in the wild have you ever seen an Alpha “spank” a pack member? The answer is no!! They simply use their body language to display their power and they only show aggression if a pack member steps out of rank (Remember, only the alpha is allowed to show aggression in a pack). This aggression they use is body posture, sound, and a quick bite to the neck to make them surrender. They never continue after the dog has surrendered. This is the most vital piece of information I can give you. If your dog lies down on their side or curls up in a ball, they are showing you submission and asking for forgiveness.
Have you ever witnessed two dogs playing? They literally throw their full body weight against each other with such force it would knock over a human. How much effect could your “spanking” truly have? You may be saying, “My dog is always affected if I “spank” him, he cowers after”. Well my friend let me tell you why your dog cowers from a human who is “spanking”. In your dog’s eyes, your body language has gone from calm to violent. Your face has now become angry and crinkled, your voice loud and excited; you are standing over him even after he has surrendered. Your strike has nothing to do with it. What you are seeing is a dog that has fear of its pack. This is the most dangerous issue to create. Loss of trust in a pack member makes a dog more unstable and fearful. Fear biters do more damage with every bite and become unpredictable.
Dogs follow body language and tone of voice. You would have the same effect if you removed the striking and acted the same way. The problem with most “spanking” and correcting is that humans do not know how or when to stop!! Your dog’s instinct is to surrender and lie on their side or curl up in a ball to submit. A fair strong pack leader stops at this point. Too many people over correct their dogs and wonder why they have to keep “spanking” for the same behavior. If you correct your dog for showing aggression towards people or dogs in your “old” style, your dog gets overly corrected. They then see people and dogs as the reason for this discomfort and anxiety in you, thus creating a larger display every time after to keep them far away so it does not happen again. The end result is it always happens and gets worse!! They have to become more aggressive to stop you from being upset.
I have had people hire me for severe aggression cases that they essentially created. It is very sad and upsetting to me to see how many people over correct their dogs and never praise good behavior.
Your dog knows when you are displeased, just your body posture and tone is enough in most cases. A simple note here: If your dog is showing aggression, then you are not the leader, simple as that. You need to restructure your pack order and have them understand you control everything and they own nothing! If you become a strong and fair leader, your dog will respect a simple verbal correction. Your dog may be affectionate to you, but do they truly respect you? If they are showing aggression or dominant behavior the answer is no and no amount of “spanking” will change that.
Fear will not stop aggression or misbehavior, fairness and strong leadership will. A dog, who respects their Alpha, minds them and shows no aggression.
Tara,Brandie & the “pack”