Dear Daisy Dog: Lucky, our 9-month-old Lab mix, is a real handful. When my husband gets frustrated with him, he smacks him and yells at him. Then he yells at me, and the kids run and hide. Will Lucky calm down soon, or should we give him away?
Daisy Responds: Yelling and hitting are not effective training techniques; they only cause fear. Lucky won’t calm down on his own, but proper training will help.
If your husband can control his temper, encourage him to train Lucky with a certified dog trainer. You and he also should make an appointment with a therapist.
On the other hand, if you or your children are victims of your husband’s abuse, too, it may be best for you, your children and Lucky to leave together.
Before you do, contact a domestic violence organization for guidance and support. The Animal Welfare Institute website has a directory of safe havens for pets affected by domestic violence at awionline.org/safe-havens.
For now, stock up on Lucky’s food and medicines in case your husband withholds money. Add the number of the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic to your cell phone directory.
Document your ownership of Lucky by licensing him and putting his rabies certificate and veterinary records in your name. Keep copies of these documents.
We wish you the best as you protect Lucky, your children and yourself.