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"I Hit My Dog But He Still Never Learns"

I’ve heard that statement many times, and each time I reply by saying: "Of course he doesn’t learn. Would you learn if you were being hit?"

Violence And Learning Do NOT Go Hand-In-Hand

The dog-hitter usually responds in one of two ways. The first is to be confused into silence by my question, and so I continue:

"Think about it. If I were to try to teach you something with my fist raised, you'd be so tense from the fear of being hit, that you'd be incapable of concentrating enough to learn anything at all."

The person then usually asks what I propose instead, and I say, "Stop hitting your dog, and use positive training techniques."

The Cycle Of Violence

The second response is for the dog-hitter to evade my question, and instead defend their actions by telling me that they grew up being hit. In other words, their excuse is that they’re just doing to their dog what was done to them.

Sad as it is that they were hit, it doesn't change the fact that violence is not the way forward. I grew up being hit myself, and the only thing it taught me is that violent parents only make you fearful and resentful. I honestly don’t get why someone who’d had the awful experienced of regular violence could possibly come to any other conclusion if they’d spent even a little bit of time thinking about it.

Violence: The Coward's Way

I want to finish by saying that only cowards hit innocent animals (and children, for that matter).

If you think that hitting will lead to true learning you’re delusional - remember, a dog acting out of fear doesn’t count as true learning. Positive training is the right way to teach, and the best way for your dog to learn.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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