Accidents happen when living with pets. They might do something that may trigger your anger severely and in the heat of the moment you might grab the nearest thing to hit your dog. Although this is a greatly condemnable act, fixing your dog’s trust and respect towards you is what matters the most.
So, if you have recently hit your dog, first and foremost you must let the dog have some safe space. Once the pup is feeling fine, allow them to come to you on their own accord. Forcing or coaxing using treats or favorite toys at this time may come out even harder making them react abnormally. Once they are near you, talk to him/her gently with lots of pets. And most importantly, never repeat the mistake twice.
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How do Dogs perceive hitting?
No one loves being hit. And the same goes for the man’s best friend. Studies show that dogs don’t remember trivial things for long and while some of their actions may infuriate you to finally resort to hitting them, the pooch may have simply forgotten what he/she did wrong. So, while you may be hitting them as a so-called “correcting behavior”, the dog may not have a clue as to why his/her owner is being physically abusive.
This in return invokes fear and distrust in their minds which can grow into severe psychological distress for the pup if not corrected at the right time. The dog will grow stressed from the sudden pain-based aversive techniques and may either grow to be hyper fearful or snappy. This in turn will affect both their quality of life as well as health conditions and even induce them to exhibit more and more bad behaviors in your absence.
I Beat my Dog: How do I Fix it?
In case you recently lost your cool and hit your dog with a wooden spoon or even using your hands, the first thing you need to do is to never repeat the same. Hitting and abusing these little fur babies is never the right answer and also doesn’t guarantee eradication of the wrong behavior. The only effect it will leave on canines is insecurity, distrust and increased defense aggression instances.
Furthermore, with Animal Safety Guidelines being more strictly revised all over, hitting or using any other physically abusive methods on animals can lead to either imprisonment or heavy penalization, or in worst cases both.
So now that you know and understand the consequences of hitting your canine, here is a detailed walk through of things you can do to fix the situation.
Give them space
When a dog receives physical punishment, it takes time for their fragile minds to process the information. Certain pups may even take your hitting and hand raising as play and therefore exhibit rough play behavior, until they are reprimanded for long. Even after that they can be confused as to why they are being punished.
So, with all these conflicting emotions, the dog should be allowed with ample space, preferably where it can feel absolutely safe. Let the canine calm down at its own pace, as forcing them to interact with you will only make them feel even more anxious.
Let the dog come to you on its own accord
While waiting for your dog to come to you can feel excruciatingly painful, patience is the key. Allowing your dog to have time with themselves after a stressful phase is a sign of respect and can aid in reducing the negative feelings towards you.
During this time, make sure to be careful of your actions though. Raising your voice, stomping your feet around, or doing things you normally won’t do can be perceived as threatful actions which will scare off the fur baby more and more. Therefore, to help in their relaxation, being calm and gentle is a must. For instance, moving slowly or avoiding a direct gaze with the puppy can do wonders in eliminating the bitterness in their minds.
Once they have cooled down, the canine will slowly but eventually come closer to you.
Treat them gently while using sweet words
So your dog came back to you on its own??? Congrats. Now the next thing to do is to make them feel at ease, and there is nothing more valuable than a good cuddle, scratchies or sweet praises.
Create a relaxing environment for the dog. Get their favorite blankie, plush toy or lie down on the bed/sofa with enough space for the woofer to climb in. You can also play ‘dog relaxing sounds’ on the speaker with a medium voice setting and dim the room lights. All these external factors can speed up the process and therefore strengthen your bond like previous.
When doing so, don’t forget to adore your fur baby. Pull them closer to you, talk lovingly and give as much scratchies as possible. Dogs love good scratches and hence doing so will induce their brain to produce happy hormones which eventually puts down any insecurities or emotional barriers they might have set in their minds.
Feed them yummy treats
Even though most puppies will cozy up with calm and gentle behavior, some might need further coaxing. For such puppies, treats with a sturdy chewy texture are usually the best, as it distracts the pup from any negative feelings.
After a session full of loving words and lots of cuddling, let the pup enjoy a generous amount of their favorite pack of treats or chew bones. You can offer the treat individually or add them with their feed, if it is already their feeding time.
If not, going out on a long walk, visiting the dog park, or indulging in exciting sports, such as frisbee, hide and seek can also come handy.
Dogs love their humans unconditionally. However, similar to us, dogs also feel a lot of things, including grief, anger, stress, anxiety, love, and happiness.
So, even though you can find numerous steps of conditioning your canine’s love and trust back after a heated phase, the better thing to do is to never indulge in such painful punishing methods. The little angels don’t deserve the pain of repeatedly having their trust broken and then mended.
Therefore, following positive reinforcement training techniques to rectify their wrong behaviors is a much better option than going through so-called effective ‘aversive methods’. This way the intimate bond between the owner and the pooch won’t suffer any repercussions and the canine will grow out to be a much better trained version of itself.
Will I be punished for hitting my dog?
Based upon the local laws, the severity of punishment for hitting or injuring a dog can vary from one region to another. Although the laws related to animal safety were not severe previously, many organizations are working together on a worldwide basis to introduce necessary reforms to the existing laws.
According to the new regulations, cruelty towards animals including pet dogs is a Misdemeanor that can procure imprisonment up to 1 year and/or a heavy fine of $1000 in many states of the USA. Moreover, in extreme cases, such as instances involving 4th Degree Felony, the violator will be asked to pay a fine of $5000 and/or serve jail time up to 18 months.
The fine charges and imprisonment time usually differs from state to state. So, it is better to check for your respective country’s Animal Safety Laws, as you never know when it can come handy.
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