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Pet/Child issue

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

The other day, DH requested that DD (age almost-10) take the dog out to go to the potty and for a walk.  (Our yard is not fenced, so we take him out on lead, and he was doing something regarding one of the younger children that he could not drop to take out the dog himself.)  A bit later, she returns.  A few minutes later, the neighbor comes over--face pinched, on the warpath look on her face.  I don't really know her and have actually never seen her.  They just moved in and keep to themselves more than we do.  I am actually wondering if she's a social worker (CPS) or something...She starts in on me like "my daughter saw your daughter kicking and pulling the dog (a 1 1/2 year old shih tsu) roughly."  I "thank" her, trying to be as polite as possible and tell her that "I will handle the issue.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention".  Honestly?  What did she expect?  For me to give her my dog?  Spank my daughter?  Well, that cast a pall over our evening.  What should we do about it?  Get rid of the dog?  I was feeling that if we had been back home in the country, the dog would have had a bullet in his brain not five minutes later (exaggerating, here), though if we were dealing with extreme viciousness, I wouldn't be above it. 


After calming, DH and I discussed it.  We think it stems from the fact that the dog does not respect DD's "authority".  How can I reenforce to the dog that the kids are above him in the pecking order and have it stick when I'm not present?  Teach her to be able to handle the dog?  Are there trainers in the Tacoma/Olympia area that will work with entire families (to include children)?  Obedience training?  Group or private?    I see kids younger and smaller than DD out walking big dogs (GSDs, pits, rotties) with no problem.  The dog will obey me and my husband, so when we are with her, the dog is looking to and following us.  I try to model the calm, quiet assertiveness to her, but she is easily frustrated, especially when her ritalin has worn off, which she was between doses when we asked her to take him out.

post #2 of 7

I know that when I was that age, I was very rough with the family dog on leash. To the point that I feel guilty about it now - and the dog was not doing anything wrong. I would do things like run with her on the leash and then stop suddenly so that the poor dog would hit the end of the leash and choke itself. 


I'm not sure what on earth I was thinking, but a stern talking-to would likely have cured me of it. Unfortunately I never got caught doing it. 


I must be missing something in your story though, because I don't understand why you seem to be blaming the dog for being kicked and mistreated. My first thought is that, like myself at that age, your daughter isn't mature enough to have the dog on a leash out of your sight. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I didn't think I was 100% blaming the dog, but rather looking for ways to assist them both in their interactions with one another.  For her to be able to assert authority, in a way that does not involve mal-treatment and getting over-frustrated, over him, and for him to be able to accept that. 

post #4 of 7

Yeah, I too am totally confused by this.  The story is your daughter was being rough to your little dog, rough enough that a neighbor felt the need to come over and tell you (and was apparently quite upset by what she saw).  Then your next paragraph is talking about getting rid of the dog or how to make him listen etc.  I do not understand the jump here.  


Regardless, obviously your daughter should not be alone with the dog.  Its not about the dog seeing her as Alpha, or as above him in pack, its about him understanding what she wants from him (at least thats what I am assuming you are saying you think the problem is?)  Clicker training is something many children enjoy doing and are able to do.   

post #5 of 7
If you are looking for family dog training in the Olympia area then I highly suggest the About Face K-9 Academy. http://www.aboutfacek9academy.com/19301.html

They use 100% positive reinforcement and they are great about "training you to train your dog." It sounds like your daughter certainly needs some tools in her tool box before being allowed unsupervised time with the dog again.
post #6 of 7

Add me to the list confused by this post.   If I saw a small dog (or a big dog for that matter) being kicked by a child, I would probably approach the parents too.    Or call the SPCA.  Would you have preferred she call and report animal abuse instead of approaching you first?   Actually, if I saw a child kicking a dog I would probably gently approach the child, ask if something was wrong, and attempt to help diffuse the situation.  But I would also talk to the parents later.  


Now, I would have approached you in a gentler way (no warpath face as you described it).   And, since you ask what she expected....What I would have expected (or hoped for) is that you would have acted shocked and dismayed and assured me that you would not let the abuse happen again.    


Honestly, it concerns me that you are only looking for ways to "fix" your dog and aren't also asking for ways to handle the fact that your daughter thinks it is okay to kick an animal.   In my opinion, you need to address both sides of the problem.   

post #7 of 7

Sign dd and the dog up for a training class. They both need to work on their behaviors. If dd continues to hurt the dog then rehome the dog and do not get more pets.Maybe she resents caring for the dog.Some like pets but not the duties that come with owning one.Add to that a dog that is not trained and you can have a frustrated caretaker.


Give training a try and then decide what to do.


 I would dispatch a biter unless it was clearly the  humans fault.In this case the child needs to be punished and  to understand that her behavior was unacceptable. If she could understand the pain the dog felt while she was hurting it then she can learn from this. Can she imagine how it would be for her if the same was done to her by you and her father? Best wishes!

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