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Can you please stop hitting that puppy?

That’s what I asked the woman with her 10-week-old Golden X puppy.¬† I had just left Ahimsa to go get lunch and was about to turn right. Instead, I saw this woman and her young daughter up ahead with a puppy.¬† Cute! I thought, followed immediately by a mortified, “oh my Dog, did she just hit that puppy?”¬† She smacked it 3-4 times and then it moved away, and she hit it some more, probably yelling at the same time.¬†I couldn’t hear her from inside my car.

So I barreled over there in my car and slammed on the brakes beside her.¬† “Can you please stop hitting that puppy?” She looked up, slightly embarrassed, and tried to excuse the hitting, since the puppy had just jumped up and bitten her child.¬† I told her that there were lots of great ways to get the puppy to stop biting, and I’d love to show her.¬† But of course, it’s hard to be receptive when a perfect stranger comes and criticizes you from their car window, so she politely walked off. At least she didn’t yell at me.

Was my request enough? I didn’t have time to mention that her puppy is not a bad dog, that almost all puppies bite, and that if she keeps hitting her dog, her child will probably do the same, and she’d end up with a real bite instead of a puppy bite.¬†

I’m terrified for that puppy and the family, but I think she¬†may have been¬†one of our new students, so there’s hope. I recognized the Freedom harness that we sell at Ahimsa.¬† The puppy was young enough that she’d probably gone to only one class.¬† Maybe she¬†hadn’t watched the videos that were emailed to her about biting. Maybe she just needs to be shown what to do.¬†Our trainers will hopefully have a chance to convince her that there are better ways to keep dogs from biting kids. For starters, we teach bite inhibition,¬†Leave It, Touch, tiring out the puppy with exercise,¬†having kids play with dog by dragging toys on ropes so they’re further away, and teaching kids to Be a Tree (fold “branches” – arms – and turn away), among other tools.

Sigh.¬† I hope this puppy’s family comes around. I hope you don’t train¬†using intimidation with hands, collars, or shock, and if you do, please stop hitting that puppy!

Written by Grisha Stewart, Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle [Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [del.icio.us] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon] Tweet This Post!
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3 Responses to “Can you please stop hitting that puppy?”

  1. Stephen Crippen Says:

    She was already walking off, but I would have loved it if you’d added, “Oh! and please don’t listen to Cesar Milan!!”

  2. Allie Says:

    Good for you for saying something. Some people are beyond reach – but I really do think that there are lots of people who just have not been shown that there are other options. When I was young we took my dog to a trainer who gave him a seizure (boxer on a choke collar). Training got so nasty that we eventually just stopped. If at any point someone had shown us a better way we’d have jumped at the opportunity.

  3. Grisha Says:

    Wow, how scary, Allie. I agree. Some people have their minds made up, but others just don’t know that there are more dog-friendly ways to train.

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