When Is It Okay to Hit a Dog?

When is it okay to hit a dog?

What would you do if someone started smacking this dog?

What would you do if you saw someone hitting a dog?

I know how I would react, because I saw it go down yesterday — at the vet’s office, of all places.

First, some background. Sissy, my brown Labrador, started limping the other day. My first thought was a splinter, something stuck in her paw or a scratch or scrape.

Upon further inspection in the nooks and crannies of her paw with a flashlight, I came up empty. She consistently licked her paw and was limping considerably more the next day.

Another check of the paw, and I saw that what must have been a teeny tiny cut was licked to a now visible surface wound. I cleaned the wound and called the veterinarian’s office to see when they could squeeze us in. Luckily, they had an afternoon cancellation and we headed in.

Shortly after we checked in and sat down in the lobby, a woman came in and proceeded to the front desk. She explained that her dog was overheated and needed to see the vet right away.

The receptionist looked around the woman, then back at her. “Where is your dog?” she asked.

“In the car,” the woman replied.

Seriously? Your dog overheats, you take her to the vet and then leave her in the car — in 90-plus degree heat? Little did I know my silent seething would get worse…

Barking and Beating

The woman came back in with an extremely overweight miniature pinscher. It just so happened that a young woman was sitting across from me in the lobby with her own miniature pinscher. The contrast was appalling, but more shock was yet to come.

The woman sat down in the lobby just around the corner near the examination rooms. She was holding her dog in her lap, and the dog was constantly barking. In a vet’s office, barking is expected, so no one really pays it any mind — until the first WHACK was heard.

The woman had hit her dog so hard it could be heard throughout the entire (large) lobby from around the corner hallway.

At first I wasn’t exactly sure what I had heard. Then the next whack was followed with a “Shut up!” And another whack.

I looked across to the three people sitting opposite me, and their gazes went from her to me with a look that could only be explained as shock. The dog continued barking, and then yet another whack was heard. The dog cried out in pain at the last hit.

That’s when I lost my cool.

The Warning

The front desk employees were now watching the situation, and the vet had just walked out as I leaned forward to make sure my voice carried to where she was sitting:

“If you hit that dog one more time,” I announced, “I’m coming over there to see how you like it!”

The vet looked at me then back at her before taking the dog away from her and disappearing into one of the examination rooms.

Miss Hits-a-Lot was taken to a back room where people and patients don’t normally go, and I found out before I left that they were discussing if they would even let her leave with the dog.

I calmed down and our names were called, and I left hoping the overheated dog wouldn’t be sent home to be beaten further.

What Would You Do?

I don’t believe in hitting animals as a form of training or correcting unwanted behavior, especially in this case — where the dog was already overheated and stressed.

But what about regular training? Positive reinforcement and clicker-type training are praised by some, while others either support or criticize Cesar Millan‘s contact method, examples of which have shown him hitting dogs.

So let me pose this question to you: When is it okay to hit a dog? Would you have reacted differently in my situation?

Tell me in the comments below; let’s start a discussion.

Photo: Cordey/Flickr

FROM THE PETS ADVISER SHOP

  • S_angel56

    I would have said the same thing thing to her and I would also tell her i was reporting her for animal cruelty where I live. taken a pic of her and the dog on my phone and tell her there are witnesses here to back it up and if the dog is lucky he won’t be going home with her today but will be with people who respect animals feelings and care for them properly.

    • therealtruthplse

      YOU weren’t there my dearest were you….Let’s not get too caried away then by what your reading , that which is written by some OTHER person…. How do you know this person( above) is correct, maybe the woman wasnt as bad as she was made out to be…..Perhaps our “witness” could possibly be exaggerating a little, NOT taking into reason ALL of the accuations she has made, against this woman….Too many folks nowadays are ready to quickly “point the finger at someone “… Just because she is an editor for a pets magazine dosen’ t make it right for her to accuse someone in the wrong, then PUBLICLY write about it! Did she even ask the woman why her dog was over weight? Did she ask the woman Why the dog was in the car? There could be perfectly plausible reasons to these questions. Regards hitting the dog…she could have merely only “slapped” the dog in a diciplining way, maybe the dog is hyper and hard to control….maybe the dog was spayed or neutered, hence its over- weight-ness….maybe the dog had to be brought by car (windows could have all been down if it were “90 degrees”, i think anyone s windows would have been down in this heat!!! Maybe the woman had no other way of getting to the vet’s, but by car??? All these” maybes”…… We need to have actually  been there and actually SEEN what happened,  before being fit to DEEM and JUDGE!!!! You only have a one sided version, based on what some Editor of a Pets Community, “saw”….Im certainly NOT defending animal cruety, definately NOT…. I am however extremel wary of “opinionated” one- sided versions of  a story… This is definately a tale where one would had to have been there, in order to make any  judgement on the “woman with the pinscher”……….

      • Michelle

        The topic was this woman abusing her dog, not how she got the dog there,  that is part of the story, If the three people in the waiting room and the staff at the desk were watching this, it wasn’t a light tap,  you should give your head a shake. If you feel you need to hit an animal to get the behaviour you desire, you should not own an animal!!! Period!!! If it were me, I would of walked over and smacked her and asked her how she liked it. That person should not own an animal! The dog was overheating, and she feels the need to hit the dog to “shut it up”? SHOULD NOT BE AN ANIMAL OWNER!!!!!

        • AmmoNit23

          Where you there? Period…..

        • AnneSeay

          It DOES NOT Matter whether we were there or not, if she hit the dog till it cried out, SHE WAS OUT OF LINE and I HOPE she DID NOT get that dog back!!! You people that always side with the human element, simply because “we weren’t there and don’t really know what happened” are always the ones that don’t see the lines or boundaries being crossed…….ever!!!

        • Micheal Vick

          How do you know it cried and it could have been just a small whimper. The lady that posted this feels like she was out of line and is trying to justify her actions and get others’ support to feel like she was in “the right”. If she’s taking it to the vet she obviously cares about its well-being. The vet could have just brought them back in an attempt to control his office. There’s nothing wrong with a little smack on the rear.

        • AnneSeay

          First of all, the article stated she hit the dog several times, the last time she smacked the dog it cried out in pain, so it’s pretty oblivious, if you had read the above article, you would know the facts. SECOND of all, and I cannot express this enough, dogs that are already stressed act out in different ways and don’t deserve to be punished simply because they are scared and Thirdly, given the name you are posting with, even though I highly doubt you are the real POS that abused all those dogs and sincerely hoping that you are NOT his name sake, how do you know it didn’t cry out? How do you know it wasn’t being abused? How do you know the vet didn’t contact authorities? None of us were there and yes, there always two sides to every story. It just so happens, I always side with the animals. PEOPLE can always control their actions and emotions…..they have free will to always do the right thing. Sadly, animals do not!!

      • Kristine

        I described the dog as extremely overweight because she was.  I did not state anything about the weight being an issue or declaring the woman an unsuitable owner because her dog was overweight. I did, however, have a problem with her trying to control the dog’s barking by repeatedly hitting her dog until she cried out in pain. I can’t stand by and watch an animal get hit repeatedly when they have no defense, especially a dog that’s overheated and already in distress.

        • therealtruthplse

          You compared the woman’s dog, to that of another owner, with an exact same breed. You give the reader the impression that this “woman” was just so completely awful an so cruel. “A build-up” to the climax” .
          Im dead against Animal cruelty period. i detest cruelty to animals or children. I can definately see your point but you need to be 100% certain in what you are saying. The way people “word” factual happenings can completely differ from one person to another. Thats all im saying.
          There is nothing as bad as someone “jumping” on the band wagon and others joining in, when most werent even there to judge the situation  themselves.

        • Maria Gonzalez

          I agree with you and what you did in this scenario. However, I do agree with someone’s comment stating that light to medium physical force once in a while is not a horrible offense against the dog. Dogs physically discipline each other because they can’t talk it out like people can and should do.

      • brigitte

        Too many excuses for a totally uncivilized behaviour! Too many “perhaps” and “maybes”. Bottom line: physical violence CAN NOT BE TOLERATED. Expanding some “boundaries” with lots of “exceptions” only leads to “forgiving” rapists and terrorists, child abusers and animal torturers!!!! The ANIMALS OF THIS BLOODY PLANET DO NOT BELONG TO US! And this “authority of Man over the beasts of the earth” taught by the “Holy” books is a big fat charade! If a person can not control himself UNDER PRESSURE and gets irrational on a creature, regardless of what this creature is, then he should be outcasted from society. A straightjacket would do too! If not a more severe and irriversible punishment.

      • Flint Stone

        So by your logic, none of the courts anywhere are fit to judge anything, because they didn’t see what happened?

      • AnneSeay

        I don’t know, I believe you are defending her actions. Praying you don’t have animals.

      • Titan

        Ummm… you were also not there,so you can’t honestly say that Kristine is exaggerating. The title of the article is “When is it okay to hit a dog”

        There is nothing wrong with the example she used, nor with making her opinion of what she observed public. She mentioned no names.

        I find myself wondering why you feel so obligated to defend this person when you yourself were not there….Or were you?

  • Debbie

    Some people don’t deserve to share their lives with dogs.  What a rotten person.  Thank goodness you spoke up.  I hope the vet office took this seriously and didn’t give her dog back, at least without some serious counseling and follow-through.

    The only time it’s okay to hit a dog?  The only time I can think of is if the dog were attacking another animal or child, and never as a general form of discipline.  No excuse for it!

  • Talk Tothe

    You need to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!!………….. actually……………

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      That’s certainly a valid reaction. But where do you draw the line? Maybe when blood is drawn?

    • michelle

      Your definitely one of those people who feel it is ok to inflict pain to get the behaviour u desire, Do you hit your children? Positive reinforcement, not beat them into submission!

      • therealtruthplse

        I never mentioned anything about my being cruel to animals or children.

      • Jebril

        It’s okay to hit your kids and your dog, negative reinforcement is more responsive than positive, it’s been proven over and over. Positive however sticks longer, anyone who thinks you shouldn’t smack an animal or a kid every once in a while is an idiot.

  • INSPECTORCLUESO

    The woman came back in with an extremely overweight miniature pinscher. It just so happened that a young woman was sitting across from me in the lobby with her own miniature pinscher. The contrast was appalling, but more shock was yet to come.   “PERHAPS THE DOG WAS SPAYED OR NEUTERED, WHICH COULD EXPLAIN ITS “OVERWEIGHT”????????

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      It’s actually a myth that spayed/neutered pets necessarily become overweight. They get overweight or obese from overfeeding.

      Kristine tells me this min pin was 4 times bigger than a normal min pin.

      But the point is: The pet owner hit her dog hard four times to get the dog to be quiet. Is that okay? Not by my book.

      I suspect most people would have kept quiet, though, in this situation. It’s very much like watching someone repeatedly spank his/her child…

      And that’s why Kristine asked for comments from all of you. We want to hear opinions from all sides. Thanks for writing in and sounding off.

      • Jim

        Hitting a dog, or any pet for that matter, under any circumstance is very simply unacceptable human behavior.  If roles could be reversed would we accept being bitten by our pets because we did something they thought was annoying.  I’m sure we do things everyday that in some way annoy our furry friends but they continue to reward us day in and day out with affection, comfort and pleasure.  Their loyalty to us should make us more compassionate to not only our pets but to each other.  Should the  woman who hit her dog be punished— yes, but to the extent that she’s aware of what she’s doing wrong and as we would correct out pets she should be corrected through training — Of course that training could be at the hands of a well endowed Drill Instructor. 

  • Lisa-Huge Dog Luver

    I would have done the same thing as you did. It is NEVER ok  to hit your dog in ANY situation. I have had dogs most of my grown up life and I have NEVER, EVER laid a hand on any of them. As a matter of fact we have a dachshund named Sammie that constantly barks at the vets office and when we first take him into the pets store. we know it’s from either begin nervous or excited so we just try and calm him down by petting him and talking to him. Some time it works and some time it doesn’t.

  • http://www.petsadviser.com/ Pets Adviser

    A reminder, please. We welcome opinions from all sides, but your comments should be civil, on topic, and provide something of value beyond stuff like “you suck.” We’ll delete anything that doesn’t abide by these very fair rules. Let’s be adults.

  • Shanna

    Someone mentioned the ONE condition under which it might be okay to hit a dog. If the dog was attacking another dog or a person and there was no other way to restrain the dog, i might resort to violence to stop the attack. People first, animals second, possessions third. I can live with chewed furniture or excessive barking or whatever else the animal might do that is annoying, if I couldn’t find a way to train the animal using positive reinforcement. There is, however, a difference between annoying and dangerous behavior.

  • Jen@MyBrownNewfies

    Good for you for speaking up. Someone needs to speak up for the dog, who can’t speak for himself.We get this all the time at the vet, that is when me, a tech, or the vet steps in and takes the dog away from the owner, not out of the room, just at a safe distance and explain that hitting the dog is not getting any of us anywhere.Ask the person what they think they are accomplishing by hitting the dog. That usually leaves them speechless:) 

  • Clarissa Fallis

    There was only one time I ever hit my dog. I live on a main highway and he bolted out of the door to chase a squirrel that ran across the road. I screamed his name and ran after him. Once I caught up to him, I gave him a whack on the butt for doing something that could cause his death in the future. This was before we had begun training within the first couple of months of his life with me. Needless to say, we started the next day! He now waits at the door for me to hook him up and to give him a release command.  I thank God that there were no cars on the road at that particular moment on that particular day.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Total side note, but Clarissa’s story reminded me of one of my own:

      I once had a dog that pushed the screen door open one day (forgot to lock it) and immediately ran out into the street — which did not usually have traffic, but at that very moment had a car speeding past. The dog was struck, but she survived, thankfully. The car never stopped.

  • Cindy Thiel

    People are just awful. That’s why I prefer the company of my pet! Animals should NEVER, EVER be hit for any reason!! They probably don’t even know why it’s happening, so it’s not like the behavior will stop. It’s cruel and those people should never have the privilege of a pet companion.

  • Sarah

    I admit that I have smacked my dog before. On the bum and not hard enough to make an audible sound. Dogs in packs discipline each other physically, I don’t think it is out of line for people to do the same. I won’t hesitate to spank my child either if that is what is required.

    The good news: My dog is extremely well behaved now and she knows that if I am upset enough to smack her bum, she must have done something really wrong. And she doesn’t do it again. Was it hard to do this when she was a puppy? Yes. Did I feel bad later? Yes. But not to long ago she went to a friend’s house. His wife, not a dog person, commented on what a pleasure she was to have around because she was so well behaved. However, in this instance in the article, clearly this dog had a problem with barking and this was not the first time the owner had hit the dog. Her solution was not working, and it is cruel to continue to punish a dog with methods that are not effective. In the same way I would not continue to spank my child for the same problem over and over again, I would not do this to my dog.

  • Liana GuitaBabe

    In resonse to David, Unfortunately that seems to be the case.  Tonight we dealt with a matter where the police was called due to one individual beating the crap out of another …same age…same gender…one has suffered head injury and facial trauma.  No charges were laid because the nose was not broken.  What kind of stupid world do we live in? 
    That is why I prefer the world of prevention.  We should not have to have broken anything for charges to be laid in an assault.  These were minors.
    Now when it comes to animals, we humans are supposed to be their protetors eventhough quite often they are our protectors.   Now in the case of an alleged “out of control” dog…well perhaps if one cannot deal with their animal then perhaps it’s time to take  a class on behavioural management  or adopt it out…
    I also encourage folks to take a first aid class for pets…having had this perhaps more people would be careful with not leaving their pets in hot cars or wacking them for being restless (usually a sign of medical distress). 
    Bottom line, let’s show more compassion to each other and respect and love the fact that we have been blessed with an opportunity to share a little uncoditional love. And it is NEVER ok to injure an animal.

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Good points, Liana. Thanks.

  • Ponigirl

    I would have stepped up and said something. I think the receptionist at the vets should have said something. That is not acceptable for any reason. If that had been a child would people have sat by and not said a word? I bet not. I am just appauled that someone would treat an animal like that. People like that should not have pets.

  • http://www.caninejournal.com/ Nikole Fairview

    This post illustrates the vast differences in attitudes that people have towards disciplining a dog. Personally, I think it is incredible that someone would even think about hitting their dog in such a public place as a vet office. Especially over something so silly as the dog barking. Of course a dog is going to make noise!

    While there are some people, even experts, who do advocate hitting a dog at certain times, it just does not seem like a good idea to me. There are much better ways to discipline and motivate a dog instead of using physical force.

  • SitsWithK9

    Just to start off I have raised many dogs and love them like family and from their actions they feel the same. While I do not agree with the reasoning behind the lady hitting her dog in this instance considering she at a vet with other dogs and they are going to bark especially if they are already uncomfortable. I do not like however how the OP set up the scenario since it was impressively biased even if if in some cases it wasnt explicitI do not agree that somehow hitting your dog or even your children is somehow evil or wrong when done in a disciplinary manner and within limits of what you would deal with yourself in their place. Hitting of your dogs in not for everyone, every animal, or every situation but in some cases it is warranted. In some cases this extreme coddling of animals and to a degree children(even though they are capable of understanding speech directly) causes more negative behavior than it stops in the long term. People always talk about how dogs will turn on you, fear you, ect. if you hit them and what not if you hit them but with how I do it I have never had my dog more than nip at me when I am doing something that annoys them(which makes me go oh sorry and stop).

    Dogs, like humans, are animals and arent so mentally and physically fragile that they will become overly aggressive or freak out towards you if you pop them a few times for doing something they shouldnt be doing. If they were truly that fragile then there would be no way dogs could interact with each other on the scale they do since even dogs who are close to each other will fight over something random from time to time without one dog even knowing what started it and then 30 minutes later be playing again. Positive reinforcement is all well and good in many cases but some dogs just like some people do not understand limitations without physical discomfort. Again I do accept that with humans that line is placed differently because they will understand their form of entertainment disappearing for a few days on a deeper level than a similar action taken against the dog.

    It is just ignorant in my opinion to label an act that causes no lasting or great physical or mental damage wrong when we know for a fact that different minds(dog, cat, human, ape, ect.) react to different stimuli differently and learn differently. It is even more ridiculous considering we as humans give each other time outs that last for years and that time out itself generally involves large amounts of assault if not getting beaten or worse.

  • brigitte

    Nobody, I repeat NOBODY should ever, ever hit a dog. I agree with Debbie; Some people not only do not deserve to share their lives with a dog, they do not deserve to live at all. At least not “unleashed” in society. They should be put under psychiatric monitoring and drugs-to be as fair as I can.

  • Beerahdihlow

    I would have calmly, without saying a word, walked over and smashed the lady’s cranius against the nearest super-hard surface I could find (i.e., a desk corner, particularly sturdy wall shelf etc.). Upon making sure her thick skull had received a lesson (not to mistreat a dog, cats and badly/untrained/self-righteous women are acceptable targets, canines are not) through kinetic energy (or two, or three; not everyone is as smart and learns as fast, so I am forced to provide remedial help, curse the No Idiot Left Behind Act). I would then, still silently, smack you upside the face and tell you loudly to “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND STOP BEING SO UPPITY, AND LEARN YOUR PLACE, WOMAN!”

    Part 2: A dog should never be hit with a large amount of force, ever. It should be a crime to maliciously assault an animal (dogs, cats do not count) with a penalty equal to or greater than doing so to a human. Some application of physical contact to correct behaviour in a dog is okay, but never should it be more than light, constant pressure in certain locations such as lightly pinning the dog on its back; lightly “nipping” the back of a dog’s neck like a mother or alpha would do is acceptable. Rapid and impulsive (violent too) strikes should never be used against a canine (woman and cats excepted).

    I realize that some dogs are large and light pressure may not be enough. A “choke-chain” may be necessary, but only in the most extreme aggressive dog cases where the animal is too large to control by hand should a chain be warranted and only for possibly dangerous behaviours (i.e., not benign ones that are merely annoying; such as barking or excessive licking) and only after all other options have been exhausted. Shock collars are simply disgusting and should be illegal for canine use (check out the show “Kenny vs. Spenny” where they challenge each other to “who can wear an electric bark collar the longest?”… Yea they are awful and borderline torture). However, shock collars and choke chains make acceptable, mostly safe and effective training aids for women and cats (good ways to stop nagging, whining, general b***hiness [censored for being improper for polite, ladylike company also reading this] as well as feelings of self-righteousness, and frequent double-standard setting, entitlement, constant attention seeking and finally: victim complex.)

    Long story short; if ANYONE (even Obama mixed with Jesus, mixed with God, mixed with Michael Jordan) laid so much as a baby finger on my little girl, my Lakeland Terrier, I would make them feel such pain that they would be offering anything just to die. And ain’t no buddy gon’ find them once they get put inna’ dem’ swamp.

    • Shino Kyoko

      Because beating someone is better then beating a dog.How you gonna’ teach someone it’s wrong to hit a dog when your doing it to someone else instead.Think about what your write before you wrote it.More violence certainly isn’t going to solve any problem.It’ll just breed more violence.

  • MarleysMom

    Hi, i have a 3 month old husky, (mixture of siberian/malamute) and for the past two days when we leave for an hour to two hours, hes been chewing holes in the wall (drywall). the holes are usually 2 inches in diameter and not even and inch in depth. but we cannot get him to stop. My boyfriend hits him about 3-4 times (slap kinda). Today I lost it…. Marley (puppy), chewed an electrical cord(thank god hes okay!) and my boyfriend had already hit him for the hole and once he saw the cord, he hit him once on the head and three times in the side. I blew up and said that he shouldnt even be hitting our puppy at all, and it caused a big arguement! He says thaat he’s raised more dogs than I have, and i believe it, but I just dont feel like hitting is right. is there anything i can do so he stops chewwing on cords and the wall? i know its teething and he had tons of toys, i give him a frozen bone when we leave, is he chewing cause he misses us, or is teething? i just want another way of punishment so my poor baby Marley doesnt get hit numerous times anymore.

    • Clarissa Fallis

      Hi there, im the trainer here at PetsAdviser. First off, your boyfriend isnt helping the situation at all when he hits the dog. If you don’t catch the behavior in the act, you cannot efficiently punish the dog. Poor Marley doesnt understand that the chewing is causing him to be hit. If your boyfriend continues to hit the dog when he comes in the door, you are setting the dog up to be terrified of your boyfriend which could escalate into fear based aggression. aka, he may -and probaby will- get bitten. It may be true that he has raised many dogs but the way he is working with the dog is very outdated and has proven to cause more harm and damage than good.

      The first thing you need to understand is that both Huskys and Malamutes are working breeds. It sounds like your dog is having a reaction to being understimulated over top of possible separation anxiety. To stop this problem, I highly, HIGHLY suggest getting Marley into a group puppy class in your area. A trainer that is right there with you can help you address any behavior problem. If he is chewing through electrical wires and the wall, and you are only gone for a few hours, crate him! Dogs can be crated comfortably for up to 8 hours as long as they are getting the needed excersie. I suggest getting a plastic that is just big enough for him to lay down, sit down, and turn around. He will feel much more comfortable, I promise. Dogs are den animals and if you introduce the crate correctly and create a positive association with the crate, I bet he will be going into the crate on his own. DO NOT use the crate as a punishment location, remember, you want to create a positive association.

      Other than crating him while you are gone, address the fact that he is a working breed. Adequate exercise is essential. Give him a good walk before you leave so he will be ready for a nap. You need to also stimulate his brain by getting him games that he can play with. I suggest the Premier Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom as well as a KONG. Feed him his morning food in the Mushroom and give him a peanut butter filled KONG while you are gone.

      To address the separation anxiety, you could try a Thundershirt. They are proven to help dogs with anxiety and calm them down.

      Though you absolutely need, I cant stress this enough, you NEED to get him into a puppy class. Puppy class will help socialize him, stimulate his brain, and the trainer can you with this problem. This is such a critical time in his learning, if your boyfriend continues to hit him, there will be extreme damage that will cause you to have a boat load more of behavior problems in the future.

      Its much better to avoid the problem than to punish it after its happened. If you want to punish him, you would have to catch him in the act.

      Please let me know how things go, Im happy to help in anyway I can.

      Clarissa Fallis

      fallisc172@gmail.com

      • Lis

        KONGs are great! My family’s only dog at the moment just turned 13. We’ve given her a KONG with a treat in it every morning (after she does her business) since she was 3 months old. She still goes nuts and gets so excited! If we forget, she will follow us around and stare at us until we remember!

  • Magistra Ygraine Mitchell

    If someone is so oblivious to the rules of public civilized behavior, we can only imagine, in terror, what they are like in private.
    As for the poster who feels we all need to see everything before we judge, the world they live in would be full of empty prisons and bereft of justice for victims. Deduction, reason, and judgment are nature’s gifts.

  • Babymama

    I am new to this site. I came to find answers. I have a 3month old puppy. I admit to “hitting” my dog. I do not condone beating, hitting out of anger, or excessive force. I usually use my finger or flick of the wrist to let her know I mean business. And it usually works. In the case of the woman in the office, it obviously did not. If it did not work the first time, it won’t work the second, third…etc. Find a different way to discipline THAT WORKS!

    As a comment, many of you responded. I read most of all your posts, but did not get much help. Most responded a reaction to the story (not actually answering the question). Some were apparently here to complain about others response.

  • bentleyboo68

    it is NEVER okay to hit a dog in my opinion. that is the number one sign of an inexperienced or just plain cruel dog owner. it doesn’t teach the dog not to bark, it simply makes it terrified of it’s owner. concerning the person in the comments who is defending the woman… even if some of the details of this story are opinionated, one fact that cant be overlooked is that this woman slapped the dog until it cried out in pain. that is wrong. it makes me SO mad. the vast majority of society are idiots when it comes to animal care, thats why there are so many dogs in shelters and on the streets. if they arent taken care of properly, they will have behavioral problems. they are living creatures. this story just ticks me off. i hope she didnt keep the dog- didnt sound like she cared for it very much anyway. a loving dog owner would never slap their pooch.

  • dogsneverlie

    If someone has to hit, strike, paddle, spank, pop or any other word you want to use the truth is you do it because you think it’s the right way to train or punish your dog. And it’s not right. Since the age of the internet no one has any good excuse why they continue to do that other then either ignorance, laziness or irreverence for their dog. There are so many tapes, books, or my choice is a good training group or club. And they are everywhere and the classes are so much different and progressive then long ago. And before any of you get on your excuse band wagon, let me tell you this . I use to hit my dogs, what seams like a life time ago. I started out as a very “heavy handed person with my dogs back in the 70s. But, I didnt like the way my dogs looked at me. So I began searching for better ways in 1980. I can tell you I can’t remember the last time I even raised my hand to one of my dogs let alone followed through. Four of my 5 dogs are rescues and came with all types of baggage directly associated to being hit by past owners. The time spent with me ranges from 10 yrs to 1 year. I find it interesting watching the associations to what my “hand” means slowly fade with time and lots of re-conditioning. This last poor boy I took on had been hit or had his nose twisted so many times that anytime you touch him from his shoulders forward he’d put his mouth on your forearm and hold it so light I never it was his way of letting you know, ‘if you hurt me, I’m ready’ so you know his behavior has improved enough to have earned his Good Canine Citizen Title and 2 addition obedience titles. And I’ve not only never hit him, i had to undo all the times someone else did.
    It’s a good thing that woman in the waiting room didn’t run into me. I do love what Kristine said to her. Very classic. Don’t hit your dogs! Period the end.

    • Robin Miura

      I agree! My Akita has never been struck by me since I rescued him at about 18 months old. He also has his Canine Good Citizen certification and gets complimented everywhere we go on how well behaved he is.

  • chwang1982

    I experienced similar situation once. But I was the
    victim of verbal abuse by another person, so forgive me for not siding with you
    to make such comment. I have a golden retriever, one day I took him out for a
    walk and he stay on the grass and eat the poop nearby, so my friend use two
    piece of mental click sound to scare him from eating the poop. The dog was frightened like every dog would be frightened when we open umbrella. Then I heard a really loud sound from far distance and a woman screamed, don’t do that, don’t’ ever do that. As we walk quietly passing them, she continues to verbal abuse us and saying things like : “how do you feel if I use a gun to scare you or train you. “We knew it wasn’t the most considerate way to teach my dog not to eat the poop,but we certainly don’t want to put up with her continues verbal abuse especially when she said that she knew where we live so we call the cop on her.I just wish people wouldn’t jump into conclusion so quickly. If you are verbally insulting a woman who mistreated his dog then you are no better person. If you really felt the dog was mistreated you should call the police or have an authority to deal with that. Don’t start heated conversation or say something hurtful.

  • LabLove

    I hit my dog, it doesn’t happen often, but sometimes dogs need a quick smack to get their heads straight. As one poster said, dogs discipline other dogs with physical force, so to say the dog has no idea whats going on is really quite ridiculous. Sorry not all of us are super experienced dog trainers with super compliant animals. Dogs can be stubborn and hard headed no matter how hard you work with them, but a good nip can put them in their place right quick. Beating any animal on the other hand is unacceptable, and if you can’t recognize the line between discipline and abuse then you shouldn’t be hitting anything ever.

  • ajax4ever

    I am hesitant to say that it is okay to hit a dog to correct its behavior. Generally, hitting anything (be it animal, person, or object) is borne out of anger and/or frustration. If I am angry enough at a dog’s behavior that I physically want to strike it then I step back and take a few deep breaths before approaching the issue again. I have, however, grabbed a dog by it’s collar more than once and brought it down to the ground on its’ side, or back until it calmed down enough to be released. Generally, if one of my dogs or fosters are not responding to verbal commands, simply touching them is enough to get their attention and to stop their behavior. Or even spraying a water bottle to deter unwanted behaviors.

    My family fosters nine dogs at a time for a rescue, and I can honestly say that we have had dogs with all sort of issues from destructive behaviors to dog aggression. Never has the answer to correct these behaviors been to hit the dog….especially not to the point where it verbally cries out in pain. Hitting the dog to correct a behavior, repeatedly when it has not stopped or deterred the behavior simply shows ignorance and hitting borne out of frustration.

    All of our personal dogs and fosters have been spayed or neutered, and only one of them is overweight (because of back problems and exercise restrictions). It is an annoying myth that spaying and neutering causes obesity in pets. The same thing that causes the vast majority of obesity in humans is the same thing that causes it in animals; lack of exercise and overeating.

    Some of the comments have criticized the author for pointing out that the dog was overweight as if it was damning evidence that she is a bad pet owner. I am not saying that the woman was willfully abusing her dog because it was obese, but such a degree of obesity shows ignorance or at least indifference to the dog’s overall health. It appears more likely than not that the dog’s weight was not caused by medical issues when you consider the woman’s other behaviors at the office. Either the lady was ignorant, severely lacking common sense, or willfully negligent and abusive. The first can be corrected, and the last I cannot stand.

  • writepro

    First off, Cesar Milan DOESN’T HIT DOGS! He corrects their behavior by touch; when you see him use his foot with that behind the body ‘kick’ it’s not hurting the animal; it’s a method to instantly bring the dogs attention “away” from what is making then anxious, nervous or insecure.
    There are no times to actually “hit” any animal in the sense of hitting to hurt or correct because the animal doesn’t understand it anyway- it could lead to having a fearful pet. But, in behavior modification/training a young pup, horse or other large animal, respect must be taught and that may sometimes mean being forceful otherwise the animal will not respect you and might even think you prey.
    So as there is no time to hit an animal in anger like the lady you mention, there are time when a little forcefulness is necessary.
    I show Collies and have a Chihuahua who thinks he his trainer, but large or small, an animal learns and behaves because you have “taught” them from a young age what is and what is not acceptable, and they as “your pack” respect you for it as their “Pack Leader.”

    • Jayne FireDreamer Matthews Mis

      As a qualified dog trainer and canine behaviourist I do agree to some extend with Cesar, as in being calm and confident when handling dogs. However, I have also gained a Diploma with Distinction in Canine Aggression and the way he treats fearful aggression is totally wrong! He insists on ‘so called’ submission and yet everything that dog is trying to say with his body, eyes, ears, facial expressions and whole body posture is saying ‘you’re scaring me, I’m not going to offer any behaviour because anything I do may be wrong. It’s therefore safer for me to pretend you’re not there and get involved in anything other than making eye contact with you!’ That’s why the dog looks away or walks away, not because he’s decided that Cesar is the ‘pack leader’ which is a total myth anyway. Please read Raymond and Lorna Coppinger’s book ‘Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behaviour and Evolution’ or even David Mech’s latest offering on the ranking system of a ‘true’ wild roaming wolf pack, rather than one that has been put together by humans in a ‘so called’ wild wolf pack, bearing in mind that these are always in enclosures, regardless of how big they are and the fact that they generally are not related in any way, shape or form. A true wild roaming wolf pack consists of family and any ‘submission’ is offered, not demanded. The true ‘Alphas’ being the parents, do not need to force anything, because their ‘children’ respect them and offer it anyway. The most an Alpha wolf will sometimes do is ‘muzzle’ a member of the pack. Muzzling means gently placing their mouth over another wolf’s mouth, not with any force and certainly not to prove anything.

  • seentomuch

    having seen true animal cruelty more times then i can count in my life, i have these questions.

    was the air conditioning left on in the car? If the dog is animal aggressive bringing it into the lobby with other animals will only excite the dog more, thus raising the body temp more.

    When the dog yelped was it pained or startled? It could of been extremely focused on the other animals.

    This person did care she was seeking help for her pet. You admitted to playing vet and waiting until you seen a wound on your pet. Your pet had to wait 24 hrs for medical care.

    Did anyone in the office offer the pet a distraction, ie snacks, water, or a cool towel to drape over the dog.

    If being overwieght was cruelty, alot of parents would be in jail.

    Let’s no judge people

  • Jenna

    I think dogs should be treated like children, it’s alright to spank them but it’s not alright to beat them and yell at them. People often mistake animal cruelty with initiating leadership with your dog, and yes sometimes a not-so-hard pat is what some dogs need to fully understand their owner is the boss. In my mind spanking a dog does a lot less damage than yelling and screaming at it.

    • Robin Miura

      I do agree with you! I researched Akitas before I rescued one and know they are sensitive to loud voices/tones and they are (at least mine is). My mom was yelling at Kobe Bryant on TV (my dog’s name is Kodi) and he was so upset because he thought she was screaming at him…poor thing. I do not hit my dog ever but I have used my touch to get his attention if he is hyper-focused on something.

  • Marie Campbell

    I think it would be O.K. to hit a dog if they were biting someone or another animal and you were trying to get them to stop. I mean seriously biting – not play biting.

  • ConcernedForAnimals

    THANK GOD YOU TOLD HER OFF! SHE DEFINITELY SHOULDN’T EVER OWN ANY ANIMALS OF ANY KIND. ACTUALLY WHAT SHE DID IS A FELONY IN MANY STATES. WE ALL NEED TO STEP UP AND TAKE ACTION WHEN WE SEE THESE HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN!

  • GetAGrip

    Why do several of you make the generalization that if you spank your dog that makes a you a “cruel pet owner”? You wouldn’t say that about or to a parent of a human child. Spanking your pet is not animal cruelty in the slightest. Beating, torturing, and otherwise abusing an animal for whatever sick, twisted reason is cruelty. You can’t just jump to the conclusion that a pet owner doesn’t love and take care of their animal simply because they spank their pet and you don’t agree with it…

    I don’t agree with the woman with the overheated pet, but I do think that most of you need to mind your own business and leave parenting to the parent; no matter if they walk on two legs or four.

    • Bianca Arlette

      You might feel differently if you were the child or pet on the receiving end of said “parenting” skills.

    • Jayne FireDreamer Matthews Mis

      As a qualified Dog Trainer and Behaviourist, hitting a dog should only be acceptable in the most extreme of circumstances, such as if the dog is attacking a child! You may think you know why your dog is being spanked,but does your dog? If you spank your dog because it’s chewed something it shouldn’t, your timing may be off to the extent that you have actually hit him for no longer chewing the item! Timing is of the essence with any form of training, but physical punishment during training to change behaviour is just ignorance. It’s called anthropomorphism guys, putting human emotions onto an animal. I get clients all the time saying that their dog knows what they want, but refuses to obey! NEWSFLASH: Look up generalisation and you’ll realise that the dog actually doesn’t have a clue what you want of him.

  • Kimberly Diamond

    i wolud got up and started hitting her

  • Leslie

    I only hit my dog once. My grandma played with him and it took her quite long to throw the ball, so he got impatient and attacked her. She wasn’t badly injured, but I got really angry and hit him several times (I didn’t hit him hard, though). He never did it again.

  • dg

    i wouldn’t have waited for the last smack to come i would a gotten up yelled at the lady then smacked her back and see she likes pain

  • Kevin

    I don’t like animal cruelty at all… but surely a firm hand is sometimes required? If this woman was beating her dog just because the dog was barking then thats out of order – but I wouldn’t go over and intervene unless it was really out of hand. It upsets me to see any dog upset, but how can one truely say you should never hit an animal? We are humans – and we are an arrogant race who think we know what dogs think. Is positive training really better than punishment based? And pls don’t point me to “scientific studies” which as far as Im concerned are inconclusive. NASA still get things wrong everyday!

    Rant over… and again, I hate animal cruelty but I hate it more that some people think they know it all.

    What I really wanted to say is this… what would you had a big dog who sunk his teeth into you or your child and would not let go? Is that still a non-physical situation where you try a no-mark? I think not. We are humans, they are animals, and sometimes they require to be treated like so.

    • Bianca Arlette

      Is positive training really better than punishment based? YES. Not just because results are long-lasting but also because the relationship that is built during training is based on trust rather than pain and fear. Surely any compassionate person should see that?

  • Lauren

    People are disgusting. My heart breaks for that fat little Doxie and all the others like it. As far as when it’s ok to hit a dog: when I first read the headline of this story, I thought “That must be the shortest article ever – because the answer is ‘NEVER’. End of story.” It breaks my heart that so many people out there (Cesár Milan included!) just don’t understand that. Kudos to you for calling that woman out, and letting her know just how angry you were about the situation. In situations like that, people should NEVER be afraid to speak up and take any action necessary (I’m so glad to hear your vet got involved & took control!)
    All that being said, I’m aware that this article is well over a year old, and I noticed a link on the page entitled “A Tribute To Sissy” – I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your baby girl. I didn’t click to read the story (it would just break my heart) but I wanted to send my condolences. Nothing hurts more than losing a loved one, but dogs are worth it, because nothing makes you feel better than the unconditional love they share.

    • http://petsadviser.com/ Kristine Lacoste

      Hi Lauren,

      I agree the answer should have been never, but judging by the replies some people feel differently. I am glad the article gave people a chance to discuss the issue further.

      I appreciate your comment about Sissy. It was difficult to say goodbye to her, but I am glad I returned in time so we could spend her last days together. Thank you for your reply and kind words.

  • BlueNosePerfect

    You’re all acting like children

  • moose

    when is ok? never

  • Woofus

    I don’t at all like the behavior you’ve described. But 3 times in my life, I’ve stood up to bullies for others who couldn’t. EVERY time, I’ve been told I overreacted and only made things worse. Since you were in the vet’s office, let them take care of it. You’ll find yourself in less trouble in the long run. Now if you were in the dog park, by all means have a group discussion with everyone around. But sadly, it’s her right to train her dog.

  • Erik Nielsen

    Ive slapped my German Shepherd a couple of times. Nothing to the extreme of beating him, but I have given him a firm tap on the cheek when, for instance, I bring him to my uncles house and he tries to bully Knuckle (my uncles pug). Knuckle is clearly scared of Salem and Salem recognizes this and bullies him. When he paws Knuckle, I will give him a firm whack and let him know his behavior is unacceptable. Having said that, I love my dog. I cuddle with him. I play with him all day. I take him everywhere with me. I come home on my short break to just hang out with him. Does he piss me off? Yes. Do I discipline him? Yes. He is a big dog and I have a bigger responsibility in making sure he is brought up right. Its also not going to break him, or hurt him, to give him a love tap across the cheek every now and again when he steps out of line. The punishment fits the crime.

  • mack

    I pop my dog if he’s out of line and being aggressive at home or in public and I also reward his good behavior with treats but He’s mostly spoiled.. I’d also pop you right in the face if you got close to me and my family and in my business you quack.

  • Raej

    I don’t generally hit my dogs but I have before as a last resort. For example my female Standard Poodle is super smart and rather devious and she would steal my shoes and try to eat them every so often because she just loves them so much. She knows it’s wrong and waits a couple months before going at it again. I caught her one day and grabbed the shoe and smacked her nose with it. Not hard enough to actually be considered violent but enough to let her know bite the shoe and something bad can happen like the shoe will bite you back… she hasn’t chewed on any since so I’d say it worked. That’s a last resort and I would never strike them to inflict pain… infact, right after I smacked her nose with the shoe she gave me the “oops” face and looked at me for a sign. I said “come here”, gave a nice ear rub and she fallowed be around the house being a sweety as if to undo her mess-up. I think it really depends on the relationship you have with your dog. With my female standard, it would have been far more evil to make her walk on the left side of the stairs where there is no wall then to smack her nose with a shoe as ever since she was puppy she absolutely dreads stairs with no wall on the sides. She plays very rough with my other standard so I’ve seen her willing handle a good play fight. My male standard would never touch anything of mine as a chew toy, he’s super sensitive to verbal commands. He learned at a young age not to when I made him sit next to the toy for a half hour without touching it. She also underwent that process but it didn’t work if I wasn’t in the room to say the command “no” if she tried to go at it. To answer the “what would I do in that situation?”, well, I’d probably just try to talk with her about it. Some people just don’t know any better and I’d rather help them out so they become better owners first. If they truly are horrible dog owners I don’t think they’d be at the vet attempting to care for their dog. When my dogs bark I say “no bark” and they usually stop. Sometimes my two will get too excited though and won’t listen to me so I’ll poke their side to make their attention go back to me and I’ll turn them around and give them something better to do whether it be a good belly rub or a fun toy to chew on. Distraction, I find, is the best method when their attention is on something else and they are either barking or acting in an unwanted behavior towards whatever their attention happens to be on. For anyone who is completely against hitting an animal, please know that their is a HUGE difference as “smacking to enforce correction” and “hitting violently out of frustration”. When I worked with horses, as youngers they like to bite and nibble like dogs which is horrible if they happen to do it to say… your back. So you smack their nose every time they do it. Do you hit them upside the head? no…. however, I have had an instance where a horse would rear to try to turn around and go back to the barn (and I mean, just simply riding away from the barn… away from his food). Typically you would just kindly urge them onward, give them head room in the reins and squeeze to go forwards because they can’t rear if they are moving forwards. Well, he didn’t care and got more aggressive about it which isn’t safe. Rearing is never safe, he could lose balance, fall backwards and land on you and/or break his back. Next time I was prepared with a crop .. So when he reared I hit between his ears with the crop when he was at his highest from on his back. He never reared again. So you see, there are instances where a hit is the best option but it should NEVER be abused. Ever.

  • Oh Brother

    If you want to change somebody’s behavior don’t be come across as self righteous. When you do, you just seem like you are salving your own wounds and coverig your own sins and failures by being holier than the next guy. You don’t change behaviour of a person by publicly humiliating them. That is people abuse. If you thought that she shouldn’t hit her dog, you should have been persuasive and offered her alternatives with kindness. A loud smack does not animal cruelty make but a fierce public attack that humiliates a person who doesn’t know better is cruelty to people. Cruelty is cruelty.

  • Lexi

    I love my cat sooooo much! I mean hes a little devil…. A lot but I still love him and I admit I tap him on the butt but very lightly and nicely tell him “don’t do that Leo” but he still pees on the floor right next to his little box…. But I would never! No matter what he did do what that lady did

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Keep in mind that urinating outside the litter box could be a sign of a health problem.

  • Lexi

    Litter box not little box oops Lol!

  • Bob

    It took me one time with my dog. (Rottweiler) He chewed my shoes up when he was about 5 months old. I grabbed him very sternly and shook him once to show him that he was powerless, and I smacked him twice as hard as I could with an open hand. I have never had to hit him again. He comes instantly when I call him, he listens to every command I give him. If I have a cook out or something and we are eating I can bring him outside, and he will lay down exactly where I tell him to and stay there and not bother any guests by begging for food. He is not fearful of me, because I am very kind to him. Anyone who ridicules me I don’t care I can guarantee my dog is better behaved than yours. He comes directly to me no matter what; I can walk him without a leash. (I don’t, but I know that I could), and I am kind to him. He goes fishing with me, hiking, and running. Other people may have there tactics for training their dogs that’s good for you my technique works for me. He is my dog a valued member of my family. I don’t mean to write offensively, but I already know I will receive a barrage of messages from people who will want my head. Anyone who has a problem with my training I would love to challenge them to see whose dog is more obedient. We could put steaks infront of our dogs tell them to sit and stay. I promise you mine won’t eat the steak unless I tell him to. Well yours probably wouldn’t either because you probably “trained” your dog to be a vegetarian.

    • darcy

      Sounds like your relationship is based on pain and fear instead of love and trust. ( to quote another poster). Wow. You are the epitome of “Master “.

  • Cade

    The only way my dogs have learned is being hit with newspaper, you are blowing this way out of proportion, its none of your business what she does with her dog

  • dalek1099dw

    If you want to consider dogs like humans like how it wouldn’t be seen OK to hit a human and would usually be considered assault, then they must behave like a human and if a human started yelling very loudly and wouldn’t stop they would be removed from the premises and possibly arrested for causing public nuisance and yet you were OK with the dog barking loudly?

    Another important point to remember is that dogs need to know their place as part of a pack and human owners must establish themselves as the Alpha of the pack and the dog was disobeying their owner so punishment must be administered so that the dog understands its not the Alpha.

    Anyone who says that the Dog won’t understand not to bark anymore is talking rubbish, chillis are hot so that predators will remember not to eat them because it hurts them so in the animal kingdom it can be shown that pain can be associated ,with learning not to do that action otherwise chills would never have developed this adaptation.