How to Stop People from Spanking Dogs
The likelihood of being prosecuted for disciplining your animal in a humane and sensible fashion is low. Spanking dogs, however, is wrong.
You could have knocked me over with a feather after I read that on the FindLaw.com website this evening. I changed the entire plan of what I intended to write tonight in favor of this very hot and very near and dear to my heart topic.
I was exposed to an animal abuser when I was a child. Without going into explicit detail, it was horrific to watch, I can only imagine what the dog experienced, and looking back I know I was helpless. It doesn’t squash the occasional nightmare or “I wish I only had…” thoughts that creep into my mind when I’m thinking about everything and nothing.
This blog is called Fidose of Reality and that means keeping things real and first and foremost, for today’s modern dog parent. This article addresses what I feel about dog abuse, what the law states, and what you can do about it. There will be no horrific images in this post and it will contain facts and experiences.
Putting your hand(s) on a dog as a form of punishment is not only wrong but as harmful to the relationship you want with your dog. Counterproductive in fact.
In her book, It’s Me or the Dog famed positive reinforcement trainer and star of her own dog behavior show on Animal Planet, Victoria Stilwell, writes, “When you hit a dog, you teach him to fear you, break his trust, and you weaken his confidence. Insecure dogs are the ones who are more likely to lash out in an aggressive display.”
I wrote an entire blog post about why it is wrong to spank a dog (or any pet), which you should read for further insights on the topic.
Day after day I see the images of dog abuse filling my Facebook feed. I read the commentary of a fellow pet blogger today who shared her sentiments that abusive images need to stop.
Dogs (pets in general) are silent victims. They cannot tell anyone, they are someone’s punching bag, and millions of dogs will continue to live day in-day out, not knowing whether or not if the hand that feeds them will soon beat them.
Is a slap considered abuse? Is a tight neck jerk to inflict pain considered torture?
In the eyes of the law, you’d be hard pressed to get a conviction. FindLaw.com recently posted an article on the topic of what is or isn’t legal as it pertains to hitting your pets. What a lovely world in which we live wherein this is now up for debate.
The bottom line is pets are property in this country. You can be charged with animal cruelty, but that’s generally reserved for the more hard core cases and not the asshat who pretends to love a dog but slaps him when no one is looking.
If you know someone is causing psychological and/or physical abuse to a dog, what can you do?
This is a sticky one, and my answer might not be your answer but this is my reality and my truth: Act. Do something because if you don’t, remember that every other person in that pet’s life is doing nothing, too.
Since this post is all about coming clean, I had the occasion to cut someone loose from my life when I saw first hand, many times, how she treated her dogs. I am not a person who believes in, advocates for, agrees with, nor condones spanking or laying your hands on a dog for any reason other than healthcare, grooming, or love. After telling her repeatedly not to lay her hands on the dogs, she became very loud and in denial. I know what my eyes saw. Dogs should never be exposed to harm. Despite my attempts to teach her otherwise, I am certain the cycle continues. Yet my hands are tied. If dogs are fed, a roof is over their heads, and their basic needs are met, the law is on the side of the perpetrator.
That won’t stop me nor should it stop you.
A few years ago, I was out walking my dog. I witnessed a man chasing his dog down the street. Ever the “I’ll help, be right there” person that I am, my random act of kindness was quickly thwarted by a slap.
The dog apparently got loose while on a walk and his owner was chasing after him. As he scooped the little guy up (a shih tzu mix perhaps), he smacked the dog on the butt and repeatedly yelled over and over “No! No! No!” and jerked the dog close to him.
I yelled over “hey” and before a second word could float his way, he picked his dog up and quickly walked off, perhaps caught in the act or just not wanting to deal with an obviously stunned me.
Some people don’t want to hear it. My friends tell me someone is going to turn on me someday, with my crusading to educate and help save a dog. I wonder if my words help or hurt that dog when the owner gets behind closed doors.
I can’t do nothing. That means I don’t care. I care so much that a life with, for, and by dogs is my career choice. I never do anything with half measures. And I won’t start now.
Here are three things you can do if you suspect a dog is being harmed. If you think it is true abuse, never take matters into your own hands. Report the suspected abuse to the authorities. If you can keep a log of dates, times, and any pictures, do that as well.
1 If you are the one doing the spanking, please stop. Dogs are not trying to get back at you for peeing or pooping on a floor. Dogs bark. Spanking a dog will stop the moment, but you instill fear and pain into a dog. This is not what humans are meant to do, and especially not to a loving family member. And if you do this and can sleep at night, eyes closed, resting peacefully, wake up. This is messed up and you need to knock it off.
2 If you have a friend or family member who spanks their dog – for any behavior – please encourage them to work with a behaviorist and explain why spanking is wrong. A dog, like a baby, should never be spanked for simply being who they are.
3 If a stranger is spanking or harming a dog, you need to intervene at a level that you feel comfortable. If you fear for your life, by all means do not step in but call the authorities. Cell phones are a great device for capturing a video of something that is plain wrong.
Part of the Fidose of Reality mission is to educate people why spanking is wrong and why harming a dog, no matter the capacity, is not in the dog’s best interest.
I am as disgusted with these people as you are in reading about them. I couldn’t help that dog I watched suffer abuse when I was a child. I can, however, use my knowledge and voice to make a difference to dogs who otherwise suffer in silence.
Join me, won’t you? Act and stop it the next time it happens.
Hitting a pet is no way to teach them something. You have to step back and let the anger settle and deal with them in another way. No matter how mad you may be, slapping a dog around is not the answer. Mom would like to really cream us over the head with a frying pan sometimes, but she just steps back and finds a better way to deal with whatever it is we are doing that is wrong.
I remember Baby RIP and each time she would see a rolled up magazine or newspaper she would hide from fear and I knew in my heart it was from past abuse that she had received before I rescued her or my ex behind my back was hurting her, I used to hide them whenever I saw them to protect her
What kind of person spanks a dog? I’m guessing it’s the same person who thinks hitting or shaking a crying baby will make it stop. Good lord, I don’t get people.
This was a very powerful great post. Hitting your dog is as bad as hitting your human child. Our fur babies are our babies too, and no one deserves that.
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
I just received this note privately and was asked not to name the name but did receive permission to post it:
Thanks for posting.
I ran into this when out walking my dog. A professional football player chasing a tiny min pin. Poor dog was scared too death. He couldn’t catch her.
She was hiding behind my legs scared to death, while I am trying to hold on to my big dog. I am trying to make sure my own big dog doesn’t get overwhelmed by
the freaking out little dog, the screaming football monster, and try to help this poor dog.
I finally had to reach back and pick her up and hand her over to the football player. If I was that tiny with a 7 foot 350 pound man
screaming at me, I would run too.
I tried to tell him, but professional football players are treated like gods and make too much money so they don’t care what you say.
They just try to scare women with their brawn.
I heard about what happened to other dogs they had, as they lived down the street for awhile.
On another occasion, someone yelled at his large doberman because she was unhappy moving from a farm to a small boring yard. He lets her out on
a busy suburban street because he is mad at her.
No one could get near her. I had to run out in my bathrobe and befriend her and hold her, and hugged her, while we called the owner to come get her.
when he came, she pooped, she was so scared of him.
She was a very sweet large doberman, but I was not in a position to take her. If I had known this before we called him, and could have just taken her, we would have.
I still wonder how dogs we meet that we cannot save or remove from their home, how they are doing. And hope one day to have the resources to provide a
safe haven for dogs.
Thanks for putting this out there. We have to teach morals to so many humans.
Most humans have no morals with animals or other humans.
It amazes me the meanness that is out there and the uncaring pet owners.
When a person spanks a dog, the dog doesn’t understand, why. They only know that the person is angry with them. It is inhumane to spank, hit a dog. I feel, if we see someone harming a dog, and we don’t intercede on the dogs behalf, we are just as guilty as the abuser. And believe me, I am only 5’2, and weigh 75#s due to MS, but I have literally taken dogs away from people, and called Animal Control, on my cell phone. I’ve had people threaten me, and I tell them, “Go ahead, hit me, you have an audience, think I won’t file a lawsuit?” One of these days, someone will probably hit me, but better me, than the dog.
While at a baseball game recently during dog day, two dogs were focused on each other and becoming aggressive. The owners were in adjacent rows and each was trying to hold their dogs back. I get so annoyed when people leave their leashes slack to let dogs ‘sniff each other’s noses’ or let them come close while distracted with other things. So the barking and growling appeared like it was escalating. The family below took their dog inside the row away from the aisle walkway and the other family got up and left. The family that stayed – the woman began smacking their dog repeatedly in the snout and face hard. Not a little tap. Then the man pulled the dog to him and did the same thing. It would have been simpler for them to pull in their leash and kept their dog near them, instead of the walking aisle area.
Some people foolishly humanize their dogs, thinking they inherently understand what is expected of them and what being reprimanded means. They get angry & hit when the dog doesn’t understand. Striking a dog will only make them fear you, and your hand; will mommy pet me or hit me today? Two of my fosters were clearly abused; I adopted one (my girl Phoebe) and worked through her extreme fear of men for over a year. My other foster was so damaged and full of terror she cowered constantly & you could barely get near her; Lord knows what that little dog must have gone through. I love Victoria Stilwell, she’s one of my idols! I have a big mouth, I will always say something if someone hurts an animal or a child. Thanks for a great post!
Love & Biscuits,
Cathy, Isis & Phoebe
I have 2 rescues that were both beaten, neglected and starved. Even after all this time, a quick movement or something unexpected makes them cower. How anyone could bring harm to a helpless animal is beyond me…
You teach with love whether it is a human baby or a dog. Abuse is a horrible thing. Spanking only instills fear when you should be instilling love and trust.
Very powerful message.
Powerful post. I am that person who needed to read this article. Thank you Carol. I abhor seeing people spank their dog and I have been in that situation. Thank you for reminding me I did the right thing by saying, “Hey! Don’t spank your dog!”
I will use this advice thank you I have someone in my life that is doing this next time I will use my words not my eyes thank you again!
It hurts my heart & angers it when i see people hitting dogs. After asking a dog abuser why he feels he has to hit his dog for barking, he said, “I get frustrated and angry.” I educated him that hitting his dog will frighten his dog and only make her bark more. I tried to explain that this cycle will get worse and referred him to some training books but i think if someone hits their dog to release their own anger, its not even about the dog anymore. I saw dogs hit as a child, and its not in me to ever lay a hand on any animal. I see a pattern here–most dog abusers were hit as kids themselves. Its a cycle. Its sad. I dont know the solution.
You shouldn’t be spanking your dog or child. Dogs are really easy to train using positive reinforcement. Children, not so much. But it’s possible. If you’re hitting your child it’s because you aren’t creative enough to think of better parenting methods. Spanking teaches children and dogs to be scared to do bad, not that it’s wrong. Stupid people.
Amen to that and we agree, Budah.