There is a very commonly used phrase that most of us have heard and many have used, which goes as follows: “You have to be cruel to be kind“. Others among us will look at that phrase, or hear it said, and point out the inherent flaw in it. You do not have to be cruel to be kind. You have to be cruel to be cruel, and kind to be kind. In actual fact, cruelty and kindness are very rarely mutually applicable. Getting that straight will sort out a lot of problems, in life and in dog training.
Now, certainly, there are times when you will need to be stern with your dog. Sometimes it will exhibit behaviors that you would really rather it did not. Some owners will tend towards the cruel side of things when punishing these behaviors, often punishing their dog with a physical blow. It should be recognized that punishing a dog consistently with physical reprimands will lead simply to either a hostile dog who will lash out without warning, or a lifeless dog which is scared to do anything for fear of reprisal.
There will be times when you need to reprimand your dog physically. A quick tap can often suffice when it is behaving in a threatening manner without good reason. Restraining it by the collar when it goes to attack a person or another animal is fine. But by beating your dog, all you are doing is removing the essential element of all pet-owner relationships – friendship.