Training an animal? An ethicist explains how and why your dog − but not your frog − can be punished

Only one of these guys deserves to be in timeout. Wild Horse Photography/Moment via Getty Images

By Professor of Philosophy, University of Tennessee

People talk to their pets every day: offering praise when they’re good, reassurance when they’re confused and affection when they’re cuddling. We also speak to animals when they misbehave. “Why did you do that?” someone might ask their dog. Or we might scold the cat – “Don’t touch that!” – as we move a family heirloom across the room.

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