5 signs that a dog has been abused

dog abused

I swear to God that an abused dog deserves the world! I see too many dogs that are abused by their current owner or has been abused by a former shitty person and that’s so sad because in Romania, for example, we don’t have laws that are meant to protect these souls. In Romania, it’s something normal to beat your dog up, yell at him, chain him in the backyard and don’t speak to him in years then asking yourself why he is aggressive… well, maybe because that dog doesn’t even know how it is like to be petted.

Look, I have a dog that has been abused and I’ve chosen to let him live peacefully and respect and love him and people tell me I’m crazy because I don’t yell at him and when he does something bad I don’t lose control. They tell me that he is spoilt, you know, but I know him since he was a puppy and peed under the kitchen table where he stayed for 3 days after we adopted him from his abusive family. He is a good dog that understands me without yelling and I don’t want to do him wrong too. Thank you, Karen!


This dog 😥😥 #dogs

♬ Bidet Bliss – Nate Markquart

1. Obsessive Behaviors

Just like humans, dogs have their own ways of working out their feelings. From frequent pacing to obsessively licking themselves, these coping mechanisms aren’t great for them and don’t complete the cycle of fear, stress, or pain they’re feeling. There are any number of reasons for this kind of obsession and self-soothing, but frequent occurrences, especially paired with particular situations or stimuli can indicate past abuse. These behaviours are called stereotypies and I have a whole article about them. They are a warning sign that they are traumatized in some way.

2. Avoidance

If your dog is very nervous around humans or dogs, it may have experienced abuse. Seeking to remove itself from the situation when around humans, even people other than you, can be a sign that there is just cause to keep away from people. An avoidance of dogs can sometimes signify that your dog was in a violent situation with other dogs, including dog fighting. This isn’t necessarily the case, but if it’s something you notice in extreme and persistent ways, it is worth thinking about.

3. Submission

Submission is something we want a bit of in dogs for training purposes, but too much is a red flag for possible abuse. A dog who cowers, urinates, and drops to the floor on a regular basis has likely had to indicate submission a lot in its life. Whether with an aggressive human or another aggressive dog, this is a defence mechanism used to deal with extreme dominance.

4. Aggression

Some dogs can be a bit aggressive, and that’s always something that needs to be worked on in general, but it’s valuable to know where this aggression comes from. If your dog shows aggression nearly relentlessly, especially if it’s targeted at a specific type of person, they’ve likely been abused in the past. A lot of abused dogs tend to have an affinity for most people and wariness or even active dislike of men, for example. This is generalization, but a dog doesn’t really know to distinguish regular people from their past abusers.

5. Dog anxiety 

Anxiety runs in many breeds and pops up in dogs for all sorts of reasons. Though it’s not always the case, persistent anxiety without any other explanations can be a sign of abuse. If your dog is rarely settled or easily whipped into a frenzy, this is one possible reason. So, love your dog because he needs your love more than you think.


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