Your dog tested your limits…
You weren’t up for anything, so you beat him.
Now, you feel bad for your pooch. Fido didn’t deserve such a reaction…
And there’s one more problem…
Your dog’s now scared of you.
Oh, how could you make it like the way before?
Continue reading to discover:
- Why you should never hit your dog ever again.
- How to use counterconditioning to a dog that’s scared of you.
- 13 tips to follow when your dog gets scared of you when you beat him.
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
- My dog is scared of me because I beat him – 13 essential tips
- #1: Never hit him again
- #2: Recognize your dog’s fear
- #3: Wait and remain patient
- #4: Give your dog the space that he needs
- #5: Follow your dog’s lead
- #6: Play with him
- #7: Watch your tone when he’s around
- #8: Prevent abrupt movements
- #9: Schedule a dog playdate…for you
- #10: Use counter conditioning
- #11: Seek the help of a professional
- #12: Manage your stress as well
- #13: Cut yourself some slack
My dog is scared of me because I beat him – 13 essential tips
#1: Never hit him again
Violence is never the answer.
You might be here because you realize that.
And that you might be feeling bad already…
So, if you want your pooch to stop being scared of you, this is where to start.
Make sure of one thing:
Don’t ever hit or beat your dog ever again.
It makes you both feel something negative.
Your pooch would feel fear, while you might feel regretful or guilty.
Aside from being scared of you, here are more negative effects of force in your dog:
Effect #1: It doesn’t guarantee that it’ll reduce or remove unwanted behavior.
That’s more reason why beating isn’t worthy at all.
Effect #2: Your dog would learn not to display bad habits in front of you. But he’ll continue doing it when you’re not around.
Effect #3: It could lead to a more aggressive dog.
It’s called ‘defensive aggression’ by experts.
And it won’t just be your problem. Everyone in your house could be affected by this hostility…
Effect #4: With a more aggressive pooch, a bite might be more likely to occur.
It’s called ‘fear biting.’
It could happen when your canine feels scared. With the feeling that he needs to protect himself, he’ll be compelled to bite.
Effect #5: Your canine could get injuries, bruises, and wounds from the beating.
It’s also bad for your dog’s mental health. He could develop anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Those 5 aren’t the only effects of beating your dog. There are a lot more that’s different from one dog to another.
So, promise this to yourself:
The last time that you hit your dog would indeed be the last.
Vets and behaviorists from this study don’t recommend punishment at all.
What they prefer is using positive reinforcement techniques. They also advocate counterconditioning, which I’ll explain further in the article…
Mild punishment could be bad for your dog, too
You might be asking:
“There’s such thing?
What exactly is ‘mild punishment’?”
According to VCA Hospitals, here’s a list of mild punishments in dogs:
- Keeping eye contact.
- Pushing your canine away.
- Talking to your dog (scolding him).
Warning: Mild punishments could only encourage bad behaviors in dogs. It’s because your pup would treat those as a win.
A win for what?
For your attention, as they successfully made you focus on them.
Moreover, mild punishments make your dog ‘pessimistic.’
Yes, that’s what this research says.
The experiment involved 3 groups of dogs, and it went like this:
The researchers put 2 dog bowls in the investigation. One bowl has sausage (positive location), while the other is empty (negative location).
|Dog group||Reaction to the experiment|
They’re dogs from reward-based schools.
|They excitedly approached the food in front of them.|
They’re both from reward-based and aversive-based schools.
|Dogs in this group showed stress-related behaviors. They also feel tenser.|
They’re dogs from aversive-based schools.
|They display more stress by walking slowly towards the bowls. Plus, they panted, which is a sign of anxiety or fear.|
You might also be interested in: 13 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Hit Your Dog (Check #7)
#2: Recognize your dog’s fear
This is part of being sensitive on behalf of your dog’s feelings.
You must recognize your dog’s fear of you.
Acknowledge his body language that communicates panic.
Here are the signs of fear in dogs, according to PetMD:
- Trying to escape.
- Refusal to do activities with you.
- Panting without physical exertion.
- Nervousness is shown through being jumpy.
And with recognition, understanding must come second.
You might already know, but for the sake of being clear, here it goes:
Your dog fears you because you used force on him.
Such is a normal reaction to that experience.
The MSDVM tells us that fear is the natural reaction to an actual or perceived threat.
Continue reading: 7 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Is Acting Scared + Tips
#3: Wait and remain patient
Yet again, every dog is different from one another.
Some dogs easily move on, while others take their time…
Despite that, it’s known that dogs can forget easily.
But, there’s no definite amount of time to give as to when they’ll do so…
It could be a few hours or a few days.
It depends on your pooch.
A dog’s memory
In this study, dogs’ episodic memory is investigated.
First, the subjects were trained to imitate their parents.
Then, researchers ask these dogs to repeat those behaviors at different times:
|The time between training and recalling||Dogs that were able to repeat the behavior|
|After a minute||83.3%|
|After an hour||35.3%|
With that, it’s evident that dogs tend to lose the memory of certain events over time.
So, you’re left with one thing to do:
Remain patient with your pooch who might be trying to move on.
Your bond, if it’s scarred due to the event, might take time to repair on your pup’s side.
#4: Give your dog the space that he needs
Being patient isn’t the end…
You must give your dog the space that he needs as well.
It’s just like in humans.
Being alone might help someone think clearly and might calm them down. Dogs feel the same way, too.
With that, it’s acceptable to let your dog be for a while.
Why your dog needs space:
- He needs to get over the shock from your reaction.
- What you may have done is a horrible experience to try and come out of.
- He’s surprised by the fact that despite your connection, you did what you did.
You might also want to check out: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Avoiding You (All Of A Sudden)
#5: Follow your dog’s lead
Think about something you incredibly fear…
When’s the last time you faced it?
How hard is it to come to terms with it?
Moreover, have you moved on from it, or only planning to do so?
Regardless of your answers, there’s but one important thing…
No one’s obligated to tell you to face your fear right here and now.
It’s up to you when and how you’ll do so.
And in this situation, it’s your dog’s fear that you’re going to deal with.
So, it’s up to him when he’ll be ready…
With that, treat this as an extension of being patient and giving your dog some space.
Yes, you’re still on the patience and waiting game…
It’s because you should follow your dog’s lead when it comes to reconciliation.
Wait for him to come to you.
When they do, it might not be the same at first, but your pup’s ready to trust you again…
Don’t break that trust anymore!
Once they give you that second chance, it doesn’t stop there.
Don’t do anything big yet.
Test the waters with your pooch. Familiarize yourself with things that he’s not comfortable with yet.
Take things gradually…
Repairing everything with your pooch might take time. That’s the reality about it….
#6: Play with him
Oh, he finally approached you?
Once they do, you might experience 1 of these 2 things:
The first one is he’s totally ready to engage with you again.
The second one is him walking on thin ice around you.
He might still be a little scared of you, but he’s willing to finally give you the chance…
Whichever it is, it puts playing with him back on the table.
Remember: Regardless of whether he’s fully ready or not, keep plays a little calm at first.
It might be a difficult thing to do…
“Play while remaining calm?”
It sounds absurd, but it’s possible.
It includes subtle things like find-the-toy, cuddles, and engaging with him as they chew a toy.
Any play that you know won’t trigger any fearful reactions would do.
Moreover, playing with your dog has many benefits for your relationship with him.
Your dog highly cares about playing. And when you play with him, he knows you care about him…
During the activity, trust is rebuilt, fun is experienced, and memories are kept.
Did you know? Choosing an activity you both enjoy could really help in repairing your relationship.
Take it from this study:
Dogs and humans who are compatible with activity preferences experience more benefits.
It says there that mutually enjoying activities with your dog could:
- Lower stress levels.
- Make you and your dog happier.
- Decrease aggressive tendencies.
- Most of all, reduce fearful behaviors.
#7: Watch your tone when he’s around
I mentioned the word ‘sensitive’ in tip #2. I explained the first part of practicing that word in that section.
Here’s a different way to be careful around your scared pooch:
You have to watch your tone with him.
You have to, even when he’s just around, and you’re not really speaking to him…
That’s because loud and sudden sounds could trigger your dog’s fear.
If they already fear your presence, speaking in a harsh voice could make things worse.
Moreover, the Merck Vet Manual states that dogs have a natural fear of loudness. That’s why they get scared of fireworks and construction noises…
So, keep it low for a while and watch your tone around him.
If you’re speaking to him, use a calm, soft, and intimate voice.
#8: Prevent abrupt movements
In anticipation of a slap, others would already react. They might close that one eye on the side that the slap’s coming from…
I give this example to describe the situation that your dog is in.
But with him, the anticipation he’s reacting to is getting hit or beaten.
That’s why if your dog is scared of you for beating him, you must prevent abrupt movements.
Such motions could cause your dog to be startled. They might even flinch all of a sudden.
It’s because they might recall the punishment.
The wound of the episode might reopen and might make your dog suddenly paranoid.
It’ll make things worse for your already-fearful pooch.
Here are gestures to avoid when your scared canine is around:
- Hugging him tightly.
- Running towards him.
- Lifting your hands as if to smack him.
- Suddenly talking when you’re on his back. This will startle him.
- The sudden sounds of things (heavy boxes, silverware, or books) falling that you lost your grip on.
#9: Schedule a dog playdate…for you
You know to yourself you won’t EVER hit your dog again…
C’mon, you love dogs…
And it feels so bad to have done that to your pooch.
Here, you could show that love to your scared canine.
However, not directly at him for a while…
Here’s exactly what you can do:
Invite a friend of yours over who has a dog as well. If you have a multi-dog household, the first part might not be necessary anymore.
Your goal would be to show your fearful fur baby that you’re still friendly with dogs.
So, play with another dog and let your scared pooch watch.
If he joins in, then more fun.
It shows that he’s slowly building the confidence back…
Make sure to keep the interaction positive and the atmosphere fun.
Show your fur baby that dogs, including him, could still trust you.
#10: Use counter conditioning
Counterconditioning is the method that professionals advocate for.
According to vets, this method aims to change your dog’s reaction to fear.
What’s the goal of this technique?
It’s to make your dog learn that what they fear can lead to something positive.
So, you have to make your dog learn this:
That being with you (his fear) could be a positive experience.
How can you pull this off?
In this method, you’d be making use of treats.
And it can take a lot of treats…
Let’s call this exact technique for this situation:
The walking treat dispenser…
Every time you pass by your pooch, drop a treat near him.
Hence the name…
This makes your pup think that when you’re near him, you mean to do no harm. In fact, you’re there to give him something he wants…
After a few treats, your pup won’t be startled when you walk by.
He might be excited when you do. That’s because you’re now associated with treats.
#11: Seek the help of a professional
If your dog’s fear persists, it might be time to consider this…
It might be best to first talk to a vet.
Moreover, they could also check if your dog has any internal bleeding.
Then, you could ask the vet for a recommended animal behaviorist. If you prefer, you could do the research yourself.
What’s an animal behaviorist?
They’re trained professionals that study and analyze an animal’s behavior.
After they do, they create a specific response and plan of action for the situation.
Those well-crafted systems aim to create positive behavioral changes that your dog needs.
#12: Manage your stress as well
Fear, stress, anger…
Those are all very powerful emotions.
It’s because they’re infectious.
So, if you’re feeling 1 or 2 or all of those things, your pooch can be infected by it.
According to this study, dogs could mirror the stress level of their human parents.
Put that over his already-existing fear of you due to the punishment he received…
You must know how sad that is to be experienced by your dog.
Or say you aren’t really short-tempered…
But on that particular day, you’re very stressed and worried about things. You didn’t have the strength to deal with what you had to deal with your dog…
So, there goes…
How could you prevent such from happening again?
You might have to manage your stress around your already-scared dog.
When you’re feeling those emotions I mentioned, don’t bottle them up.
Instead, find a healthy release so that your dog doesn’t take the fall.
You can do things like:
- Taking a reflective walk.
- Redirecting your energy into running.
- Applying that stamina to your workout.
- Diverting your focus and energy into cleaning.
- Using calming strategies like deep breaths and closing your eyes.
Not only would your pooch appreciate you for doing these…
It’s also a healthy decision that you’ll make for yourself.
It’s a win-win situation for you and Fido.
#13: Cut yourself some slack
You’re human and you have your limits, too.
Plus, reading this article is a step you’re willing to take to improve the situation with your pooch.
If you’re really driven to change, it’s time to stop beating yourself up for the situation.
That’s because guilt and regret could turn into further resentment.
Such feelings are dangerous to hold as they’re persuasive. It might make you feel even worse.
Moreover, it could cause you to project that feeling towards anything else. And that includes your innocent dog…
If that happens, another episode of this mistake could occur again.
So, I’m going to repeat what I said at the start of the article:
Violence is never the answer.
That’s why kindness should prevail.
And not only is kindness towards your dog advocated, but you also have to be kind to yourself.