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Fact Check: Can Hitting A Dog On The Nose Kill it?

Can Hitting A Dog On The Nose Kill It

Violence is never the answer. 

The same goes for our beloved doggos. 

Sadly, some people still believe that hitting is part of training. 

But this isn’t and will never be effective on dogs. 

This article reveals why.

Keep on reading and discover:

  • 5 reasons why you should never hit a dog on the nose.
  • What dog trainers don’t tell you about doing this to dogs.
  • The easiest way to correct aggression caused by hitting dogs on the nose.
  • And many more…

Can hitting a dog on the nose kill it?

Hitting a dog on the nose can kill it. Bones and cartilage make up a dog’s nose. Injuries such as fractures and head trauma are possible. Hitting them on the nose has emotional and psychological effects. Like fear of hands or aggressive behaviors. It also destroys the relationship with your dog.

5 reasons why you NEVER should hit a dog’s nose

#1: Risk of pain/injury

Your dog has a mighty nose. 

They use it to “see” the world. It’s their primary sense organ.

This is why most dogs will have their noses to the ground. Just sniffing and sniffing.

Having a good nose also means that it’s very sensitive. 

So it has a lot of nerve endings. Your pooch can feel every little tap. 

And with nose-hitting, you risk severe pain or injury. 

To understand this, let’s look at this…

Structure of a dog’s nose

Medical Detection Dogs explains this very well.

The dog’s nose has two nostrils called nares. It has slits at the side that move as your dog sniffs. 

As the air passes through the nares, it passes through the turbinates. These are a maze of thin bones. And lined with a thin epithelium. 

At the back of the nose, the epithelium contains 300 million olfactory receptors. 

The latter have thin hairs that analyze the scent molecules coursing through the nose. 

Once they’ve identified it, nerves inside the nose send the signal to the doggo’s brain. 

Interesting fact: Dogs also have an organ used solely for scenting body pheromones. It’s called the Jacobson’s organ or the vomeronasal organ. It allows dogs to identify sex and man.

And like commands, dogs can also remember scents. 

In fact, this study states that dogs can keep a scent in mind for up to 4 months. Especially those trained in explosive detection. 

So, in short, a dog’s nose serves an essential function. 

Any damage or injury to it can rob your pooch of their most important sense.

“What are the possible injuries caused by hitting the nose?”

A dog’s nose consists of flesh and very delicate bones.

So if you hit it hard enough, it will result in facial fractures. 

According to this study, the commonly affected parts are the orbital and nasal bones.

Because of the nerves connected to the brain, head trauma is also possible. 

But that’s not all. 

Injuries to the head or muzzle can result in:

  • Facial nerve damage.
  • Lacrimal duct damage.
  • Ptosis from levator transection.
  • Blood loss requiring transfusion.

Warning: Hitting a dog with the intent to hurt is already animal abuse. If you ever see a dog receiving this kind of treatment, call the authorities immediately.

#2: It damages your relationship 

Hitting Your Dog On The Nose Damages Your Relationship

Some dog owners and trainers suggest hitting dogs in the nose when they misbehave. 

I believe it goes without saying: 

This doesn’t work.

Hitting doesn’t improve your relationship with your dog. 

And it won’t make them obey you out of love. 


It’s an outdated technique 

Hitting a dog is from the old-school dominance theory.

You don’t have to prove it or force submission.

This is an outdated way of thinking. It’s based on a study on captive wolves by Rudolph Schenkel. 

He said that an “Alpha” couple is in charge of the pack. And every wolf obeys them. 

But this study uses wolves who are in captivity. They don’t know each other.

So they had to fight over resources. Of course, it would reveal a hierarchy. 

David Mech debunks this in his book. In it, he studies wolves in their natural habitat. 

And discovered that there is no such thing as an “Alpha”.

In many ways, the pack resembles a family that sleeps and finds food together. 

There is a primary pair of wolves, but they’re the parents of everyone. They’re also the only ones allowed to breed. 

When they grow up, the puppies leave home to start packs of their own. 

But back to hitting the nose.

It doesn’t help in training your dog. Other than making them associate you with pain. 

#3: It develops phobias

Repeated hitting, day in and day out. That lowers a dog’s self-esteem. 

PetMD illustrated it very well when they said,

“All hitting does is teach the dog that you are to be feared.”

And having a scared dog leads to severe problems. 

“What happens when dogs have fears?”

The AKC tells us that fear is normal in dogs. 

But, fears develop into phobias. 

Especially when the dog has repeated exposure to traumatic events. 

Some will even learn to expect it. Which may result in anxiety. 

You may even notice that your dog becomes more jumpy.

“What are the signs of fear in my dog?”

Fearful dogs often do the following: 

  • Hiding. 
  • Licking.
  • Pacing.
  • Circling.
  • Panting.
  • Trembling.
  • Tail-tucking.
  • Tail-chasing.
  • Reduced activity.
  • Escape behaviors.
  • Loose bowel movements.

They can even anticipate their fears. 

For example…

You hit your dog on the nose every time they do something wrong. 

They don’t understand what you hit them for. 

Giving a scolding also doesn’t help. 

But what they will remember is that you hit their nose. 

So every time your voice raises. Or your facial expression is angry. 

They can read your behavior. And will think,

“Oh no! Hooman is gonna hit my nose again.” 

And so your dog will flinch or try to hide. They might even try to escape.

“How can I help my dog overcome their fears?”

Fearful pooches are common especially if you adopted or rescued yours. 

The first thing to do is find out their triggers. Or what makes them afraid. 

Next, find a certified animal behaviorist near you. They will examine your pooch. And you can work on a treatment that works best for your dog.

Most behavioral training on fear uses desensitization and counterconditioning techniques. 

It involves small exposures to their triggers. And giving treats. 

Then exposure time will gradually get longer and longer. Until the dog doesn’t feel afraid. 

Want to see that in action? 

Watch this video where a dog overcomes her fear of balloons:

Read next: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Afraid Of Me? 9 Surprising Reasons

#4: Dogs learn to fear hands

Here’s a riddle:

What do humans commonly use to hit and pet their dogs?

That’s right, their hands!

When their fur parent does both, dogs can get confused. 

They won’t know whether the hand near them wants to cause pain or not. 

When it happens all the time, dogs can redirect their frustration to:

And this is a sad thing. Because dogs like pets more than anything, as this study proves. 

The canines in the study even showed a willingness to be near strangers. Just so they could get a good belly rub.

Warning: Hitting a dog is never the right way to train them. Remember that aggression and phobias come from traumatic experiences. They will remember. Even if you don’t.

Read further: Will My Dog Forgive Me For Hitting Him? 13 Vital Tips

#5: It results in defensive behaviors

When they feel unsafe or threatened, dogs may react in a negative way. 

They will display aggressive behaviors such as:

  • Biting.
  • Barking.
  • Lunging.
  • Snarling.
  • Growling.
  • Snapping.
  • Hard stare.

Dogs will do this as a way to defend themselves. Especially in situations where they feel that there is no escape. 

According to the ASPCA, reactions to traumatic experiences stem from fear aggression. Which is a common type in dogs of all ages.

For example, a dog used to physical punishment will try to hide or escape when they know what’s coming. 

But at times, they might react by snapping. Or biting the hand of the person punishing them. 

Reading tip: 25 Best Ways To Calm An Aggressive Dog (#1 Works Instantly)