I have a dog that was abused by an owner prior to us adopting him. We got him when he was around two or three years old. He’s now eight or nine, and although he had made great strides, he still shows lingering effects from the abuse he went through early in his life.
When we got him, our dog was terrified of stairs. DH and I were living with my parents at the time, and there was no way into their house that didn’t involve stairs. Plus, the crate and the dog area was on the upper level of the home. My then-fiance-now-husband spent the first few days carrying the (70 pound) dog up the stairs. We’re guessing he wasn’t allowed upstairs in his previous home and had probably been beaten to reinforce this.
He was afraid of men. The taller the man, the more afraid he was. My dad is about 5’10” and he was a little more comfortable with him at first than with DH, who is 6’1″, for example.
If you had anything in your hand that might be used as a weapon, he would cower and shake. DH was going out to play baseball with friends and had a bat in his hand…our dog hit the ground tembling and dribbling urine.
If you raised your voice at all, he had a similiar reaction. You could merely be speaking more loudly to be heard by someone in the next room, and our dog would think it was a precursor to him getting hit.
Our dog now loves everyone, including DH’s friends that are even taller than DH. He races up and down the stairs and you would never know he was once terrified to use them. He almost never cowers when you have a potential ‘weapon’ in your hand. But if you correct his behavior at all, (verbally, mind you!), he still tucks his tail, and if you raise your voice, even if it’s not directed at him, he starts becoming uncomfortable. He is easily frightened by new things, (this could be from the abuse and/or a general lack of socialization when he was younger). We went to obedience class (for socialization around other people and dogs, since he already knew almost everything they taught us in class), and on the last day they had a beginner’s agility course set up so people and their dogs could get an idea of what the obsatcles were like. He LOVED the tunnel, but he was terrified of the ramp…it took me on one side and the trainer on the other to encourage him over it.
Our dog is a sweet, gentle, loving animal. He always tries hard, even if he doesn’t fully understand what you are asking of him. I cannot imagine why anyone would ever see the need to physically harm him. We may never fully undo what his previous family did. What the family that was supposed to LOVE and PROTECT him did. Many dogs become aggressive or phsychotic when abused. Some dogs never recover from the harm done to them.
EVERY TIME your husband abuses your dog, he is writing on the slate of who your dog is. EVERY TIME you allow the abuse, you are contributing as well. You need to rehome the dog like, YESTERDAY, before he causes permenant physical or mental harm to your dog. Then get your DH into counseling. Do NOT have children with this man unless and until a therapist tells you his is no longer at risk of abusing said children. If you chose to stay with him, you are an adult, that’s your choice to make. But children and animals don’t have a choice or a voice.