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Why Hitting Dogs Is Unacceptable

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Beating a dog has negative effects—here's why you should never do it.

Beating a dog has negative effects—here's why you should never do it.

Hitting Dogs Is Unjust

The main reason why a dog should not be hit is that it is unjust. Dogs are loyal companions—and unlike humans, they do not have a vindictive nature. When dogs upset owners, it is very likely not because he or she is being unruly or naughty; rather, dogs simply act as nature intended them to. They will not stop engaging in a behavior simply because they do not understand our standards and rules.

It is up to the owner, therefore, to provide guidance and leadership, which can be accomplished effectively in a non-confrontational way through positive reinforcement training. This type of training basically focuses on praising good behaviors and ignoring the bad behaviors. Owners that are unable to teach their dogs through effective training methods and resort to hitting dogs must be educated about the negative effect this punishment has on the dog and on the overall dog-owner relationship.

Following are several reasons why a dog should not be hit.

5 Reasons Why It Is Not OK to Hit Your Dog

  1. It Hurts
  2. It Induces Fear Biting
  3. It Causes Behavior Changes
  4. It Hurts the Bond
  5. It Is Misunderstood
Battered dogs do not bloom; rather, they grow insecure and fearful.

Battered dogs do not bloom; rather, they grow insecure and fearful.

1. It Hurts

There is unfortunately still a myth that dogs—particularly ''bully dogs''—do not feel pain and that they should be hit to get "tough" and learn manners. Dogs are equipped with a nervous system just as humans, and as such, they feel pain in the same manner. Some dogs may not show their pain by yelping, but they may suffer without showing it. Hitting a dog may also cause serious injuries and emotional scars.

2. It Induces Fear Biting

When dogs are hit, they develop fear towards their owner. The hitting may ultimately backfire on the owner once the dog becomes fearful and resorts to biting back in order to defend himself. At this point, congratulations for having created a fearful biter—this is a major behavioral issue that may be difficult to eradicate (hundreds of dogs are put down by shelters each year because of being fearful biters).

A survey published by Applied Animal Behavior Science showed that actions such as hitting or kicking a dog, “alpha rolling” a dog, grabbing a dog by jowls and shaking evoked a defensive, aggressive response from at least a quarter of the dogs on which these aversion-based techniques were attempted.

3. It Causes Behavior Changes

On top of potentially evoking defensive aggression, hitting dogs may cause them to become insecure. They may cower, engage in submissive urination and have low self-esteem. They may no longer walk with their heads high; they will rather walk with their tail between their legs and their head carried low. They may become particularly apprehensive, nervous, excessively submissive and live their life in fear.

4. It Hurts the Bond

Dogs that are hit will not trust their owners. Owners should be the ultimate source of trust and guidance. Battered dogs instead may cower upon being pet and may get scared of sudden movements. They will not grow to their full potential because too much energy will be spent living in fear of their owners.

5. It Is Misunderstood

If owners think that they are confirming their ''alpha status'' by hitting their dogs, they are totally wrong. Dogs don't think this way. Modern training has debunked the alpha myth as we are not dogs, and dogs are not wolves. David Mech, with his studies on wolves on Ellesmere Island, proved this. So if you really want to form a bond with your dog, you want to build trust, not fear.

Hitting a dog is basically telling him/her, "I am dog-training illiterate; I am hitting you because I do not have the necessary skills to teach you in a positive, more acceptable manner." Hitting a dog is also basically putting a dog to fail; dogs do not understand what is wanted from them and will grow in a fearful, unjust, and often misunderstood world.

Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: How should one go about training dogs to not bite?

Answer: If they are puppies, you just teach them to interact with you in alternate ways and reward them. For instance, you can train them to target your hands versus biting you, you can train them to sit and then you toss them a ball or kibble, you train them to play with toys and praise them for that. If you are talking about adult, older dogs, you see a professional for help. Hitting dogs for biting will only cause more stress and will cause an escalation of the biting and defensive behavior-this is proven by research.

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli


Christina on August 21, 2020:

I'm very disgusted by a lot of the comments I'm reading for this article. Do you believe in hitting or beating your child (if you have one) when they do something you don't like? It's abuse to hit no matter how you look at it whether it's an animal or human. Do your research on how to properly discipline your dog if they ever bite or any other kinds of bad behavior. If you think your dog deserves to be treated any other way besides respect and love then you have no business owning a dog and DO NOT get one! The moment I witnessed someone in my condo building hitting their dog outside because it bit their hand was when I removed myself away from their company and wanted nothing further to do with them. Hitting is abuse and you are an abuser if you hit. Plain and simple!

Liam on July 27, 2020:

This is really stupid how else are you supposed to let your dog know its being a little shit other than a smack and a stern talking do you think treating the dog will work? Do you think theyll stop waking you 10 times a night barking at nothing. Will being nice get them to stop ripping apart your couch while youre at work? Yeah nah youre thinking as if dogs are smart enough to understand compassion and kindness but they dont.

Patricia on July 17, 2020:

Im deaf. I reallllly love all animals. Im animal lover. I have 2 dogs. One is Rat Terrier and one orher is Pitbull/boston english or ? I cant promise. Anyway, they are too loyal, happy, play, and quiet. They both fight. Its normal. I told not to fight pls. Tjey both play alot... sometimes they fight for no reason. Im not spank. Age 3 age anf othr is 7. I taught them good. Im against people or kids or whoever hits animals for no reason. They have nooo patience w animals. WRONG. Animals can be change a littke if if if they hit or picky or cant stand of animals. Not their fault. Its all people or kids fault to ruined dogs. It hurts my heart ive read or watch tv. What a shame. Think!!! Look who made yall and animals. Its God/jesus. Of course, if she growls or... id spank her nose veryyyy light. They stopped. Never hit dogs. Dogs cant talk. The dogs are INNOCENT. Just give a time and train. My pitbull/? Was barked at my friend. Im puzzled. I asked vet. They said dogs has a very good vibe or guts. She has vibe whicj means she doesnt trust my friend. I put her in my room w toys. I love them to death. I feel bad and cry about people said they cant afford or no one wants. Has to puy them to sleep. I DISAGREEEEE. IM ANGRY. No excuses. Just help for old people enjoy pet, for blind, for deaf, for cops to help, and like that. Come on.... god/jesus can counts who hit or kill or throw puppies or.... put then in the bag. They will. My sister is a foster. She runs but heard 11 puppies were crying. She fiund. Brought them to her house. Bath, med, and foods. Sent them th o Colorado. Awwww bless jer heart. Im furious people do this ugly thingd. Sick people. Sorry if i call but animals are Beautiful. God BLESSY YALL AND PLEASE GIVE LOT OF LOVE. NO HIT OR THROE OR. JUST WALK AD GIVE IT TO VET OR FOSTER. YOU WONT FEEL GUILTY. PLSSSSS.

AJ on May 22, 2020:

I have a issue. My dog for the second time hurt my two year old girl and pushed her off concrete stairs and she hit her head. We were so worried about taking the baby to the hospital. I don’t want to put the dog down but she is already twice the weight of my daughter. How do you go about properly teaching the dog that hurting a child is wrong

John on May 09, 2020:

My Mom forgot those steps on her children. Why are dogs so special?

Jonnie on April 29, 2020:

Someone is always Hitting my dog with balls and feeding my dog stuff now they say he can’t go out side anymore I’m like what and it happened yesterday the day before yesterday I put him out there and now he can’t go outside omg I’m taking my dog to the vet they not doing that to you dog and my dog name is Mais and Mais one year old they can’t be mad when they bite you don’t say nothing you should learn a lesson and they said that my dog barked and he hade a bark caler so he didn’t bark

Hunter Wood on April 22, 2020:

I want to hit the owner for being sorry enough to do it unless it is truly warranted.

Clemmy... on April 13, 2020:

Honestly I don’t think this is fully true cause my dog would cry and cry for no reason like litterally till I look at her then she shuts up for a second before crying again Thts when I have to get up and she get scared cause she know ima pop her I’m not saying I full on abuse her but after I pop her she get quite and most likely go to bed honestly I did get her when she was a baby and she didn’t even cry like tht she was so quite now she’s like 4 or 5 months and all she do is cry

B on March 07, 2020:

And this is why people kids act like animals because there is no discipline. A dog must be spanked in order for the dog to know whats right and wrong. Just like kids. Most kids have terrible behaviour and disrespect their parents because there is no discipline in the house. So the kids act like animals. Untrain animals.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 28, 2020:

Excellent tips on why hitting dogs is not acceptable. You have enlightened me of an important topic on dogs.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 28, 2020:

Nicholas, dogs don't think in that spiteful way. They either act instinctively or they have simply learned to associate the owner's presence with punishment so when the owner is away, they think it's OK to do what their instincts tell them to do.They don't act on bad intent like humans do. If your dog does something "bad" it's your job to prevent him through management (keep him away from something that he's not supposed to chew or remove the items he chews so he's not put up for failure) and tell him what you want him to do instead (provide lots of acceptable chew toys) while also providing outlets for instinctive behaviors and boredom (exercise, training, mental stimulation). Beating a dog only makes the dog fear you, thinking you're unpredictable and also potentially becoming hand shy or even defensive (potentially leading to biting).

Nicholas scratch on January 27, 2020:

If your dog does something bad and it knows it's not supposed to do that but it keeps doing it. Beat it's ass.

Susan Leonard on October 16, 2019:

Hitting is NEVER ACCEPTABLE!!! I’m Thankful you Understand the Harm it does ! Infuriates me that people still have backward ways!!!! It just promotes Fear!!! 5 minutes after an accident, the dog has already forgotten the accident ! I am in Rescue and a certain video haunts me to this day. An ignorant guy took his non adult English Bulldog outside and hit and hit and hit the poor thing, the dog was crying and that stupid guy couldn’t stop! The dog had an accident in the house. The older lady next door didn’t know whether to say something or not. SPEAK UP! That’s ABUSE ! Oh I would have climbed that fence and tackled that guy and I would have removed the poor sweet dog!!!!!!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 28, 2019:

Thank you first of all for taking in this dog and working on his issues. This is not an easy task. It sounds like your dog has improved but then out of the blue he has gone back to biting. This needs investigated. What has happened? Could somebody have startled him/caused significant stress when you were away? Something always to consider if health issues that may lower a dog's aggression threshold. Have him seen by a vet and have his thyroid levels checked. Ideally, have him see a veterinary behaviorist. These are the real experts in the field. Once your dog's exact triggers are found, more than positive reinforcement, your dog may benefit from desensitization and counterconditioning, under the guidance of a dog behavior professional using force-free methods. On top of this, lots of management to prevent rehearsals of problematic behaviors. However, your dog's history is compounded by the fact that when he bites, he bites hard and to the level of causing significant damage, so your professional will have to evaluate the risks involved in working on this dog's issues with safety in mind. Some cases are worthy or rehabilitation, but sometimes unfortunately, if the risks at stake are too high options become rather narrow.

AprilMary1 on July 18, 2019:

I’m in agreement that hitting can be wrong . But at the same time I am at a loss. Ok I will give some background info. My dog Sheldon was abused and beat from his prior owner. The previous owner would take belts and hit my dogs legs and arms . In addition starved him as well as kept him confined 18 hours a day in a crate .

When I first got him he bit me so I decided to work with him and not put him down. Five years later he was doing okay. I had him around lots of other dogs and he was fine. I never let him loose tho due to his aggression towards other dogs sometimes.

He also had social anxiety and food aversion as well . I got him trained to go into his crate and wait for him to be fed I would say okay and he would eat. I spent hours and hours walking him brushing his teeth, grooming him etc. When I first got Sheldon he was two he was food aggressive to his owner not feeding him properly and worked through that. It took nearly two years before he was calmer .

Now five years on last week he was growling at me after we came into the apartment. He wears a muzzle due to his aggressive nature in the past and when people came over ie my building owner etc . Anyway after he growled at me I yelled at him and told him to stop . He didn’t and than he snapped at me . At this point I was really upset and should’ve let my boyfriend take him inside his room and such but my pride got the better of me . I didn’t listen and told him I could handle it. Now after Sheldon snapped at me I did hit him on the nose . No I don’t condone what I did nor do I hit him all of the time . But him snapping at me really got me upset . I knew my dog was a rescue and will have issues the prior owner was going to put him down but I didn’t let them do that. Anyway after this happened I took off his muzzle and he came after me and bit me .

What exactly did I do wrong besides just hitting him on the nose . The numerous hours he spent with me everywhere I went and was my constant companion . But due to his biting me again for the second time I received 24 stitches.

What other things could I done differently ? On the 21st my fur baby is being out to sleep. This is law where I am from due to the nature of my attack. I have been crying every day about this. I have taken my dog to a trainer before and they said that my dog was damaged due to the beatings he received in the past.

I know that I am in the wrong but what can be done different? I have read so many training books over the years I had Sheldon arbor least six and they all say different things.

Positive reinforcement is best but what do you do when the dog is trying to attack you . Like I said previously the first time my dog bit me I didn’t do anything wrong I was walking by his crate and he bit my hand .

Please advice would be helpful ...... negative or positive I admit to my mistake I haven’t ever experienced trauma like this before .

Elias on May 23, 2019:

Whoever posted this article is obviously the illiterate uneducated one. This person must have no knowledge what so ever if dog training and must just feel some type of way about the topic. Sorry your feelings are hurt but you are the type of dog owner that sets a bad name for dogs

Tom on April 15, 2019:

I’m sick of reading these articles that claim hitting dogs is bad. Yes, if you’re constantly hitting your dog for no good reason it’s abusive and wrong. But when you’ve tried everything else and it won’t work and you’re at your wits end, trust me when I say if you truly want to stop your dog from doing something then a good hiding is in order! Don’t do this unless you’ve already tried shouting at him/her and that hasn’t worked.

My girlfriend had her dog long before she met me. He was already 2 years old when we met and she couldn’t even let him off the leash because he’d always run off. When I got involved I also tried shouting at him but out of the handful of times she’d let him off in my presence due to my nagging he’d run off pretty much every time....until....I had a day off work and I told my girlfriend I was going to smack him if he ran off when I walked him. She said she didn’t want to be there when I did it. Anyway, the time came for his walk. I said to him in a firm tone “don’t run off!”....what does he do?

When I caught up with him and smacked him, hard. I then took him home and smacked him again, to the point where he was cowering behind the sofa for 10 minutes. Now, I understand this sounds cruel. Have you ever heard the saying you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes, though? This is exactly where it applies because a week later and he’s now walking leash free, happy as Larry at my side when I take him out. He doesn’t run off and even when he starts to get a gallop on, as soon as I shout stop he does. I usually take treats to reward him for this too, so his attention is on me...but this wasn’t working before. It’s because he got a smack and he was scared. Don’t listen to this crap on this website, just do what you’ve got to do. It will be stressful at the time (I was actually shaking a bit) but it’s so worth that 5 minutes of stress for the outcome!

Hard way will always be the better way on April 09, 2019:

I do not agree about anything you just said.

Nature is made for the fittest and strongest. We are the dominant species of this planet and dogs are lesser being. They follow and obey if not they get hit and that's just the way it is.

Joe on February 18, 2019:

So it clearly states that dogs aren't humans and don't understand things the same we do and then turns around and states that if you hit them they think that your not equipped to train them so which is it do they think like us or not in order for them to know there being trained they'd have to think like us also dogs are different you can't just speak dogs in generally other dogs like chihuahas and etc are completely dumb while a pit bull or a husky are geniuses they understand things differently depending on the breed

audrey on January 31, 2019:

why would you ever do that do a dog

Tinamarie Pearce. on December 13, 2018:

I am so sad that my soon to be ex Robert Gradel has hung 1 of my dogs over the balcony & said hes going to drop him & Punched the other dog Max in the head & wise county police in TX wont do anything about it.Check out Robert on FB leave him a comment.

John Wayne on November 27, 2018:

Whipping my dog with a switch just because of this article.

Mike on November 15, 2018:

So the dog should be rewarded for good behavior and bad behavior is supposed to go unnoticed? that is outrageous, I don’t believe that hitting the dog is necessary, but bad behavior should 100% not be ignored, that is practically encouraging bad behavior and is no way ANY animal should be trained. You need to re-evaluate your training methods as it seems you don’t know what you are saying.

Tom on November 06, 2018:

You have no idea what you're talking about.

S.S on September 20, 2018:

Keep it up!

Avary on June 06, 2018:

I love that your doing this as they say dogs mans best friend I want them to be safe it isn’t there fault but I’m just a little10 year old girl I love all animals even the ones that kill

For real 59 on May 28, 2018:

I stumbled upon this page after doing some research. I am aghast and deeply disheartened by the number of people here who not only condone corporal punishment for dogs and beatings, but who carry them out. There seems to be a sprinkling of people with anti-social personality disorder, evidenced by their cruelty and lack of remorse.

Milly F. on May 19, 2018:

Kayla Stark, many people don't believe abusing animals is right but there are also other people that think abuse is the only way to get their pets to listen. It's heart breaking to know that but hopefully these articles get at least some people to use something other than abuse to discipline their animals.

Kayla Stark on April 26, 2018:

I want people to stop!!! Beating and Abuauseing animals now!!.

TinaMay on January 13, 2018:

Forgive me as I'm a little upset from what has happened. Recent added a new furbaby back in Oct 17. She's 5 months old weighs 1.6lbs, so yes shes tiny. She was on my partners lap and our other dog came in. If she is higher up ie on our laps and his lower she gets protective and snaps at him but she snaps at my partners hand, he instantly smacked het hind and put her on the floor, she ran straight off into her crate. I have never agreed with smacking, only a tap with the tip of my finger on the nose, tried to see if my partner was ok and said he shouldn't of smacked her. He then angrily said if she bit the kids like that then shes gone. She's always well behaved with the kids, i only every keep an eye on the youngest who is 4 as she can be rough. I know she gets protective but i know and wary of how to handle her behaviour where as he just stick her in her crate. She's only a puppy and I feel I may have to re home her because how he is. It's upset me to the point of tears. Am I over reacting? Or am I right in feeling this way?

liv on November 06, 2017:

that money my mother inlaw spent on a trainer she dose even do what trainer said a to by grabbing them by the scruff of ther neck my mother in law was messing with George by taping him in the face with her shoes on then that when gjnger whent afer George and ginger start going after each other for a couple of min and the finally got them to break it up and took George in to the kitchen and and she smacked her in but and then smacked her in face like twice and I was like that abuse and she was like she going to learn one way or another. and to me and all she going to learn to be fearful of her not want to be near her what so ever

Me on November 03, 2017:

To Zhen jie it's called a trianer

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 25, 2017:

Zen Jie, in that cases you prevent this from happening in the first place. It would be unfair to hit a dog who attacks cats, and to keep the cats exposed to a dog who attacks them.

Zhen jie on September 14, 2017:

What if my dog bite some cats till death is it still unacceptable to hit it I mean come on

Susan on September 01, 2017:

Hi, I'd like to know if it's ok to kick your dog in the ribs as part of training them. I've recently moved to a neighbour hood where I see a man walking his young German Sheppard. For the third time I've caught him tugging really hard on him and what's upsets me is that every time I see him he's kicking the dog on the ribs. It's not a small tap it's a kick. I finally confronted him and told him I'm going to call someone on him. Before I call someone I'd like to know if that's proper training . I can't see it being right, hurting a dog during training isn't right. Someone please help me out here. Thx

Emlain on July 28, 2017:

I agree because dogs should be treated fairly. I came to this website and saw sad thing happening to my sister's dog is sad our brother hits her and pun punch her. We may be different from dog but still doesn't mean we shouldn't treat them badly. The Lord mademail everything that are important to him and the people on the earth so that's why he created dogs and cats so it help people on the earth and be protected.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 25, 2016:

Patty, so sorry to hear your dog's personality has changed with this bad experience. Your safest option is to consult with a behavior consultant focusing on force-free techniques so that she can learn to trust again. In the meanwhile, keep her away from people that may harm her and keep your other pets safe. She sounds very stressed, you need to make her feel safe.

Patty g on December 23, 2016:

My pit bull Kyra, is going on three years old. My brother while being intoxicated was yelling and flay ing his arms around. While standing next to me and my mom my dog lunged at his house making his nose bleeds. Which he thought she bit him. So he put her in a neck lock and continue to pound on her head with his fists so i started hitting him. She was bruised and battered beat up pretty bad ever since she's been traumatized now she's not the same and she's killed my mom little dog and she has attacked my other dog twice where he has had to have stitches. She's not the same talk anymore she's dangerous 2 other animals. She is sad depresses and so unpredictable. What can I do to help how to change the situation I've had her since she was a few weeks old she has grown up sleeping in my bed under the covers with me she is very spoiled and has known nothing from me except love. Love is all I hAve ever shown her along with loving reprimand when needed.

Kylie on May 01, 2016:

People make me sick. The only reason I found this is my boyfriend I have been living with for a year decided to hit my dog last night, my 12 year old rescue beagle. I didn't sleep with him last night and am seriously considering leaving him and will if he ever does it again. I just cant believe people think this is okay. I think some people are jealous of the love and affection we have for our pets.

abby on August 24, 2015:

We have a pit bull, we got her last September 2014, she was about 3 mos old. My husband allowed her to urinate and poop in the garage. Now he the garage floor poxied and things just because he tells her to use it outside the garage door she is suppose too. Now he beats her every time she uses it in the garage. I mean he beats her with a garden hose that he cut and made just for her. He has been doing this for quite a while now even when she was eating up things. I feel so sorry for her because she cries and isn't a happy dog anymore. I was doing to call the police and act like a concern neighbor. My husband is very mean

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 09, 2015:

Hello, sorry this answer comes a bit late, I am catching up on comments. Thank you for seeking help on this matter. I admire your will to help this dog out by embracing positive methods. You are on the right path, and hopefully you'll be able to undo some damage. Here is a great read on how coercion-based methods create the grounds for aggressive behaviors:

I have many, many articles on dog behavior, puppy potty training, barking etc using gentle training techniques.. There are too many to list. If you go on my profile page here on hubpages, you can visit my pinterest page where you'll find all my articles on barking, house training, nipping all in one place.

Kayla on June 07, 2015:

(Sorry, I accidentally posted one half without finishing! Continued...)

Getting on to the point of the matter.... I thought when they were punishing him, it was a slight pat on the behind and a firm no. As if any physical punishment is necessary, I found out their punishments actually evolved and worsened. My grandpa introduced to the family what he refers to as (if I recall correctly) the Pavlov Method, he says in which the dog associates pain with the word "no", so in the future the dog will hear "no", be reminded of the pain and therefore respond to the word "no" alone. This method which is abusive but I'm sure also outdated has brought more turmoil for poor Coal from every member of the household except me and my partner, who have never laid a hand on him in an unloving way. Not only have my grandparents and mom conditioned my younger sisters into thinking hitting a dog is righteous punishment, they often tell my sisters (12 and 10, if I may remind you) that they aren't hitting hard enough! Plus, rather than the butt they hit his face and chest now (and he had confirmed heart problems too, I forgot to mention). The same people who hit him never give him any treats for good behavior (except my mom) and instead hit him when he is "annoying" them or doing something a puppy normally does. Not only are they hitting him with their hands, but my grandmother had taped together a special weapon (two wooden paint-stirring slabs of wood) to slap him with when he barks or nips.

I was already appalled that they resorted to hitting him as the easy way out in the first place, but I am furious upon discovering that they are teaching my young sisters to abuse animals! Not only this, but because of his barking and intense play my mother had suggested leaving him outside on the chain! It's like they've already given up on him.

I feel as though all my family wants to do is control this dog and terrify him into submission in the process. They really don't deserve to have him in the house, but I can't simply remove him from the home or I'm sure I'll be kicked out. I've told them that it isn't right to hit Coal and doesn't teach him anything but to be hateful, aggressive and afraid, but they tell me to mind my own business and worry about my own problems. But I'm the one who takes him out, plays with him, makes sure he gets food and water, rewards him for good behavior, and I feel I love him the most. Therefore, how is his well-being not my business? They are thick-skulled people stuck in the fifties I tell you.

Sorry for rambling, but I thought you should have some background on the situation.

So after all this, I have a few things to ask of you. I'd really appreciate it if you would provide some sources (unless there are some in the article) that lead to hitting dogs as punishment being a disproven method. I fear the only way my grandfather will stop promoting the abuse of this puppy is if he knows there are more effective ways to fix good behavior. Also, if you could provide links for appropriate puppy training when it comes to going to the bathroom, biting, and barking at another dog, that would be great! Also, how could I improve what I've already been doing to train him? And what if they don't stop hitting him? Will my positive reinforcement be enough to properly guide him, or will their improper punishment confuse him? I feel I'll have a difficult time making my family take this issue seriously, but I desperately want them to realize that they are permanently damaging Coal!

I know these people aren't patient enough to raise a puppy, and I'd love to put him in a better home where he'll be loved like he deserves, but there's nothing I can do at this point except try to convince everyone that there are more effective ways to teach Coal. I fear they only want the easy way, but it's worth a try to help this puppy from becoming aggressive. I'm sick of finding him hiding from everyone and I just want him to be happy.

Kayla on June 07, 2015:

Hello! I don't know if you are still responding to this thread, but anything is worth a shot by now.

So, my mother recently took a German Shepard puppy into her home, or more specifically, her apartment. I believe he is no more than 3 months old at the moment. I didn't live with my mother when she lived in her apartment, but just a couple weeks ago she moved into my grandparent's house, where I am currently staying until I can afford an apartment. Why I bring that up is because I wasn't sure of how she was training the dog as I wasn't living with her, but now that I am, I've realized some pretty shocking things not only coming from my Mom but my other relatives as well.

I'll say now that in the current household, there lives myself, my partner, my grandmother, grandfather, my three younger sisters (18, 12, and 10), my mother, the German Shepard puppy whose name is Coal, and my grandparent's adult Australian Shepard whose name is Sammi.

Some background on the pup for when he lived at the apartment: My mom left the house for work around 6 every morning and didn't come back until around 5 pm. My sisters were at school until my mom brought them home at the same time, so the puppy was alone at home for nearly 12 hours each day. My mom would leave pee pads on the carpet for him to use, and he learned to use them surprisingly quickly, that is until she ran out and never bought any more. I'm sure this confused him, as not only was he inside for 12 hours so he couldn't be let outside to go potty during that time, but now what he had learned to use to go to the bathroom on was taken away, yet he was scolded verbally for toiletting on the carpet. This frustrated me, because how is he supposed to learn to go outside when no one is home to take him out?

Now back to our current residence. I'm not sure if any hitting of the pup was involved at the apartment, but the treatment Coal receives now is even worse. He barks at Sammi, the other dog, almost immediately upon spotting her and does not stop. I believe what he wants is to play with her, but she ignores him and seeks to hide behind people or chairs when he barks. He is hit for barking at her, told to shut up, and is called annoying.

How I fix this: I read some articles that said a good way to show a German Shepard in particular that they are expressing bad behavior is to ignore them, and something that is effective is putting them in an isolated room for a few seconds to a minute or so. Then let them back out, and if the behavior persists, repeat. I have tried this when I can, and it seems to be effective. Usually once I let him back in after the first isolation, he will maybe approach Sammi, but not bark, and soon leave her alone. I also like to distract him and show him that I want to play when Sammi doesn't.

Another problem that has continued from the apartment is his using the house as his toilet. I am not always at the house, therefore am not always there to take him out (not that it's always my responsibility). He both urinates and defecates on the hard wood floors. Usually, my family finds out after the fact, finds him, and spanks him for it.

How I fix it: I've read that punishing a dog, letting alone hitting, after they have acted badly does not teach them what they did wrong, rather confuses them. Not only that, but he doesn't learn not to go in the house at all, rather to go in a different area or when no one is looking. When I'm home I try to take him out as frequently as possible, every hour, sometimes more often. What I do is take him to a spot where Sammi has peed, and when he smells it he will go there too. I have done this frequently enough to where he instantly knows to go potty in the same spot. I give him very endearing pets and tell him he's a good boy, then I play with him for a while outside so he doesn't associate going to the bathroom as "time to go in", and once we go in I'll give him a treat (as I forget to bring treats outside to give to him as soon as he goes potty, my bad!). This has proven effective. The only time he ever toilets in the house now is when I'm not home, but others are and are obviously not taking him out enough.

Another big problem he has is "rough" play. It's not rough to my standards as I'm aware he's an energetic little creature, however to my elderly grandparents and young sisters his play is too violent. He jumps and his claws can hurt, and he often use his teeth. He has broken skin several times. They hit him for this behavior and yell "NO!"

How I fix it: When he seems too rough with his mouth, I give him a toy instead of my hand. If he persists on targeting me, I will say no sternly, put him in the other room as mentioned before, then let him out and if he's gentler reward him with pets and such.

Another issue is that my grandparents insist that when they aren't there to hit him for bad behavior, he needs to be in the other room (the one I isolate him in for no longer that a few minutes at a time) in order to not bother Sammi. I don't like this because I think it confuses him. I use that room to discipline Coal for bad behavior, but if they keep him in there for hours for no reason apparent to him, then I fear he will no longer associate the room with punishment and it will not be effective, or he will feel he's being punished all the time for nothing.

Something else I do for Coal is train him with treats, such as telling him to sit, shake, and lay down. I have effectively taught him all three, and while sometimes he has trouble remembering what the commands are supposed to mean, he soon catches on. He seems so smart for his age, and it's a shame that my family confuses him with unjust punishment.

Getting on to the point of the matter.... I thought when they were punishing him, it was a slight pat on the behind and a firm no.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 23, 2014:

Your dogs aren't likely well behaved, they are suppressed dogs who are scared to do or try anything. I see many of these dogs who are deeply inhibited and it takes quite some time to get them out of their shells. I know because I rehabilitate several dogs like this and when I try clicker training, they are scared to try anything and need loads of encouragement. Are these dogs well behaved? Yes,they may be, but they are strongly inhibited. The sneaky behavior you talk about is typical of dogs who are fearful of their owners. They misbehave when you are not around because they have associated your presence with punishment. You can have well behaved dogs without the need to spank them or treat them in a militaristic manner. All you need is consistency, some rules and consequences , but the consequences do not need to be aversive. Look up the many force-free training websites. Your dogs have a lot of patience to take your spanking, and you are lucky that they are so nice to not bite back defensively--believe me, many dogs do at some point. There are better ways....

deedee on August 23, 2014:

The majority if this article ie untrue. If you beat your dog abusivly then this sounds bout right. I spank my dogs just Like I do my kid. I don't do it all the time, I spank the butt, and you should never use excessive force. Ppl do this w horses and everything else. It keeps em in line. They're nit stupid as some ppl make them from not working w them. I agree they're not on a human level but I have had many dogs and they understand commands and know when they're doing bad. They're as sneaky as children.

My dogs think I'm the greatest thing oh two legs, they respect me but they're not scared. The leader of the pack usually bites the under dogs into submisd. My bite is a sting to the rear. Everyone comments how well they listen, and I can get a dog to do anything. There's a certain way to discipline though. For me the Bible has the last say not the new trends in the world I don't care what anyone says. Don't let ppl guilt you into letting you have unruly children that don't listen. If they dint listen to you, are they going to listen to GOD or be rebellious like fallen angels. People that let their dogs run the neighborhood unruly are a burden to others. My neighbors dog is a spin in the butt, and shouldn't be my problem.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 10, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by epbooks and commenting, it's so true!

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on July 09, 2013:

Another great hub. I can't stand to see owners hitting their dogs. I've never seen it do any good. Yes, it may temporarily stop them from what they are doing but they won't forget. Similar to children, if you use violence with a dog, you are in essence, teaching them violence as well. There's no reason for it. Thanks so much for posting.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 07, 2013:

I agree with you and think pack theory is outdated and that dogs have a very good memory. You own a very smart dog! thanks for sharing your story, kind regards~!

mythical and old studies on May 07, 2013:

the myth that dogs have short memories is a conclusion that old studies from years back had come up with..just like the study that decided dogs don't see color o only r recognize peopl via their scent..all three of those are old beliefs and in the past several years have proven dog recognizes the color of certain things as well as recognizing animals in television.he won't budge when he sees people or an other images onscreen..but any animal he'll notice immediately and begin watching tv until the animal isn't being shown anymoe.he's sit watchijg and waiting but if the animal doesn't come back onscreen within three or four seconds he's not interested anymore.he still monentraily confuses his leash (at a distance)with a something else that looks similar in the hous due to the fact they're both the same exact color.he's run over to the item and realize its' not what he thought it was from across the room and then he'll look and find his leash./he remember fully what Christmas is and remembers where he hid a treat in the house two nights previous. the dog knows what "let's go to the coke machine" means and leads me straiht to the laundry room here at the complex as that's exactly where it is..same with the pool..tell him let's go to the pool and guess where ou wind up? no memory? how can anyone be so daft to even think it.if I were most people,i'd disregard a lot of this 'pack' talk .some og it i'm sure is true.but I don't believe that everything dogs do is based on the pack theory.some dogs just plain thing they're human..period.i believe many have developed this pack notion to the degree that they truly believe that treating your dog like family is absolutely wrong and treating him/her like a dog means excluding treating like another human.sorry..but my jack Russell sleeps right beside me on the same pillow,sits in my lap both at home and in the car.on the other hand he won't even touch his rawhide bone when I buy him one,until I've got all the groceries put away and i'm in the living room with him sitting on the couch..once i'm there with him sitting down near him is when he pickes it up and begins..never understood's not a pack thing as he only behan doing this when we began eating in the same room.i figure it' some kind of bonding.the few times he got a big head and bit me he was on the couch trying to get something off the nearby table(he's got a thing about eating napkins and paper in general) I told him no and put him off the couch and he got right back up there and grabbed it and I tried to take it from him..he growled and bit me..,i grabbed his harness ,forced him off the couch,i said "i told you no and you bit me..see?" I showed it the woumd to me.he knew..he laid down on the floor(as I wouldn't let him get back on the couch with me)and he laid there for a good while before being all happy and all Richard simmonsly with him.anyway.i believe it's okay to treat them like family but with discipline -it doesn't confuse them,trust me.i have always treated my dogs like family members that have dogs have always been the happiest dogs in the world./one advantage I have and I admit it IS an advantage that most don't have.i'm on 100% disability and have been since i'm conveneiently with the dogs I 've had 98% of each day.i'm a night person.if the temp is comfortable outside at night the dog goes with me .if however,i tell him going to walmart or dennys he'll tug on the lesh to stay home.he won't budge off the couch.i'd have to drag him.he doesn't like the fact that I leave him on the car once I get to either place.but if I say well let's go to grandmother's,he's at the door faster than snot and of course that's right where he heads (she lives around the corner from me in the same complex I live in).he goes right to her door.he's picked up on tons of commands .I throw his toy and he knows what I say when i say "it's in the kictchen" or it's by the fridge" or "it's under the table".like a sreak of lightening he'll head straight to wherever I claim I threw it./ this theory or story tha"t dogs only know right now" or that dogs understand tone of voice but not actual words is so easy to defeat and prove incorrect,i'm surprised anyone continues to voice those old beliefs

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 31, 2012:

Tessa, you own a breed that needs loads of exercise and mental stimulation. Taking her out three times a day sounds like a good program but when she's home it looks like she wants your attention. Shouting at her, looking at her, and taking her out for a walk. are all forms of attention that reinforce the barking. If her exercise needs are met, once home before she even starts barking, you can try to give her some interactive toys to help keep her mind stimulated. For instance, you can stuff a Kong in a challenging way, invest in Nina Ottoson puzzle, get a bully stick for her to chew and relax. For some sensitive dogs shouting at them may have the same effect as hitting them. So it may help to take a more direct approach and instead of yelling at her for doing things you don't want, try to give her opportunities to behave well and reward her for engaging in these alternate activities. If you work all day, she may have been waiting all day for you so perhaps it may help to hire a pet sitter or a dog walker to help take the edge off a bit? If you are upset at how you are treating her you have two options: find a more productive way to mentally stimulate her in the evening, or re-homing her to a family that is home for most of the day and have the time to exercise and mentally stimulate her. I hope this helps, let me know if you have other questions, best wishes!

tessa connorton on October 31, 2012:

I found this site very helpful, I feel so bad that I never read that anyone never shouted REALLY LOUD at their puppy to stop bad habits though, my beautiful JR puppyb 15 weeks old is so sweet but I shout at her so much when she is bad, I never hit her, never. I take her out for good runs on a long lead on the beacj or park 3 times a day to exercise her and then when In have walked my older dog the same separately and (myself worked) I am tired at night and she crys for my attention and I have to eat and rest! I shout and tooke her out in the dark night on her lead and made her walk, walk walk, and kept saying to her, this is what you want, cold wet and dark! of course she never understood, I was tired and hungry myself and felt it was my time now, any how she went into her crate, all warm and dried off but I had made her shake with fear at my constant shouting, what can I do, should I find my lovely puppy a better mum? I am so upset at how I have treated her .

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 26, 2012:

Killing cats is common in this breed, Google "husky killed cat" and you will get an enormous quantity of stories. This breed comes from siberia where the harsh conditions made them hunters and they were also left in the summer loose so they would kill all sorts of critters. He should always be on leash and in a fenced area. I wanted to adopt a husky from a rescue once and they denied cause my fence was not enough high. This breed will escape and, for a good reason they are known as houdini. Separation anxiety is not easy to deal with. Your best bet is to get a professional to help you out. Here is an article I wrote, watch the video of how a dog can be clicker trained to accept brief departures. Best wishes!

James on September 26, 2012:

I am having major problems with my Siberian Husky. He has thus far gotten me evicted due to his howling, and he has killed my neighbor's cat as well as my cat. He is 5 months old, he is potty trained and listens well otherwise. However, the INSTANT I am out the door he begins to howl. Nothing has work to correct this: positive reinforcment when he stays quiet, or hitting when he begins to become vocal. If he continues, I will have to give him up. I can't leave for ONE SECOND! He has horrible separation anxiety. What can I do?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 26, 2012:

I am sorry to hear no trainer was able to help you out and only a flip flop works to makes him stop. Sounds like you punish a lot for what he does wrong, but what about rewarding what he does good and teaching alternate behaviors? You say he does not like filled Kongs, what do you fill them up with? Your dog must eat something in his life! Stop leaving food out all day, make him work for it, stuff his kong with his kibble, add layers of peanut butter, cream cheese etc, liver treats etc. I have yet to find a dog who doesn't care about a Kong, if a dog eats, he will use a Kong. Let him earn every piece of kibble. Pushy behaviors are never rewarded, calm is only rewarded. If your dog is listening to command only if a treat is there you are bribing not training. I think these articles will be helpful:

I am sorry, I truly believe a dog can be trained (and I have trained many) without the need of being hit with a flip-flop. Your flip flip may work to stop a behavior but it does not do anything to teach what other behaviors are acceptable so your dog will do more and more of them and make good choices. Kind regards.

tigerlilli on August 25, 2012:

I have to pop my dog with a flip flop, that's the only way he shuts up. I have a Pom that wont behave with a leash, doesn't play well with other dogs, growls and barks at everybody and marks every thing if given the opportunity. He is put in a pen in my room and if not given attention, rattles the pen with his paws very annoyingly. the only way I can get him to calm down, be quiet is to slap his behind with a flip flop. I have 2 roomates and he howls like crazy and it drives me up a roof. I took him to training and he was the worst erratic dog ever. I don't enjoy playing with him anymore as his actions are overboard and he never listens to a command unless a treat is behind it. Trust me I bought all kinds of toys, filled kongs with all kinds of yummy treats, he doesn't even want to play with it. Sorry, some dogs need to be spanked, like th saying, you want to cry, ill give u something to cry about.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 19, 2012:

If you are a good trainer and know what you are doing you never will find a need to hit your dog. I don't call a person as such a loser; rather an awesome owner with great skills.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 10, 2012:

Great job Chris! I am happy to were able to train your dog this way and have seen brilliant results! you sound like an awesome trainer!

chris on August 10, 2012:

I have a 2really year old alaskan malamute with who i have used nothing but positive reinforcment traning with. He listens, is my best friend and my 5 year old daughter can walk him.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 11, 2012:

By exposing the puppy to your other dog, you are ruining his social skills since he appears to be very afraid. A puppy should be interacting with balanced older dogs that do not cause extreme fear, they should only "correct" the puppy slightly and the puppy should be able to learn and get over it within seconds. Such intense fear may cause social problem behaviors in the future with other dogs which may lead to fear biting. If your puppy is peeing everywhere it needs to be potty trained. Here is a guide:

a real dog owner on July 11, 2012:

My wife just got this little runt of a puppy. It's pisses all over the place, it bites everyone except me. I'll tell that little dog to bring it on. And it miss behaves so, instead of beating the hell out of the thing, I let my German shepard "play" with the other dog. Now she curls in a ball and shakes. I guess my wife was wrong for getting my dog a friend

ninaa555 on May 14, 2012:

I have a 4 year old Belgium Shepherd who is so sensitive to any form of punishment. He chewed my boots when he was a puppy and I gave him a smack on the nose, he hid under my bed for hours. It took me hours afterwards to regain his trust. I've never smacked him again after that.

Believe me my dog is a handful, loves to chase, plays 'over the top' rough with other dogs and on and on..He's brought me to tears with frustration more than once. I do realise though it is in his nature and he is getting better behaved with age and training..

He knows when I'm mad at him just by my voice and body language. I don't know very much about dog training but I know if I kept on hitting him he would be a cowering fearful, dangerous dog.

I feel sorry for dogs, so many people don't have the mental capablitly to raise a dog properly..sad ..They're just stuck with who they get.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 02, 2012:

Sorry to be blunt, but your dogs are put up for failure and you are punishing them unjustly for what is poor management... First of all why are 4 male dogs with a female in heat? this could cause serious fights, and unless you are a reputable breeder (which you do not sound like since you own all these dogs living in the same household)your dogs should be spayed and neutered and not hit for doing what comes natural in such a situation and your female dog should not be annoyed by a male dog humping her! I use positive reinforcement and my dogs are getting titles on Rallyo and canine freestyle, what titles do your dogs have?

Jefferson Faudan on May 02, 2012:

"SOMETIMES" you need to hit a dog really hard at least once or twice in its entire lifetime that it will remember not messing up with you... try having 4 male dogs and one female in heat and putting them in chains separately if it's going to stop anything... even the female dog gets really annoyed being humped every now and then while it's trying to have a sleep or having its meals. even putting a muzzle shield to prevent each of them fighting wouldn't work at all. positive reinforcement works for minor problems like tearing the sheets or whatever...

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 22, 2012:

There are dogs and dogs... no generalizations can be made. While your dogs take your light smacking well (for now) because they have good threshold levels, some weaker dogs will even growl and bite if you just raise your voice. This stems from defensive aggression, the dog is simply growling to defend itself from a perceived threat. If your dog goes to his bed every time you smack him, it means he is afraid of you...there is no changing the facts about this... yes, this fear is temporary and your dog forgives you for this...but why not use better ways? I own two 93 pounds Rottweilers and never had to smack them once. people often claim the breed is stubborn, but they really want to please you and all you need to do is provide gentle guidance. Because I rarely raise my voice, any slight change in tonality and body postures puts them into place. They know leave it, drop it and off and these commands keep them out of trouble. Yes, I am a dog trainer and yes, I always used positive reinforcement as my first choice of action. I can train dogs to behave without ever touching them. I find that many dog owners focus more on telling a dog what not to do, rather than what to do. This puts the dog up to fail. By hitting owners are only conveying "I am dog training illiterate and so will hit you because I do not know any better way to make you obey". In my classes, people who usually hit their dogs started realizing how much they could increase their bond once they gave up smacking and yelling like crazy. The potential for being better trainers is there; it's just up to us to give it a try...

SeLene on April 22, 2012:

I don't think you should ever go to far and hurt or abuse your dog, but honestly i cant fully agree here with not to hit your dog either.

any time my dog has done a Bad Deed, i smack his tush slightly and yell at him, he goes to his bed, and it has not happened again.. my dog listens to me and as result if he did do it again, he would give the guilty face cuz he knows he did something bad, so clearly dogs have good enough memory..

I don't beat my babies and i don't abuse them, but i do believe that Discipline is necessary.

I spoil and love my babies to no end, they run to me every time i come home and they're happy they play and are always excited so i don't understand why this article is saying that a dog will fear you and will "Fear bite" You..

My babies have never Growled at me not even once, and never snapped at me.

I smack them slightly on the butt when ever they do something bad but i do not beat them or abuse them, and i do it right when they perform the act of a bad deed so they know exactly why they got punished. and they don't repeat the mistake so i have to disagree on some level here.

My Best friend has the same views as this article, when her dog does something Bad she gives a stern voice and says "NO." and her dog doesn't listen, he still does the same bad stuff.. he barks all the time, he Snaps at her and growls at her, he wont even let her brush his coat.

so yes i im not agreeing with this article..

i just feel that an owner should not exagerate or go heavy handed when punishing their pet. But i don't think its right to Judge someone for trying a different method that includes hitting their dog for results cuz i don't hit my babies hard and i don't abuse them, i love them very much and they love me, they're not afraid of me they run to me all the time and they even cry when they see im about to leave..

and besides i give them more hugs and treats then i ever had to discipline them so i don't think its so bad depending how you do it..

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 26, 2012:

Julia, thank you for posting this. Hopefully it will help people understand why hitting is never the right way. I own 2 Rottweilers which have a reputation for being "stubborn" and bossy, but all I use with them is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement does not mean permissive it means that you put your dog up for success by rewarding the good.. as opportunistic beings, it is scientifically proven that dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarded whether good or bad!

Julia on February 26, 2012:

I know this is quite an old thread and that the person who posted this particular comment did so a long time ago, but, James, I have spent all of my 22 years around Irish wolfhounds (You know what an Irish wolfhound is, right? It is a very, very large breed of dog. Normally I wouldn't take the time to point that out, but you seem of rather low intellect, as do all of the other posters here claiming it's excusable to abuse an animal) and never have I had to "force one to the ground" and/or "force myself over it".

I'm a very small woman (152 cm., 41 kg.)and I've had no problem obtaining the respect of my very big dogs without using any kind of force. Positive reinforcement is ALWAYS the best way to gain a dog's respect. This doesn't mean praising him and giving him treats for every little thing he does and never correcting him like someone else mentioned. Correcting your dog when he does wrong is very important, but the best way to do it is with a FIRM but KIND attitude.

As a side note, since I saw several people mention this as well, yelling at a dog is never helpful either. It might stop the bad behaviour temporarily, but it won't fix it. It will simply cause your dog to become fearful and aggressive around you.

I am NOT an expert on dog behavior in any way and I would never claim to be. These things are bloody good COMMON SENSE. Poor methods don't reap good results.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 25, 2012:

Marcus, you need to figure out why your dog is doing this. He may be suffering from separation anxiety or you may be putting him up for fail by leaving stuff around to chew on. How old is he? If your dog has separation anxiety he is suffering and chewing is his way to get relief.Punishing will only make things worse. Here are some helpful articles:

Please try to go to the root of the problem. Best wishes and feel free to contact me for help.

Marcus on February 25, 2012:

I hear u guys saying don't hit ur did and I understand why. But, do u understand the frustration coming home and your things are chewed up. its kind of hard to just say no give him the right thing to chew on and say good boy. Answer me this. One comes home and finds distruction. The dog has sence went and chilled out. Just because I didn't catch my dog I cant discipline her.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 05, 2012:

No, she should not have run of the house, this article should help you manage better:

Virginia on February 05, 2012:

We just got a puppy less than a week ago. She the sweetest thing, but our nights are sleepless :-) We have a dome home so we can hear her very well...too well. She refuses to be crated, put in the bathroom, etc...and so we have been letting her run around the house and taking her out several times to relieve herself.

Is there an easier way in this? We can't watch her 24/7 since we have to care for ourselves too, so I decided to put her in a puppy pen and I'm going to leave her there all througout the day, with us taking her out in small times to relieve herself outside or to hang out with us on the floor to play with toys.....but she will be spending her puppy times in the pen, in the living room.....any other suggestions? I would appreciate it very much. I thinkletting her have run of the house to begin with was not a good idea.


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 21, 2012:

I am sorry I got a bit late to this, did not mean to ignore your post. I am not offended, nor feel attacked from you, or any other person posting here. I am here just to help dog owners and their dogs;) I could really write a book about why physical punishment does not work in dogs. To answer your question ''what to do if verbal negativity does not work?'' I would answer that a lot of problems can be avoided through proper management, especially when it comes to a dog that has house training issues. Here is a hub about this:

A new dog that has just been rescued may take some time to become perfectly potty-trained (one of my fosters took 3 months before she was completely reliable) here is a guide on potty training. It is for puppies, but a lot can apply to older dogs:

Finally, since she is one year old (is she fixed?) it could be she is marking versus urinating, if urine is the main problem, you can read about it here:

And now, why saying no too much may be counter productive:

Best wishes! And try to train positively to better bond with this new rescue, kind regards!

Wow2 on January 20, 2012:

I just left a comment and..

after reading all of the comments now, I can certainly say that I respect your stance alexadry. I can't say that I agree with you on every issue brought about but I appreciate that you take time to read and answer peoples comments. I also really enjoyed the comments left by the hybrid owner and your response to the initial comment. I did not mean to attack you in any way but I do feel that more clarification on your methods would avoid a lot of the unfounded assaults posted throughout the replies.

I have no degree and no plans for obtaining a degree so i can freely study what I wish. I've covered a lot of information but I'm no specialist in any field and I've barely researched domestic canine behavior. So I'm sure you know more than I do and so I'd like to know what you do when dogs don't respond to verbal negativity? Also... my new dog doesn't like treats. She spits out pretty much anything you hand feed her (maybe with time that will change). Strangely, besides relieving herself indoors occasionally, she is extremely well behaved. She's right around 1 year old and she's learning verbal commands very quickly. She has never shown fear or aggression towards anyone since I've been taking care of her (and like I said before I have ABSOLUTELY no knowledge of her past life... I can only assume how she lived based on her personality).

Wow on January 20, 2012:

I read a good amount of these comments and I'd say the first 2/3 of them were completely biased in one way or the other to the degree that the authors appear very narrow minded. There is a HUGE difference between physical abuse and a physical reprimand. But what the hell does body language have to do with training? Do you tower over your dog or raise an eyebrow? Using body language makes no sense unless there is a learned association with that specific body language... and neither does positive reinforcement make any sense directly after a dog makes a mistake... that's just stupid... giving your dog a treat instead of it eating poison?... what if you're not around to say "leave it"? Dogs, like other living creatures, need to learn what is safe and what is not... and if you own a dog, you are that dogs teacher (unless you pass that responsibility on to another ofcourse) and you must teach your student right from wrong both for safety and for etiquette.

Now I don't advocate physical punishment (just like the author of this page who claims to have used spike collars). But, I just found an 11 pound dog and decided to adopt her since the owners didn't want her. I have absolutely no knowledge of the past history of this dog (never spoke to the original owners directly) but she was clearly never potty trained and I doubt she was ever reprimanded. In the two weeks I've had her she has gotten incredibly good at not relieving herself indoors and I do believe it has a lot to do with all the praise she gets for doing her business outside. However she still makes mistakes inside every other day or so. Sometimes words just don't work... she doesn't understand the word no and she doesn't understand harsh voices. No matter how loud or deep or threatening a voice you use to correct her, she does not get it. She just wags her tail happy as can be. I've had other dogs and this is not an "I'm sorry let's be friends again" wag. This is a "I'll take any attention I can get" wag. And she absolutely gets her full share of attention. I'm not about to hit or beat her but I will certainly grab her scruff or lightly hit her butt to let her know that I'm not happy and that my angry voice means I'm unhappy. Maybe I'm narrow minded and wrong, but I don't think that she would ever understand the word no and the angry voice without some form of physical reaction to link the two.

P.s. How do wolves gain the alpha position? I've been studying different types of animals for over 20 years and I don't believe for a second that pack leaders never had to tussle to gain their position. That goes for wolves, elephants, lions, anything with a leader. The leader must be both caring and strong. Too much of either and they will be demoted or forced to leave the group.- Joel

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 19, 2012:

Amanda, you are very welcome! Since you mention she is chewing on shoes when under the bed, I am wondering if she may be resource guarding them, if so, here is a helpful hub:

amanda on January 19, 2012:

thanks for the feedback i just am going to try to keep my daughters room closed so this doesn't happen anymore. she is usually chewiing on shoes under my kids bed

Chris on January 19, 2012:

Wow, all I can say is wow! I have fostered dogs since 2008 and hitting them is the last thing that would come to my mind. These are dogs that were neglected, mistreated and surrendered and all they need is a bad foster mom like that! I am no trainer but common sense! These dogs need trust, love and lots of care and positive training methods and encouragement is what they really need to come out of their shell. I can't see how a shelter dog could benefit from harsh training methods. I hope the shelter finds out this foster mom mistreats them and bans her from fostering. Alexadry keep up the good work!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 19, 2012:

Sorry, but not only you have NO qualifications but worse, you have no desire to educate yourself on the latest scientifically based training methods. I have fostered many dogs as well, many on death row for serious behavioral issues and I have done that ALL with positive reinforcement. If you know how to train, you can do it without resorting to physical corrections. Your ZERO qualifications and rude way to approach, gives me a good amount of ideas of what type of person you are. I feel for the dogs you are fostering. I hope a better trainer comes along that resorts to better training methods or that you educate yourself on how to better approach dogs. And who told you I give treats all time? Positive does not mean permissive, I can train a dog effectively using EXCLUSIVELY life rewards.. too bad you are lacking knowledge and are not skilled enough to do so.

newage bullshit on January 19, 2012:

Not hitting your dogs is like the all the new-age bullshit where every kid in the classroom has to win a prize for something.

If you have a difficult dog, you need discipline to correct it not treats all the time.

Sorry but all your qualifications mean shit. Would like to see you adopt and foster strays like me that were all due to be put down soon. I rather hit them and make them obedient and see them live rather than be termed unmanageable and be culled in the shelters.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 18, 2012:

The alpha theory is all a myth hard to debunk. Here is a great read:

Your dog is going under the bed because she is very likely fearful and defensive. the bed has become a place to go when she is afraid. By attempting to getting her out she has no place to further escape and therefore she goes into fight mode. She may going there if the kids are too hyper or if she knows you have to do something unpleasant like trim her nails or give a bath. Don't force her out, rather lure her with a treat or toy if need be, you really need to address what is causing her to become fearful and go under the bed. More details of why she heads under the bed will be helpful to better assess the situation, best wishes!

amanda on January 18, 2012:

hi i was wondering for all the trainers out there, i have a question. i didn't honestly know it was wrong to spank. my parents did with all our dogs and i didn't know, so my question is i have spanked my dog, thinkin i was being ALPHA to her, and not knowing any better she has slowly gotten more aggressive. its when she goes under my daughters bed. she is great any other time and i never have any problems with her unless she goes under my kids bed then she is growling and snapping. PLEASE HELP ME! i love my baby she is a good dog and don't want her to be aggressive. please let me know what i can do i love my dog and want her to be good and not aggressive.

kita on January 10, 2012:

hey i have also got a staffy that has a bald patch on his head it is not red or irratating him but i just wondered wot could b the cause of it x

kita on January 05, 2012:

thanks alot ive looked on that defo gunna try it hopefully it works

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 04, 2012:

Jack, puppies are fortunately very forgiving,but you will need to train your puppy to trust you again. No more hitting, and if he tends to cower upon touching him, let him trust your hands again by giving a treat every time you make contact.

Kita,here is a helpful hub, both my Rotts started keeping it a bit longer after 6 months

kita on January 03, 2012:

hey i ave a 5 month old rotwieler he as learnt to mess outside and not do it throught the night but the problem i have is he always messes in my house threw the day yet i always et him out and ideas ??

jack on January 02, 2012:

i used to hit my puppy alot bu i stop doing it so will my dog ever get over it?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 20, 2011:

Jim, it is also worth mentioning that puppies also urinate out of submission, so if he is peeing when you are angry this will likely continue and create a vicious cycle, here is a link about this:

Jim on December 19, 2011:

Hey, thanks a lot for your reply. It appears the next morning he is back to being his normal stuff and it wasn't as worse as I feared. Still, It was a wake-up call and I don't ever want to see him be like that for any more of an extended period of time.

I suppose it's frustrating because I know how smart he is. He knows a lot for his age in my opinion and it's impressive. I figured the scruff grab wasn't harmful since it wasn't being done hard enough to harm and it did stop his biting within like 2 days when it used to be a constant occurrence. That one bite from grabbing his collar was probably out of fear like you were saying cause he thought I was going to spank him again being that it just had happened a few minutes prior.

Either way, I'll read through the links you posted and attempt a different approach. It just sucks when you feel you've come so far only to seeminly pushed back to square 1. Although, today he seems to be behaving again, but its worth nothing that he did pee again last night even after hitting him so apparently as scared as he was at the time, it wasn't enough to keep him from doing it again... Ahhhhhh. Yet today he wants to play by the rules for some reason. I'm telling you, he does know what's going on. It's either to be lazy or to continually test boundries or something. He seems to do better when I take the house back and restrict his area. I gradually give the privledgs back as he does well going outside, but it seems once he gets to earning back the living room within a day of that is when he'll pee on the floor. Perhaps I'm not denying him the space for a long enough time. Eh, I digress.

Again, thanks for the links and I'll be reading them for sure!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 19, 2011:

Jim, as a positive reinforcement dog trainer, I can say that most owners who spank/hit/grab scruffs, do so because they were not taught otherwise. They are often desperate to solve their dog's behavioral problems but just don't know the way. Being physical therefore becomes the easiest way out, it is fast, it make people feel better, but it scares the heck out of dogs and especially puppies. It does not matter whether what is done hurts or not, it does scare and may lead to worse problems than before.

What you are seeing is defensive aggression, your puppy is scared of you and its environment. Your puppy sees you as unpredictable, and is trying to protect itself, this makes him stressed and in a high state of alertness. He does not want to walk in the hallway, because very likely he has associated that place with punishment.

Grabbing by the collar is a big no-no and you will now have to work on undoing the damage. From now on, you need to make touching his collar pleasant, otherwise he will get defensive every time you need to snap the leash on. Start by quickly tapping his collar and giving him immediately a treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until every time you touch the collar he looks for his treat. Then hold on to the collar and deliver a small pile of treats in front of him and hold on to the collar while he eats, once done eating release. This is teaching him that good things start when you touch the collar and good things end when you release him. Practice, practice practice.

Make a trail of treats in the hallway he can follow and you must feed him lure him to pass the hallway before giving him his bowl. No more spanking, grabbing collars, shaking scruff, these are outdated methods. Luckily, puppies can recover but you need to make a drastic change in your training methods to help him out and trust you again.

I will give you some links on how to solve the biting and help with potty training, these are all positive methods where there is no need to be physical.

Best wishes!

Jim on December 19, 2011:

Listen, I grew up seeing my parents use "the old method" and I told myself I would only be as harsh as necessary and as nice as possible. I've been trying possitive reenforcement because spanking made me feel terrible. I love my new dog so much, it kills me to think he hates me for it.

I've gotten him to the point where he's had no accidents for a week, then for whatever reason when I'm taking him out and the leash is on and we're going to the door, he just pees right in front of me. He knows he's not supposed to do it, I have disciplined him for it in the past, (we've gone accident free before only to have him relapse for some reason and its like starting all over) and rewarded him excessively for doing it outside and he seems happy to please. But eventually, he just seems like he wants to be lazy about it and try to see how much he can get away with. Well, tonight this happened after a great week together. (He's a just over 3 month year old Siberian Husky).

Well, after watching with pride and satisfaction how well he was doing compared to other horror stories I've heard of with owners of the breed, he pissed right in front of me while I was opening the door. I'll admit, I was very upset and dissapointed and thought "we were past this." I had gloves on and spanked him on the butt multiple times and he yelped and I stared him in the face and yelled NO! very loud.

Well, I mush on taking him outside to re-set the example that that's where he goes and he pranced happily down the hall like usual and outside and went on the grass, then turned to me like usual to see that he has pleased me and get his treat. Well, after that something went differently. He didn't want to go back inside and I had to coax him to walk back with me. When we got inside and past one door in the apt hallway, he sat and wouldn't walk further the 3 doors down to the condo. So, I thought maybe I'd walk ahead without him (being it's enclosed) and see if he'd follow rather than force him. At this point I was feeling terrible for hitting him. I went inside and waited a few minutes and nothing. I then peeked around the corner and saw him sitting at the other end of the hall still. I called him a bunch and he started to come one of the times, then turned and went back after he got close to me. I ended up having to go down and put myself between him and the door and start pushing him up the hall to my door. He kept trying to dart around me or under my legs but I kept blocking him. Once in front of the door he refused to go in so I grabbed his collar to pull him in. (He tends to scream when you do this even though it doesn't hurt nor is it meant to) Well this time he screamed and bared his teeth and tried to bite my hand. (recently trained him to stop biting this week too so he knows not to do it) I was shocked at this being I wasn't hurting him that he'd do that so I wacked him on the ass for biting me yelling "NO BITE!" He yelpted on the way inside and went under the kitchen chair. There he stays and doesn't want to come when called now. It's heartbreaking. He'll let me pet him and pick him up and put him on my lap while on the floor like I do sometimes and pet him and hold him without showing signs of being afraid, and he seems to like it. But he's definitely keeping to himself unlike before. I'm worried I've scarred him emotionally for life or something and am terrified to be honest. We were doing so well and everything was going so good. During Vet visits they commented on how great a job I was doing and how he wasn't a "problem husky" like a lot of the ones they see going in there. They just said the biting was the last real behavioral issie I had to work out (wich I had accomplished this week by grabbing the scruff and saying "no bite" with a light shake). The shake also is never violent or painful to him, but gets the point across. Sure enough, after a few of those grabs he stopped and now only occasionaly tests by putting his teeth lightly on your hand, but when you say NO he immediately takes them off. So, I'm rambling but it's cause I feel terrible due to all the progress we've made and we spent so much time this week bonding and it was all going great. Now I'm just terrified he'll hate me and I can't bare the thought. I'm quite attached to him at this point and was only trying to do what was in both our best interests looking long term but this was unexpected.

If you could tell me anything that may help I'm willing to listen. I'm googling the hell out of this right now trying to figure out if any damage was done. (It only happened a few hours ago) Thank for any help you can share.

amy on December 12, 2011:

Bob.. i know you posted that 2 years ago and I am just now seeing this feed, but you are disgusting!! What kind of human being would ever say something like that! you're obviously an IDIOT!! I have a dog, yes he doesn't listen sometimes and everyone we knew would tell us to hit him, the first time we ever did I felt horrible after, he looked so scared and upset and when we tried to pet him he pulled back because he probably thought we were going to hit him again. We have not done it since. He listens when we say no, hes only 10 months so he still acts crazy sometimes. I will admit we don't ignore him when he does something wrong, we say no or down when he jumps. I haven't read all of the responses on this, I just got to Bob's and was disgusted! that's admitting to wanting to kill the dog, just wrong!! Also, why would you want the dog to fear you, my dog listens to me more then he listens to my husband and my husband yells at him more then I do. He follows me around the house and sits at my feet and listens when i tell him not too and I don't hit him.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 07, 2011:

Heidi, I am the author of this hub, and as a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer I can attest that the alpha dog myth is hard to get over with. Dogs are not behaving out as dominance as thought years ago. Please educate yourself on the most up-to-date studies on wolves. Read David Mech's studies, here is a helpful hub I made a while back:

If you want to further check facts this is an up-do-date read on the hard to die alpha dog myth.

Heidi Lowe on December 07, 2011:

This is so lame. Dogs have to have a reason not to do something. If my dog is jumping on the glass door in my backyard scratching it and I just "ignore" the behavior he's going to keep doing it. If he does it and then I give him a little spanking he won't do it anymore. Positive reinforcement only goes so far. And to the person who said alpha dogs don't show aggression, wow are you kidding me? The alpha wolf everyday shows aggression to his pack members. This establishes dominance among the members, if one doesn't lay down to his advances they die. I'm not saying beat your dog but a spanking here and there isn't hurting anything. I have 2 German Rotts and they have been spanked plenty of times. They also sleep in the bed with me. Best dogs ever. Check the facts before you write something.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 28, 2011:

I am really annoyed by those who whoop their dogs and do not even take the time to train their dogs alternative behaviors. Good trainers can use only their tone of voice to prevent a dog from getting into trouble. Say my ham and cheese sandwich fell on the floor? All I need to say is ''leave it!'' and my dogs will leave it there. No need to whoop whatsoever...

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 20, 2011:

Fact: if your dog fears you, your dog will learn to not behave bad when around you, but the moment you turn around, the dog will revert back to the bad behavior. Hitting teaches nothing, it just shows the dog you are bully that has no other way to train. Fact: David Mech's studies show that the real leaders in a wolf pack are benevolent leaders the ''alpha pair'' which rarely use aggression as other studies in captivity suggested. Fact: as a CPDT-KA, I train dogs using using positive reinforcement and it WORKS and it is scientifically proven. I have dogs that went out to compete using only kind training methods. FACT: I have two Rottweilers and they are the best behaved dogs and I can stop them in their tracks if need be, just by using my voice.

Fact: real trainers are capable of using the kindest training methods because they know what they are doing. If you find yourself having to resort to hitting it just means that you lack good training skills (anybody can train a dog by hitting it and scaring the crap out of it)and not have the patience to try alternate methods which take longer but bring more reliable results. Fact: positive reinforcement does NOT make your dog equal to you, if you can and know how to control your dog's resources, your dog will see you as a leader. And last but not least, let's debunk this common myth FACT: you do not ALWAYS reward with treats, the treats are weaned off as the dog learns the behavior and learns to respond to simple praise.

John Reese on November 20, 2011:

Dogs can and should be hit for wrongful behavour! Use a newspaper and give the dog a good smack for bad behavour. Always rewarding a dog with treats is just stupid and you will never have control of the dog fully. A dog can snap at any time and when you raised it on damn treats for good behavour and ignore bad then you will have zero power to stop your dog if he one day attacks someone for no reason as dogs do and can as they are just animals. But if he fears your reaction and the sound of a forceful voice he will stop dead in his tracks. FACT. They are animal and are completely reliant on animal instincts. Behavior modification needs a negative reaction to bad behavior!! Never let your animal be equal to you. Its a dog. End of!!

Knowbetter on November 14, 2011:

If you know better, you can do better. If you don't know any better, you just do the only thing you know to do. Invest some time in yourself. Get educated on Man's best friend, the dog. I grew up always hearing the term "breaking" colts. I learned from a wonderful cowboy how to gently get a horse to do pretty much anything you wanted without using any force or trauma. If you can do it the easier way, why would you want to go through all of the drama to do it the old way which takes much longer and is far more dangerous. Dogs are the very same way. Just a different set of skills we try to teach them.

great response on November 12, 2011:

I am the one who posted about the hybrid. I was impressed by your response. You seem to have more knowledge and a more pragmatic philosophy then the "dog experts" I have dealt with.

That said, I have a great relationship and bond with my dog. I have not hit him in over 5 years because it has not been necessary. The most I ever have to do now is change the tone of my voice. My dog is always very happy to see me and approaches me all the time to hang out or be petted without being called. He knows he has no reason to fear me if he does not do anything wrong, and I don't think that he considers me unpredictable. I also make eye contact with him, even though some say this is a bad idea, and I think we have great communication.

I believe that both of our approaches have drawbacks. Hitting can cause real problems if done incorrectly. However the flip side is that many dog owners don't have the "knowledge, will and patience" to use your method. You would probably respond that these people should not own difficult breeds. That is probably true, but in the real world many of these people do own difficult breeds. People have demanding jobs and busy lives. The lack of time and patience often leads to dogs being given up and put down. I believe that some hitting when young is the lesser of these two evils.

I am familiar with modern research on wild packs and alpha pairs. The pups generally get a free pass because wolves don't have to deal with issues like urinating on carpets or destroyed furniture. However, other pack member (the alpha pair or other pack members who act as caregivers for the alpha pair's pups) will snap (meaning a quick bite not meant to cause any real damage) at pups or adolescents that get out of line. Generally they give the pups more leeway and are a little harsher on the adolescents. To me this is kind of analogous to the type of hitting I am talking about.

An alpha is firm and confident, but not a tyrant like some of the old captivity studies may suggest. Animals in captivity generally have much higher stress levels which adversely effects the entire pack. It seems to me that rough play between adolescents can cause more physical pain then a little hitting.

In a perfect world your method is probably more desirable. In the real world I think my method (if done correctly) is fine and can prevent some dogs from being put down by owner who do not have the time or patience for yours. I have a demanding job and a busy life, but I am happy that my hybrid is a part of it. I probably would not have the time for you method (to be fair I am not familiar enough with you method to be sure of this), but I still want my dog. Some may think this makes me a bad person who is selfish and a bad dog owner, but I disagree.

My point is that your method is likely preferable in most cases, but mine can be fine if done correctly under the right circumstances. I understand that your goal is to stop dog abuse, which I believe is a noble one. However, I believe that the blanket statement "hitting dogs is unacceptable" is overreaching. I am sure you are a great dog trainer and an animal lover. My intention is not to dismiss your method, just to offer my opinion based on my experience.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 11, 2011:

I wanted to point out and precise that hitting a dog is not negative reinforcement, rather it is positive punishment.This is a common mistake dog owners make. The differences between the two are enormous. I agree that the ''dog experts'' who told you to put the dog down or chain him up are morons. Wolf hybrids are challenging dogs to train and are not for the inexperienced. The most experienced trainers with knowledge in this breed can effectively train them with positive reinforcement. I recommend all owners of wolf hybrids to read Nicole Wilde's books. I have noticed that people who hit dogs generally do not have the patience or will to try other methods which may take longer but increase the bond. My Rottweilers are trained with +reinforcement and I can not only take away meat out of their mouths but also have them spit it out on command. You do not need harsh methods to have a well trained dog no matter the breed, you just need the knowledge, will and patience to endure kinder methods. Once I show people that have hit their dogs for years these kinder and more effective methods, it is as if a whole new language and communication means has opened and they are grateful their dogs now no longer fear them or sense them as ''unpredictable beings''. In nature wolves have been discovered to be benevolent leaders, no longer ''alphas'' as studies in captivity suggested. I recommend reading David Mech's studies on wolves that clearly notes that leaders are not as previously thought. The leaders of the pack are the ''alpha pair'' simply parents who raise their pups. They do not ''alpha roll'' and exert ''dominance'' any chance they have as previously thought. Real pack leaders simply control resources, and as owners we can successfully accomplish this using the ''no free lunch'' training method.

Yes, hitting a dog may be effective in a way that the dog stops behaving because it is fearful of the consequences, but this is an old fashioned way to train that has been buried by the many + reinforcement trainers out there today. I am one of them (CPDT-KA) and these are the latest, scientifically proven methods that are taught in the most qualified dog training schools.

Why Hitting a dog is acceptable on November 11, 2011:

To the person that said killing a dog is murder: Please show me the applicable statute. Good luck finding it because it does not exist. It is illegal (and I am not advocating it), but it is not murder because the law and society treat humans and animals differently for a reason.

Animals can sense fear, confidence, and dominance. This is what really matters. People who are weak, insecure or too emotional will not get good results from hitting a dog. I have a hybrid that is part siberian husky, coyote, and grey wolf. I hit him for a while when he was younger, but I have not had to lay a hand on him in years because I have gotten him to the point where his behavior is flawless. He is very loyal and always extremely happy to see me.

Most "dog experts" would simply suggest that he should not exist and should be put down immediately because he can never be like a normal dog. Alternatively they would suggest that he be treated like a wild animal and kept in a chain link enclosure basically 24/7. This is because hybrids are very difficult to socialize correctly, and PC training techniques are ineffective. They will not come to you, they will always run away, they will not obey commands and they will destroy everything and kill other animals. My dog no longer exhibits any of this behavior thanks to earlier intervention with negative reinforcement (ie hitting). In terms of positive reinforcement, I only use verbal and have never relied on treats. If he does something really impressive I might throw him a whole chicken, or something; but a dog should not need to expect a treat to behave properly. He can come in and out of the house as he pleases and does whatever I tell him. He is very happy.

I have seen people spend thousands on training only to put a dog down because he could not be properly socialized. A strong alpha with a firm hand is all that is necessary. A strong alpha only hits when required and does not let emotion dictate how they treat the animal.

My dog stayed with my mom for a week a couple years ago and his behavior was very telling. She had a great time with him, but he clearly dominated her. He would bark right in her face to demand food, and she would give it to him. He chased a rabbit into her bedroom and tore it to shreds right in front of her on her carpet. He even pissed in the house even though he has been house broken for years. He was just showing his dominance. Obviously he would never do these things with me around. I can even take meat out of his mouth and he will not act at all aggressive (this is a big no no according to "dog experts") If someone like my mom or a "dog expert" had tried to socialize him he would have been put down a long time ago. Whoever put him down would justify it by saying it was the best thing for him. I think hitting him when he was young in order to properly socialize him was the better alternative.

I know this post will be disregarded because he is a hybrid, but in my experience this also applies to certain "difficult" breeds. Many people will not use the hitting technique properly, and the results will be poor. This is why it is easier for people to say hitting dogs is unacceptable. To say that hitting a dog (if done properly) is not effective is just plain wrong. In some cases it is necessary. There is a difference between hitting a dog and abusing a dog. The dog understands this difference and it is all about the owners personality, demeanor, emotional state, and actions.