Was I too harsh

(6 Posts)
Snooks1977 Tue 19-Feb-19 10:11:32

I've just become the new owner of a lovely puppy, she's great is every way, apart from the biting. She bit my ds last night, quite hard and he thumped her and made her yelp. I was really quite hard on my son for hitting the puppy ... but now feel guilty that it wasn't the right thing to do ... any advice??

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Tue 19-Feb-19 10:34:59

Which bit was too harsh? You having a go at your son or him thumping the puppy?

Both, imo. And here is why:

Every single mammalian animal learns better, more effectively, quicker and more safely through the process of rewards than through the punishments. The puppy will learn much better being rewarded for doing the right things than thumped for the doing the wrong.

Punishment-based training (such as thumping the pup) risks:
- damaging the relationship between dog and human
- the dog becoming aggressive
- the dog linked the thump with the incorrect trigger (e.g. thinking it is your son's presence that triggers the thump, not biting) and so can cause dangerous reactions to the wrong things
- is slower than reward-based
- is ethically wrong

If all that is true for dogs (it is) then it must also be true for humans. Your son will also learn best when rewarded for doing the right things. Perhaps getting him involved in puppy training or showing him how to teach the puppy tricks etc will give him a sense of pride that he is good with the dog and thus reduce the frustration that leads to thumping.

Regardless, you need to maintain active control and observation over their interactions because your DS clearly is not behaving appropriately around the puppy and risks damaging the dog's development of good, safe behaviours.

(None of that means I also wouldn't have been bloody furious to see any child thumping a pup).

sillysmiles Tue 19-Feb-19 13:56:36

No the right thing to do would have been to thump ds for hurting the pup. What age is he? And how long have you had the pup?

Honeyroar Tue 19-Feb-19 14:01:03

I’d have been livid at him thumping a small, baby, animal. I think you were right being hard on him.

Aprilshowersarecomingsoon Tue 19-Feb-19 14:02:06

A squeaky OW is enough to the dpuppy
No tech for ds is also suitable.

longearedbat Tue 19-Feb-19 14:08:06

How old is your son? If he's very small it would be a natural reaction on his part. Doesn't make it right but it's understandable. But then if he is very young he shouldn't be playing with a bitey puppy unsupervised. If he is older then of course it is wrong. All puppies bite and it hurts. There is never any excuse for hitting a puppy - or adult dog come to that.

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