My younger sister recently got a dog (thought to be a lab/boxer/pit cross). I've not met the dog yet, but am concerned about it because I know my sister and the living situation. My sister is very irresponsible and has been known to have a violent temper. Her boyfriend who she lives with is also abusive and has criminal record which includes physical assault. I know I shouldn't automatically assume the dog is being beat on, but usually people who have tempers and are physically abusive to other people aren't the kindest with animals.
I plan to meet the dog and I'm wondering if there are some things I can do that might indicate whether or not the dog is getting hit. I've heard of things like lifting your hand up and seeing the dog's reaction (I've read that dogs who are hit will often close their eyes and shrink away from your hand).
I'd like to know this so I can hopefully put my mind at ease, not to have reason to incriminate my sister. She has absolutely no experience with animals or training, so I'm going to offer to help her with basic obedience.