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  • Sally Gutteridge

Punishment and Suppression - The Effect on the Dog





One (of the many) issues with punishment is that it can cause suppression through fear. 


For example, if I were to punish a dog every time she pulled on a lead, by checking her. I wouldn’t be showing her what I would like her to do instead, I would just be hurting and scaring her. Eventually the dog may stop pulling but more because she is depressed, than because she has learned that’s what I would prefer she does. 


Suppression is not only unfair but it can be dangerous. For example, if you were in a friendship with someone and they told you to be quiet every time you attempted to speak about your needs, you may stop trying. It doesn’t mean that your needs are no longer present. In fact, because they have pushed them deep inside you they might be all you think about.  


When our needs are not met, even our biology becomes obsessed with them, we can think of nothing else. Eventually we may get physically ill based on all the inner turmoil, or we might reach the end of our tether and bop that particular friend on the nose. 


We have the power to walk away from people who make us suppress our feelings, yet dogs can’t walk away. They will either get ill and depressed, highly anxious or do their only other choice – start to threaten us that enough is enough. Unfortunately then the people who like to punish dogs, tend to up their game, until they achieve their own aim. Until the dog shuts down emotionally and physically. 


Bullies use punishment, whilst true dog people use science and kindness, because there is literally nothing you can teach with physical force that you can't teach with your brain.


Which begs the question - do habitual punishers have a brain at all?


(Sorry not sorry - couldn't resist that last line) 



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©2020 by Sally Gutteridge.