Before now, dog owners thought that hitting a dog until they became afraid of them as an alpha was the best way to discipline your dog. They called this the alpha bond, and they believed that the bond would make the dog respect its owner, avoid misbehavior, and do the best at all times.

Many owners also make the mistake of thinking that the best reaction when their dog does something wrong or something that gets them offended is to beat their dog to instill respect and fear into him. 

If you have been hitting your dog, you have been so very wrong. You have also been abusive towards your dog, and you are probably raising a dog who has negative feelings towards you because of your harsh treatment.

Have you ever thought for a second about how your dog feels when you hit him? Prepare for an eye-opener in successive paragraphs.

How does a dog feel when it gets hit by you?

The first thing your dog feels when you beat your dog for the first time is surprise and shock, followed by the pain from the actual assault, and then the fear of you who hit him. A combination of this pain and fear leads to high stress levels.  

I Lost My Temper And Hit My Dog

After a few times, your pet might know when to expect your attacks and attempt to escape them. Otherwise, it could resign itself to the situation, and sit through your assault or get withdrawn. 

In most cases, your pet is unable to make the mental connection between its offence and your beating, especially as it concerns the reason you hit him. At most, it’ll simply remember that it did something wrong and was hit in response. 

So, over time, you’ll find that your dog’s behaviour isn’t improving; instead, it will suffer a downward spiral and could even begin to see violence as the right reaction to your assault, which would be a move in self-defence.

When you train and correct your dog with violence every time it did something wrong, your pet will begin to see you as an enemy, and even begin to turn towards violence on its part as a means of survival.

If care isn’t taken, your dog might begin to attack you. When it expects that you will be violent, its survival instinct could step in and it would attack you violently. This is often the reason behind several stories you hear about dogs attacking their owners and even injuring them seriously.

In the worst-case scenario, your dog might lose its social skills and develop stress disorders, which include nervous barking, chasing tail, auto-aggression, loss or tearing of fur, or gyrations. Your dog might even go as far as chewing on its kennel edges, just like an anxious person would chew on his/her fingers. 

Like humans, your dog will experience emotions ranging from surprise to uncertainty, pain, stress, and fear. Then comes resignation, desperation, depression/anger. Don’t rule out the possibility of a mental disorder in extreme cases.


The use of physical violence as a form of discipline or correction for a dog is not only ineffective, but also harmful to the animal’s well-being. Hitting a dog can cause fear, stress, and other negative emotions, leading to a spiral of worsening behavior. In some cases, this mistreatment can even lead to the development of aggressive behavior and serious mental health issues.

Instead of using violence, dog owners should seek alternative methods of training and behavior modification, such as positive reinforcement techniques. When faced with difficult behavior issues, it is always recommended to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Remember, a strong bond between owner and pet is built on love, respect, and positive reinforcement, not fear and violence.

Will my Dog forgive me for hitting him? 

What happens if you have already did hit your dog out of anger, perhaps even more than once? Has your pet made you an enemy, or is there a chance that it could forgive you?

First, you need to realize that your dog doesn’t have the ability to actually process the action called forgiveness, so it might never forgive you. However, it will act based on the incidences that follow and could move past what you had done to it.

Over time, and if you cease the violent behaviour and replace it with positive actions, your pet can begin to move from feelings of fear, distress, and self-defence towards love and happiness. It all depends on the attitude and pattern of behaviour you put up.

However, there’s one tiny detail to be factored in at this point, which is the issue of memories. There is a likelihood that your dog might remember your misdeeds for a very long time after you have done them.

I did beat my Dog – Does my Dog remember that?

After making that oh-so-dreadful mistake of hitting your dog, you probably wish you could erase the event from the mind of your pet so they don’t live with the trauma and end up hating you in the process.

Sadly, your dog just might remember that experience, and for a very long time too. Studies show that dogs can have episodic memory, which entails going back in time to recall experiences and events, as well as the feelings and emotions they felt.

How Much do Dogs Remember?

So, you might find your dog staring at you fearfully or with distrust. At that point, they might be remembering when you hit them, and how they felt.

These memories can affect how your pet sees you, and even how they turn out. Experts have told us that some dogs become aggressive when relieving or reacting to memories of abuse. So, remember that hitting your dog today might negatively affect them for a very long time.

To ensure that your pet always recalls positive memories, strive to build a positive and happy bond and relationship with them so that they can hopefully get past some of these sad memories.

If you’re lucky enough and you haven’t hit your pet, but you’re losing your temper and you don’t know what to do with your pet, let’s find out the best way to go.

Never Hit Your Dog Out of Anger!

Dogs are not capable of forgiving in the same sense as humans do. However, they do respond to positive behaviour and could move past past mistreatment if it’s no longer a part of their experience.

Dogs have an episodic memory and can remember traumatic events for a long time – which can affect their behaviour towards their owner. Therefore, it’s important for pet owners to strive for a positive and loving relationship with their pets and to avoid hitting or mistreating them in any way.

Building a positive bond will help the pet overcome any negative memories and provide a happy and healthy relationship.

How can you discipline your dog without using physical violence?

Now that we have established the fact that you should never kick or hit your dog, no matter how angry you are, let’s consider the alternatives. And before we go on, please note that shouting isn’t acceptable either. Your loud, booming voice will also register fear in the mind of your pet and bring about more negative than positive results. 

Here’s the right way to discipline your dog:

  • Offer a Distraction

A distraction is an easy way to stop your dog from doing something wrong and directing them to something else. This works especially well when dealing with a puppy who is still learning how to act.

If your puppy is barking loudly, you can grab their attention by making other sounds of your own, and then when they stop, distract them with the TV, a toy, or even a walk.

You can also distract your puppy from damaging an important tool in the house by getting your pet its own toys that it can play with instead. 

  • Scold or Reprimand 

When your dog is carrying out wrong or bad behaviour, you should reprimand them with a firm voice telling them that the action they are carrying out is wrong. You can do this by clapping your hands to get your dog’s attention, and saying a firm ‘No’ while looking them in the eye.

Do this when you catch your dog in the wrong act and not after because that is the way it will be able to reconcile your reaction to its action and know not to do it again.

After reprimanding your dog, the next thing to do is to redirect your dog towards the right action or the right thing it could have done instead. When your pet begins to do the right thing, then you proceed to reward or compliment them. That way, it can separate the wrong action from the right one, as well as your reaction to both actions.

  • Reward Good Behavior with Treats 

You can use treats to correct your dog’s behaviour by offering them treats only when they are behaving right and withdrawing the treats when they are showing wrong behaviour.

Before long, your dog will know how to differentiate good behaviour from bad, and would naturally gravitate towards good behaviour. 

To avoid overdependence on these treats, don’t over your dog treats for just any reason, but restrict it to acts of correction and important actions, to draw the line.

  • Ignore Your Puppy as a Punishment

Sometimes, the best way to correct your puppy’s behaviour is to ignore them, especially when their behaviour is not extreme but is just annoying. When your puppy is running around or jumping about to get your attention, ignoring them is a workable way to get them to settle down and correct their behaviour.

You can even leave the room and return after a while when they must have corrected their behaviour. Then, you can commend their good behaviour and give them a treat. 

  • Time-Outs

In serious cases when your dog is still misbehaving, you can then resort to a time-out for some minutes where you keep your dog alone in a corner or in a room to punish bad behaviour after you must have given several warnings.

However, you should avoid making the time-out too long because it could lead to anxiety or fear, especially if your puppy isn’t used to being alone. 

Never Beat Your Puppy!

There are several ways to discipline your dog without using physical violence, including offering a distraction, scolding or reprimanding with a firm voice, rewarding good behavior with treats, ignoring your puppy as a punishment, and time-outs in serious cases.

The key is to ensure that your methods of discipline are effective, but at the same time, not harmful or overly stressful for your dog. By using positive reinforcement, clear communication, and patience, you can train your dog to exhibit good behavior and enjoy a happy, healthy relationship with your furry friend.

What if my dog shows signs of Severe Behavior Issues? 

Sometimes, while trying to discipline your dog, you might begin to notice signs of behavioural issues. For instance, if your dog gets aggressive when you’re trying to discipline him without the use of violence on your part, then you are dealing with a pet that has severe behavioural issues.

In such a case, the solution is to engage the services of a behavioural specialist.

Your dog might have been exposed to violence before coming to you, which might have bred negative reactions for the littlest of corrective actions. Or, the pet might have some developmental issues that need correction.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to resort to violence because your pet acted aggressively towards you. If you try to get your dog to submit to you through violent means like hitting, grabbing, or kicking your pet, you will only be worsening things and also putting yourself in physical danger.

Experts who are skilled at handling dogs with such aggressive behaviours will use the alpha roll or use several words and gestures to calm these pets.

If you think your pet needs help, take them to an expert where they will be corrected, or where you will be given tips to help you handle your pet’s behaviour.

Discipline without Physical Violence

While discipline is important in training your dog, it’s crucial to avoid physical violence like hitting your Dog and shouting as forms of correction.

Alternatives such as distractions, reprimanding with a firm voice, rewarding good behavior, ignoring, and time-outs are more effective and safe ways of disciplining your pet.

If you notice signs of severe behavioral issues in your dog – it’s best to seek the help of a professional behavioural specialist to avoid further worsening the situation and putting yourself in danger. An expert will be able to diagnose the root cause of your pet’s aggressive behavior and provide the necessary help to correct it.

How to Regain your Dog’s trust if you have hit your dog?

If you have been making the mistake of hitting your pet as a way of correcting bad behaviour and this has negatively affected your relationship with your dog, then you have a problem on your hands that you must solve.

For instance, your dog might have stopped loving and trusting you, and instead fears and avoids you. The way out is to replace those harsh and violent actions with love and care.

The first thing to do is to say your pet’s name kindly while talking to them, especially when they are eating or doing something they find familiar and comfortable. That way, they will gradually become comfortable with you again.

Another thing to do is to give them treats, take them on calm walks, and play non-violent games with your pet. Treats often work well to regain your pet’s trust while showing them the best way to act.

Remember that positive reinforcement is always better than negative reinforcement for bad behaviour because what you will get in return is a negative spiral that is neither good for you nor your pet. 

It is important to be patient and calm while you take your pet through the learning process calmly and patiently. Just as it takes a child some time to learn, it could take your pet some time to learn as well. Provided your pet doesn’t have behavioural issues, your dog will calm down and learn the right behaviour with time.

Regain Your Dog’s Trust – If you did beat your Dog out of Anger!

If you have hit your dog in the past and this has negatively impacted your relationship with your pet, it is possible to regain your dog’s trust. To do this, you need to replace harsh and violent actions with love and care.

This can be done by speaking kindly to your pet, giving treats, going on calm walks, and playing non-violent games. Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement in teaching your dog the right behavior.

How to Regain Your Dog’s Trust:

  • Speak your pet’s name kindly when they are doing familiar and comfortable activities such as eating
  • Give your pet treats, take them on calm walks, and play non-violent games with them
  • Use positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement for bad behavior
  • Be patient and calm during the learning process
  • Remember that it may take time for your pet to learn and change their behavior, especially if your dog was exposed to physical violence like hitting or beating .

You also need to be patient and calm while working with your pet to help them learn and grow. With time, your pet will calm down and learn the right behavior, provided they do not have any underlying behavioral issues.


The relationship between a dog and its owner is one of love, respect, and mutual trust. You don’t have to instil fear to get your dog to respect you as its owner. Instead, building trust will lead to that respect.

Don’t go off the hanger when your pet misbehaves, but remain calm as the alpha in the relationship and hand out the appropriate correction without violence.

There is never an excuse to be violent with your dog, but there’s every reason to love, teach, and be patient with them. 

Read also: In Animal Dreamland – What Do Dogs Dream About?

Categories: Dogs

Princess Egieya


Princess Egieya is a thriving radio presenter and newscaster with a few years of media experience and many more years penning words to life. The Mass Communication graduate from the University of Benin has a keen interest in current affairs, a knack for communicating, and a skill with words. She loves writing about everything there is to write about, just as much as learning all that there is to learn out there.


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