What Can Pet Owners Do If They Accidentally Hit Their Dog Out Of Anger?

I’m going to start this one by saying that hitting anyone or anything, human or pet, is never okay.

But, hey, we’re all humans. And humans tend to let emotions get the better of them.

PHOTO: Pixabay/Gino Crescoli

Think of it as an involuntary action, much like shouting at a misbehaving child or snapping at your friends if they disturb you at just the right (or wrong) time.

You can always apologize after doing the above actions, and they’d understand if you explained your actions, but would dogs understand a human’s apologies?

Although dogs are said to have very short-term memory, even a small incident can lead to some kind of trauma. Your dog may become confused and afraid, as they won’t be able to understand and pinpoint what they did wrong to warrant such a physical response. Worst case scenario, your pet will fear you after being hit, or they may even turn aggressive.

PHOTO: Unsplash/Nick Mundackal

Again, any owner should never hit a pet, but if an incident does occur, what can you do?

First and foremost, don’t make it a habit. Realize your mistake in reacting aggressively and make a plan to never let it happen again.

Our dogs look at us as their whole world, and being hit will be almost a betrayal of their trust. Their short-term memory will aid us if the hitting incident just occurs once. But pet owners will carry the guilt of the memory. Again, don’t make it a habit.

In the event that you do hit your dog, don’t immediately go into their space to try and appease them. Give them space. Because of the fear or shock that your dog might experience after being hit, crowding them may spike their anxiety, so give them some time to relax. While you give them space, use this time to cool off as well.

Emotions are running high at this point, so reflect on your actions and chill out for a bit. Soon enough, you’ll find your dog wanting to be in the same space as you without any fear of getting hit.

PHOTO: Unsplash/Adam Griffith

I already questioned if dogs would be able to understand our apologies, but an apology isn’t really needed since they won’t fully understand what happened. They will know that being hit is a bad experience and that it hurts, but they won’t know that the action is all on you. Do your best to reassure them in the future that you love them.

Dogs simply don’t understand the concept of forgiveness, but they’re very good at it all the same. As a pet owner myself, maybe give them an extra treat? Admittedly you’ll be doing this for your own guilt. Maybe the apology you can give your pet is the promise and commitment of never hitting them again.

Was it your dog’s bad behavior that made you hit them? Were you training your dog, and they weren’t just getting the command? Know that hitting them doesn’t make them learn a lesson or command. Physical punishment doesn’t make a dog learn a trick faster. Positive reinforcement is proven to work when it comes to dog training, so commit to never using a negative action to teach them.

PHOTO: Unsplash/Chewy

It’s never okay to harm your dog. If you lose your cool and accidentally hit or shout at your dog, make sure to never do it again. Nothing good will come out of abusing your pet. No one wants a sad dog, right? I’m sure pet parents will want to keep their fur babies happy and comfortable in their presence.

Maintaining a healthy and peaceful mind will not only be good for yourself, but it also extends to everyone and anything in your vicinity. Always work on keeping your peace of mind, and all will be well.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!