How To Discipline A Dog Without Hitting?

Dogs are the cutest, the most adorable companion one can have. As part of the family, we often treat them as one of the kids we love very much.

However, being a pet parent is not at all that easy, especially if our furry friend starts misbehaving. Finding your favorite shoes chewed out on the terrace is never fun.

Catching your dog peeing in the living room would cause your temper to rise. How do we correct these behaviors then? Some might think of hitting, spanking, or beating the dog to punish them and correct their behavior. However, these physical methods cause physical pain in dogs, which can severely taint and damage your relationship with your pet.

It can cause anxiety in dogs and may even result in more undesirable behaviors from them. More than anything, hitting your dog will cause more harm than good. What other methods are available then?

This article will help you with the dilemma of how to discipline a dog without hitting.

Why is it important to discipline dogs?

Dogs bite, chew, misbehave, and cause chaos at home all the time. Without discipline, your dog will not know what he should do and not do. This would ultimately cause a mess in your home and a lot of stress on you as an owner.

Disciplining dogs is part of your responsibility as well as a pet parent.

If you do not discipline your dogs, your dog will think it is okay to do his business inside the house, to chew on the shoes he finds lying around the house, and to make a mess in the living room. Nobody would want that. It would be best if you corrected their behavior before it gets out of hand.

Discipline A Dog Without Hitting

Does beating or hitting a dog work?

Hitting and beating your dog every time he does something wrong might work to correct behaviors mostly out of fear of the punishment’s pain. But this is not the most effective way to discipline your dog. There are a lot of more humane methods that yield positive results without causing any physical harm to your beloved dog.

While it is true that hitting a dog might just work, it causes a lot of negative feelings to your dog that make it bad. It will degrade your dog’s behavior in the long run rather than improve it. As your dog gets habituated to the pain, they may stop listening to you and might even get aggressive.

What are the effects of hitting a dog as a form of punishment?

When you decide to discipline your dog by hitting them, you might want to think again as this can damage your relationship with them. This may result ultimately in behavioral issues such as insecurity and fear, instinct to hide from you, and aggression towards you.

Your beloved pup might end up fearing you more than anything. They will form this image of you and associate you with something that results in pain. You would not like it when your dog starts to hide the moment that they see you.

You are supposedly someone your dog can trust the most. Do not ruin that by hitting them every time they did wrong. Some dogs even become more aggressive if you keep on hitting them.

The same way humans are, their instinct would tell them to defend themselves, which would translate to aggression on their part.

Why is this so? Because dogs find it hard to understand immediately why you are angry and hitting them. If you continue this every time they do something bad, it would still not yield a positive result. You have to make your dog understand why what they did was wrong, and You could do this without using any force.

How to discipline a dog without hitting?

As pet parents, you might feel bad about hitting your dog, as one should be. But you don’t want them to continue with those bad behaviors as well. Hitting is not your only choice.

Other forms of punishment do no physical harm to dogs, such as time-outs, taking their toys away, and refusing to give them attention after they misbehave.


Giving your dogs time-outs is much better than hitting them. When your dog does something bad, you can just put them in a room without any toys to play with and avoid giving them attention for a while.

Your dog loves your attention, and when they’re on time out, you are basically taking away things that they love. Your dog then will start making a connection between their misbehavior and the punishment that they are in. Over time, this would instill in your pet’s mind that they should avoid doing that thing again.


Another effective method to discipline your dog is redirecting their behavior. Instead of hitting them, it is better if you teach your dog a better alternative.

For example, if you catch your dog chewing on your slippers, instead of hitting them, give them a proper toy to chew in on instead. This is a way of redirecting your dog’s behavior to what is okay to do.

You cannot just expect your dog to stop chewing on things when it is normally what dogs love to do. Express your disappointment to your dog about your chewed slippers but do not hit them. Instead, let them have something they can chew on.

Gradually, your dog will turn most of its attention to that toy instead of all the other chewable things they can find in your house.

Positive Reinforcements

How to discipline a dog without hitting

Point out your dogs’ misbehavior and discipline them, but you should also praise their good behavior. This is what experts call positive reinforcement. For example, you are teaching your dog to do their business outside, and they were finally able to do it, praise your dog for such a feat to reinforce this behavior.

Dogs want nothing more but to please their owners. Praises and loving gestures from you mean a lot to your dog. When they see that you are happy at them doing something, they will certainly repeat that behavior just to please you.

Why positive disciplining methods work better than physical punishment?

All the disciplining method mentioned about does not inflict physical pain to dogs, but they were all proven effective and yielded positive results. Because while punishment does not offer any reward to dogs but only pain, the positive training methods have. Between pain and reward, I think it is a pretty obvious choice for dogs.

Punishment does not even guarantee the best results. Sometimes it even leads to more serious problems such as enforcing fear, anxiety, and aggression on your dog. Unlike in positive reinforcements, dogs actually have something to look forward to – treats and your love.

Why is timing important in disciplining a dog?

It would help if you were mindful of the timing when you discipline your dog. Timing is critical to make your dog understand and make the connection between his act and the punishment itself. That is why it is best to immediately give out the punishment right after you caught your dog misbehaving and doing something he should not have.

For example, when you go home and found a whole lot of mess in the living room because of your dog if you get angry at them and punish them then and there, your dog will have a hard time understanding why you are angry at them.

It might be that the whole mess happened several hours ago already. It is hard for your furry friend to make the connection. It would just confuse your dog as to why you are angry at him when you just got home.

But if you caught your dog in the act of doing something and immediately punishing them after, that way is more effective. Your dog will know what he did and why he is being disciplined for it.

Final Thoughts

As pet parents, we want our beloved dogs to be well-behaved. It would take them some time to learn, but it is our responsibility to discipline them when they misbehave. But disciplining them should not be coupled with hitting them.

We already gave you the methods you can use on how to discipline a dog without hitting. Rewards work much better than painful physical punishment.

Make sure to correct your dog’s behavior in a way your dog would understand that what he did was bad. Your dog loves you to bits and pieces, and if you use violence in disciplining them, that will mar your relationship. Do not be someone your dog fears.

You are their best friend in this world. Be patient and kind even when you are disciplining them.

It will take some time for them to understand what you are trying to teach them but be patient and loving. Your dog is growing and learning.

Rita Wagener
Rita is a resident paw expert at Pet Keepers. A registered & licensed dog trainer, she also has a degree in animal nutrition, and runs her own dog training course.

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