Is it OK to Kick a Dog Out of Anger?
Everybody has those days when they just don’t feel like themselves. You know, when those days that are simply full of frustration and affect pretty much anybody who comes across your path whether they deserve it or not? Including your best friend, your pet dog? If you have gone so far as to hit your dog out of anger (whether on purpose or frustration), you may be concerned what it is that you need to be doing in order to figure out what the next steps are. So, what should you do if you have hit your dog while you were angry?
What to do After You Have Hit Your Dog Out of Anger?
If you have hit your dog while you were angry, the best thing you can do to correct the situation is reestablish the bond that you two share. If you are not able to reestablish this bond, there is a very good chance that they will develop a very deep fear of you. To do this, start by trying to change the habits you have been using as a trainer and use some positive reinforcement training techniques. You may be very surprised at how forgiving your dog can actually be if you really have a genuine love for them.
Here are some of the ways that you will be able to help rebuild an even better relationship with your dog than you have ever had, as well as the discipline techniques that you can use moving forward.
Make Sure You Are Assertive but Calm
Whenever you own a pet dog, you are always going to want to make sure that you are assertive, but also remain very calm. Unfortunately, in today’s society it is very common to associate the role of an alpha with being overly aggressive and a dominating stereotype.
Recent studies have been done however, showing that those in a wolf pack who do display such aggressive behavior are actually much more likely to be kicked out as opposed to have them be the leader of the pack. Essentially, this means that you will need to show your strength but show stability at the very same time. If you have accidently hit your dog out of anger, you will need to put your best effort forward to get your emotions in check so that there are no future incidents moving forward.
If your dog is naturally timid, there is a chance that they will become afraid of you. This is bad and is not something that you want to happen. Plus, since you are considered the alpha dog, it also makes you look much less stable.
What all of this means is that there is a chance that you can lose the respect that your dog was giving you, which will then make disciplining your dog the proper way much harder than it should be. Just keep in mind that most dogs are able to sense your anxiety, and if your dog is a dominant one, they can potentially take that as a cue to become the new alpha.
Will Your Dog Forgive You?
If you have hit your dog out of anger, one of the very first questions you may think about is how long they are going to stay mad at you for doing it? The good news for you, is that if you have already had a solid relationship with your pup, there is a very good chance that they have already forgiven you. This is because dogs actually have a very forgiving nature. Since you more than likely consider your dog to be a part of your family, you are going to have a tendency to give some of the characteristics that you would give to humans. However, you must keep in mind that while you think that your dog has these characteristics, they actually do not.
With that being said, if you start to make a habit out of hitting your dog whenever you are angry (especially if they don’t understand why you are hitting them), you will only be training the to be fearful and anxious whenever you are around. While your dog will get angry and experience different emotions, there has been no evidence that has revealed your dog is able to connect motives and emotions the same way that humans are able to. Instead, most dogs will operate at an ‘in the moment’ type of way, as opposed to holding onto how they feel in the long-term.
If you notice that your dog appears to be angry (such as snapping or barking) for some reason, it is more than likely due to the fact that they are feeling irritated or frustrated in that moment. As long as the whole situation with hitting your dog was an uncharacteristic one that does not happen on any type of regular basis, they will more than likely forget about the entire incident within the next day or two, often times even sooner.
How to Read Your Dog’s Behavior
If you have a pet dog, you already know that they are often times going to be somewhat hard to read. While there is no mistaking how excited they can be when their tails are wagging and they have huge smiles on their face, when they are feeling irritated, it can be much harder to figure out. While it may just be some type of environmental issue that is in no way related to you, there is no way of really knowing. Depending upon the breed of dog that you have, they may require higher levels of activity. If they are not given that extra activity, they can very easily become irritated and destructive.
Your dog is also able to experience emotions such as disappointment, annoyance, and suspicion. If you randomly change their schedule or leave them alone for extended periods of time, there is a very good chance that they will become anxious. There is also a chance that your dog is in pain and just doesn’t want to show that they are in pain. It is a built-in instinct for your dog to hide the fact that they are in pain. In the wild, being in pain is considered a sign of vulnerability and weakness. So, if you do notice that your dog is continuously displaying irritation, lethargy, or anxiety for more than a couple of days, you may want to consider taking them to the veterinarian.
If you have noticed that there have been any kind of major changes in how your dog normally behaves (such as a change in their appetite, an increase in how aggressive they are, or depression) taking your dog to the vet is going to be highly recommended. Your veterinarian will be able to assess them completely and let you know if there is anything wrong with them.
If you do notice that your dog has lost their appetite, it may be a very good indicator that your dog is actually sick. When you notice that your dog is only eating one time per day and much less than they would normally be eating, they may be in some serious pain, potentially having a very serious stomach issue.
Send the Right Signals
If you are a person that is constantly on edge, there is a very good chance that your dog is actually feeding off of that energy. When a dog is abused on a regular basis, they are going to begin to display some aggressive behaviors from being frustrated on a regular basis.
If you do need to discipline your dog, you should do so in a way that is very brief, doing your best to get right back too normal as soon as you are able to. If your dog was happy prior to when the discipline became needed, they are going to respond to that discipline better and desire to get back to how it was prior to the disciplining happening.
To effectively and properly discipline your dog, there must be a connection between you two. If there is no connection, it will be much tougher to properly discipline your dog. This is because when your dog trusts and loves you, they will naturally want your approval and try to avoid any kind of disapproval at all costs.
This means that you should always find a way to make time for your dog, taking them on walks, playing with them, and showing them the affection that they love getting. Just keep in mind that not every single dog will be affectionate and cuddly. If this is your dog, it just means that you will need to do something that they enjoy doing, such as a high-energy activity.
Finally, if you are constantly yelling at your dog, you are sending them all of the wrong signals. Remember that leaders are not going to be emotionally unstable, but rather be collected, assertive and calm. Your dog will then pick up on this and you will be sending them the right signals.