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Old Jun 12th, 2018, 09:57 AM   1
LynAnne
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Toddler being rough with dog.


DS is almost 19 months old and whilst he's not been perfect with our Jack Russell Terrier his behaviour with her has gotten worse in the last couple of weeks. He hits her with toys in what seems like an attempt to get her to play with him, he hits her out of frustration when he doesn't get his own way, he chases after her and will kick her for no reason at all. When he isn't being mean to her they are as thick as thieves, with such sweet moments that would absolutely melt even the coldest of hearts! His flip-flop behaviour towards her is obviously making her confused and whilst she's never "gone for" him she will growl and some days I do worry that he will stress her out too much and she will snap. She's a sweet dog and very tolerant of him but I know even the best dogs can become violent.

Obviously I try my very best not to let him hurt or stress her out. They aren't left alone in the same room and I'm constantly telling him to be gentle - and showing him how to be. I try to intercept the hits if I see him thinking about it. I try to remove the dog from the situation or room but we live in a 2 bedroom flat and he can reach all the door handles so that doesn't always work. I try to distract him with toys but that rarely works. I'm almost 33 weeks pregnant so picking him up is getting harder too, especially if he throws a tantrum!

I've also been paying more attention to how I interact with the dog in case he is picking up signals from me. We never hit her but DH will wave a toy in front of her to get her to play which I think is what DS is mimicking. Plus, sometimes she does get shouted at by me when she's being a pain! Normal stuff but not aggressive.

I know it's most likely a phase and with lots of vigilance, positive reinforcement of when he's being kind and gentle, and consistency in "disciplining" the bad behaviour he'll (hopefully) grow out of it. I don't want my dog to be frightened or worried around him and I don't want him to think it's ever appropriate to be mean to anyone - human or animal! I guess I'm just looking for any other suggestions or advice so I can nip this in the bud before baby 2 arrives in august!

Oh I should add that my parents and one of my sisters have dogs and he is nothing but gentle and kind to them so I can only assume that he's being mean to our dog simply because she's "his"?



 
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Old Jun 12th, 2018, 14:09 PM   2
jessmke
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Does your dog have a "safe space" in the house where she can go and he isn't allowed to touch her? At our house the kids aren't allowed on the dog's bed, and aren't allowed to touch the dog if she is on her bed. So when she gets enough of interacting with the kids she has somewhere to go and be left alone. It took/takes a lot of work and consistency to teach the kids this, my daughter is now 2 1/2 and she follows the rule well and we are just starting to teach my son this rule at almost a year old. Starting at about a year old we just consistently take them off the bed/remove them from petting the dog and tell them they aren't allowed on Maddie's bed, then take them somewhere and distract with a toy. Once they are older and know the rule but go on the dog's bed anyways then they get removed for a "time out" in their room. They also aren't allowed to chase after the dog if she walks away from them, this is a way of rewarding the dog for making the "right" choice when she has had enough of them. I want the dog to learn that when she has had enough all she has to do is walk away, as opposed to being pestered by them to the point where she just snaps at them because she has no other way of communicating that she's had enough. Our dog is really gentle and nice towards the kids and has never snapped at them, but I still think the kids need to respect her and learn that she isn't their toy. It just takes a lot of time and consistency to teach them the rules. My daughter used to get quite rough with the dog, but now she is almost always very gentle, so it might just take your son a bit of time to become more gentle.



 
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Old Jun 13th, 2018, 02:23 AM   3
LynAnne
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We've been working on making her bed a "safe space" but it's really hit or miss as to whether DS will listen or if she'll even go there. With the warm weather I think she sometimes finds her bed to cosy during the day. We are considering gettig a baby gate for the kitchen so that she can safely be put in there but not feel as though she is being punished. I think having the gate at the kitchen would probably be really useful when I've got a little baby, DS and the dog to worry about all at once.



 
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Old Jun 13th, 2018, 15:06 PM   4
SarahBear
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I wouldn't count on "nipping it in the bud." It will take time for him to be consistently appropriate with the dog. He does not understand how his actions affect her or how she feels. It also takes time for him to understand the consequences of what happens when you push a dog to her limits. I have a dog and I got her last year when my youngest was just over two. We had a cat before that, so my kids were familiar with having animals around. They still didn't get it and even now, they aren't 100% reliable with the dog. With my 5 year old, I've talked to her about how dogs communicate when they don't like something (body language, growling, nipping, et cetera) and how if they get pushed far enough, they could bite. This approach works at this age, but when dealing with a toddler, you will be on constant alert until they simply get old enough to truly understand. I would make sure you have a good barrier system in your house to keep the kid and dog separate when you can't be on alert.

Edit: And I have to say, with all the little quirky things my dog is reactive to (cats, moving cars, deer, specific noises, night time, et cetera), I'm lucky the kids aren't one of them! She isn't particularly bonded to the kids and at times they can be a bit too rambunctious for her, but she handles them relatively well.



 
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Old Jun 13th, 2018, 15:41 PM   5
MissWaiting
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I'd suggest giving her space be it buying a baby gate so he can't get to her or getting her a puppy pen so he again can't get to her. She needs space so that when he is acting up she knows she has a safe space to be and will once she is used to it likely signal that she needs into that space like she would when she needs out.



 
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Old Jun 14th, 2018, 01:39 AM   6
LynAnne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahBear View Post
I wouldn't count on "nipping it in the bud." It will take time for him to be consistently appropriate with the dog. He does not understand how his actions affect her or how she feels. It also takes time for him to understand the consequences of what happens when you push a dog to her limits. I have a dog and I got her last year when my youngest was just over two. We had a cat before that, so my kids were familiar with having animals around. They still didn't get it and even now, they aren't 100% reliable with the dog. With my 5 year old, I've talked to her about how dogs communicate when they don't like something (body language, growling, nipping, et cetera) and how if they get pushed far enough, they could bite. This approach works at this age, but when dealing with a toddler, you will be on constant alert until they simply get old enough to truly understand. I would make sure you have a good barrier system in your house to keep the kid and dog separate when you can't be on alert.

Edit: And I have to say, with all the little quirky things my dog is reactive to (cats, moving cars, deer, specific noises, night time, et cetera), I'm lucky the kids aren't one of them! She isn't particularly bonded to the kids and at times they can be a bit too rambunctious for her, but she handles them relatively well.
I should probably clarify that I don't expect to be able to "nip it in the bud" in the sense that I'll have a perfectly behaved toddler and dog but that this intense, over the top behaviour will be stopped early. I know that it's a long process that goes long into childhood. I'm not looking for any miracle fixes.

Also, her bed was her safe space (worked well) but he's begun to ignore that hence the idea of now getting the baby gate for the kitchen. I still want her bed to be a safe space but I'm aware that once the baby is here it might not be as easy to monitor DS around it. We do have a proper dog pen and a dog crate but she doesn't like either of them and they stress her. I think her having "free reign" of our kitchen is what would make her most comfortable.



 
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Old Jun 14th, 2018, 09:10 AM   7
jessmke
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I found that before the baby was born it was really easy for me to remove my daughter from the dog bed and then distract her with a toy, but then as soon as the baby came along and I would be sitting down feeding him my daughter would take advantage of me being unable to move around and start acting out. She would go and roll around and laugh on the dog's bed in an attempt to get my attention. That was when we started being a bit more strict with the rule and using a time out instead of just removing her from the bed. Now with my nearly 1 year old I sometimes will put him in his highchair if I'm trying to do something like vacuum and he won't leave the dog's bed alone. He is obsessed with the dog bed (and dog beds at other people's houses too) and he is really funny flopping around on the bed so I have to really make myself strict about the rule because it's so easy to just laugh at him being so darn cute!



 
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Old Jun 14th, 2018, 16:30 PM   8
MissWaiting
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Fingers crossed the kitchen works hun xx



 
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Old Jun 22nd, 2018, 12:33 PM   9
Twinkl3
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I would advise doing like you've said with a baby gate on the kitchen door or buying a crate and having that as your dogs safe place.

We have a dog and while he tolerates my daughter I know that it doesn't take a great deal for him to become fed it.

I'm lucky that when she was little she didn't bother him too much, his safe place was always on his pillow on the couch so she could play on the floor and I could be sat next to him incase she came over. We've just had another baby and invested in a crate which is in the living room corner with a blanket over the top. I thought he wouldn't use it but found he likes to go and sit in there so now 9/10 he's in his safe zone as I tell my now 4 year old to leave him if he's sat in there.

It just takes time and patients but you will get there, its hard if you have a child that doesn't fully understand what you're saying.



 
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