How to explain parents that hitting my dog for bad behavior isn't good?

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How to explain parents that hitting my dog for bad behavior isn't good?

This is a discussion on How to explain parents that hitting my dog for bad behavior isn't good? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi! I'm 18-years old and I still live with my parents. My dog lives with us - they didn't adopt the dog, I and my ...

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Old 03-28-2018, 12:30 PM
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How to explain parents that hitting my dog for bad behavior isn't good?


I'm 18-years old and I still live with my parents. My dog lives with us - they didn't adopt the dog, I and my older sister did (we used to live separate from my parents) and when my sister moved away, she left the dog with me, because she believed that I would be a better owner to her - and sometimes behaves badly.

My parents are very old-school people. Their dogs were raised with wicker and hitting and they still do believe that this is the best way to teach a dog to behave. I think differently. In my opinion, praising and food are the way to dog's heart and to good behaviour. I have told and explained them everything. About how I don't want to raise my dog with fear and how everything's different nowadays. Dogs aren't raised how they were then. Well, they also thought that it's a good idea to give my dog some chocolate when we first moved back to their house and this took me hours and hours of explaining. I had to tell them over ten times why chocolate is bad for dogs and they didn't believe me and told me that when they were young, all their dogs got some chocolate and lived happily to an old age. The same thing goes for hitting dogs. They tell me that no dog is different and that dogs are still the same and they always hit their dogs when they behaved badly. I have tried to show them that there are another ways to teach but they still want to go the easy way. They just don't understand that it doesn't only take one day to get the results. Probably because they are used to dogs learning quickly because they are scared. I would move away, but I'm not able to right now. Do you have any ideas how to show and tell them that it's not right to hit your dogs?
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:06 PM
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I think the best thing you can do for your dog is keep your dog out of situations where he's behaving in a way that makes your parents think hitting is an appropriate response.

That means maintaining good management. You need to be the one who walks, controls and manages your dog.

If you're asking them to take care of your dog, then they will do what they think is best.

I'm assuming we are not talking about abuse when I say this. Abuse is horrible and you need to remove the dog from the situation immediately.

I grew up with dogs that were raised this way, and they turned out fine. They were not scared, shy, skittish, or unhappy...what they were not, was obedient. Call them, and they ran the other way. They did as they pleased, barring bad behaviour which was punished, and they never knew the joys of teamwork.

If you can keep your dog out of trouble, you can train your dog and show off your much better way of doing things.

Basically, the training method you are chosing requires good management skills. That means removing your dog from opportunities or locations or times to practice 'bad behaviours'.

I'm old enough to have completely given up on changing human behaviours, so I don't have advice on changing your parents minds except to say that lecturing rarely goes over very well.

I prefer 'show, don't tell'.

What exactly is your dog doing that triggers your parents to hit your dog? This forum is pretty good with advice on how to handle a whole range of dog behaviours that humans don't like, and there's also the 'stickies'.

If your parents are interested, you can have them read along, but that's probably a long shot.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:13 PM
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Well here is my advice.....stop trying to school them on " new and better " ways of doing things. If they're as old school as you describe they're just going to write off these " new and better " ways as touchy feely namby pamby garbage. .....anything the younger generation does is wrong. You havent been alive long enough to know anything yet. And the dog is a lower life form. Thats the way their thinking is probably going.
I'm only 40 and I catch myself thinking that way about anyone under 30. Have to reign myself in with it lol. The older a person is the less they want to hear about changing their way of thinking or behavior.
That being said, you could try it from a different angle..... Instead of schooling them maybe you could try tugging on their hearts instead. Tell them it really bothers you to see your dog treated that way. RESPECTFULLY ask them to please allow you to train your dog instead. Come at it from the angle that it hurts YOU to see your dog treated that way. You never know, if they see that it bothers that much they may just give in and respect your wishes. But when younger people try to " school " older people especially people much older, they older generation tends to just dig in their heels and stick to their guns. It can be difficult to prove something to someone who has decades more life experience to draw from. Even when they're dead wrong about something.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:18 PM
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If they are old-school about you as well then Sthelena is right. In their minds, you are their child and shouldn't be telling them how to do things. Especially when you are living under their roof.

There's an old saying that fits this kind of situation - flow like water around a rock.

They aren't going to be changed by lectures. But you can change what you do to make things better for your dog. Train him your way and keep him out of trigger situations around your parents. Less stress on all of you.
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Old 03-28-2018, 02:11 PM
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Regarding the chocolate all it will take is one time of your dog getting sick and a huge emergency vet bill in the middle of the night or weekend or holiday to teach them otherwise. Make sure they go with you to hear everything all the vets and hospital staff say. You can print out some written information and give it to them from veterinary sources to be more preventative.
Many years ago I briefly dated a stubborn guy who gave my last dog a small piece of a chocolate brownie in my car while I was driving right in front of me after I had repeatedly told him not to and why. I was furious, but the stupid stubborn idiot had the nerve to tell me I was "bring controlling"and trying to ruin his bond with my dog. I called the local emergency vet hospital right then from my cell phone, put the call on speaker and asked if I should bring the dog in. The vet staff was so alarmed on the phone and repeated all I had already said about how toxic and deadly chocolate was to dogs and asked how big the chocolate was and how big my dog was, that the idiot did start to understand never to do it again.
The dog was fine, it was a small bite and he was a seventy five pound dog.
I broke up with the guy very quickly.
You can't get rid of your parents but you could do something like that if they give the dog chocolate again.

I would keep the dog in my room at all times that I wasn't home and walk it and do all training and handling myself and not have them do any training or handling if at all possible. Use your own methods to train it and they'll see over time that he becomes more bonded to you and well behaved than the dogs they trained their way.
You can't change people's thinking, but you can leave out reading material that may be educational to them.
Depending on where you live, some towns and states are very sensitive to any indication of abuse on animals. So I wouldn't let your parents handle your dog or expect them to care for your dog.
I had animal control call me once and tell me that some woman reported me for abusing my dog that day. I took him out on my way out and was carrying an overstuffed bag of recycling. I had my cat who was terminally ill with metastasized cancer in the hallway and was trying to get to a vet appointment for the cat. As I was balancing my lunch bag, on my shoulder, the recycling bag and leash my dog launched at some invisible rabbit or rat. All my stuff went flying of course and I had to stop and pick up every stupid can and put it all back in the bag of recycling and save my lunch. Not the delay I needed for the cat appointment. I had told the dog to heel but he didnt listen. I was irritated and did say "no bad" or something and started swearing. When everything fell all over the place a plastic empty jug that had once held a gallon of milk or water went bouncing out and I think hit him on the butt and then bounced around everywhere. The light empty gallon jug did not hurt him at all but he's noise sensitive and cowered down at the sound. My swearing probably didn't help.
Stupid woman walking by called animal control and reported that I'd deliberately hit and repeatedly beat him with a full glass milk bottle. Exaggerate much???!!! How does a lightweight plastic empty gallon jug become a full glass milk bottle???!!! And it fell out of the bag when he bolted, I never hit him at all.
This is in addition to the literally dozens of people who felt the need to confront me and tell me firmly to remove the gentle lead that he wore when I first got him from the shelter. They insisted that he didn't need a "muzzle" and it was cruel and he couldn't breathe, drink or eat. Total strangers, a few even started to try to remove it themselves because I was "abusing" my dog with his innocent tortured eyes. If he really needed a muzzle in public, they'd have lost their hands!
This was for me using a trainer approved gentle lead and a plastic jug falling and lightly tapping his butt accidentally and me raising my voice once. People around here are fanatical about perceived abuse.

If your parents hit your dog in public and it's observed, even if it's not actual abuse, it could result in some very overzealous observers and calls/visits from animal control.
Some people are absolutely ridiculous these days. I'm not saying actual true animal abuse is acceptable but my own experiences tell me that it's crossed a line and people have gone way over the top. Not every dog is traumatized by every little thing.
So your parents should be aware of how society has changed.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:59 PM
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Thank you all for your answers! I now understand that they won't listen to my lectures - just like I wouldn't listen to their lectures about how to raise dogs.

The dog is 100% under my care. I walk her, give her food - even pay for it -, train her and she always sleeps in my room. My parents don't abuse my dog and most of the time they love her and care for her a lot, but then there are these times - almost every day - when they get mad at her and if I wouldn't be there almost every time, they would definitely punish her with slapping her. It has also happened a couple of times when I haven't been close enough and in their opinion, they aren't slapping her hard, but I can see it in my dog's eyes that she's scared of my hand when it raises to pet her and she squints her eyes. I believe that it doesn't hurt her very much but it still isn't a human thing to do.

Today I told them that I haven't asked for their opinions on how I should raise my dog and that I would like to train her the way I think it's best. That made them quiet and I hope they understood it.

The reasons why they get mad at my dog are that she barks at other people and dogs that she sees from the window; growls at anyone who tries to take anything from her that she's stolen, or who wants to move her when she's laying down. Right now I'm teaching her not to do any of these things and in my opinion, it does work but takes just a little bit more time. I also get that it's annoying when she barks and they are worried that the dog is going to bite somebody but in my opinion, it's inhuman to hit my friend. There are other methods to try and get rid of it and why go the easy way when I could go much better but harder way?

Sadly I can't keep my dog in my room when I'm not home. She's used to being free in the house when everyone else is home, she's the kind of dog who hates to be alone when there's clearly someone home. Fortunately, my younger brother is home early and I could tell him to keep an eye on my dog when my parents are home. He's great with my dog and would actually understand me, too.

For my dog, the chocolate didn't do anything to her although she isn't a big dog - she was probably lucky enough. What worked for that case was that I sent an article to my father about why chocolate is toxic to dogs. It helped and after that my father hasn't given her chocolate.

I guess the only way to get to their minds is educational reading and showing them how it's better to train a dog. Thank you all!
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