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Rotten behaviour

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Help! My DS is 18 months old and this weekend has been awful. He is head butting everyone. He has been throwing himself on top of our poor arthritic dog. He has been pulling the cat's tail. He has been pinching and biting and scratching! He is such a sweetheart that gives lots of kisses and hugs. But usually but there is only so many times I can get hit in the face. We've been doing time-ins where we hold him on our laps and explain why we are there. We're a gentle family. I need some ideas on how to deal with this ( especially for the poor dog...I'm slightly worried he'll lash out at DS if he gets too hurt. )
post #2 of 7

What has changed this weekend?  Family?  Naps?  Schedules?  Did you go out visiting? 


I know my 2 yo pinches bites and scratches when he's on overload.  He needs quiet and peace for a little while, maybe even a nap. 


As for the animals, you may need to keep them separated for a bit.  We still have to repeat "gentle" every time he gets near the cat. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I kinda overloaded us this weekend :(


His nap got interrupted, we went and chopped down a Christmas tree, we did some shopping.... I think it may have been mostly circumstantial rotten behaviour now that I'm looking at it.


However, he does all of those above things when he is well-rested too, perhaps not as often though. I'm trying to think of a way to keep the pets and DS separated...but we have a small living space. And the dog gets upset if he isn't able to be with the family.


Any other thoughts about dealing with the hitting?

post #4 of 7

I second putting the dog in another part of the house or outside for a while.  When I was pregnant 9 years ago I saw some very scary pics of a little girl who's family dog with no history of biting bit her (little girl is totally fine now, btw).  I was very impressed with the fact that this dog and little girl had lived together happily for like 7 years before it happened.  So, even though my dogs have shown amazing patience with my kids, I try not to take any chances.


As for the head butting and hitting, pulling cats tail, etc, I think 18 months is a little young to expect him to get it.  I might take some defensive measures, like not holding him in a way that it'll be easy for him to butt you.  And I would continue to tell him not to do it when it happens and maybe redirect him away from the cat, but I would try not to think of it as rotten because he probably doesn't really understand that he's hurting anybody in a meaningful way.

post #5 of 7

When we were going through this I used wooden baby gates to give both the child and dog a break from each other. We also used the term "gentle touches" a million times while showing them what that meant (gently petting animal etc.).



post #6 of 7

My suggestion is to give him appropriate out lets for energy and for negative emotions. Hit this pillow, stomp your feet, jump on a mini trampoline, stomp around and roar like angry lions, etc. Lots of outdoor play - ball throwing, messy, big physical play.


I understand the desire to go into long discussions, but there is no point at his age. in the moment I would suggest using very few words. Very short acknowledgment of his feelings "you seem angry" and then redirection to the appropriate outlet - "pillows are for hitting".   "Gentle pats for kitty"


And, I agree - lots of supervision with the pets. When everyone is in a good mood provide very supervised access with modeling "look at my gentle pat, see how kitty likes that."  First sign of pulling or hitting - redirect to the pillow.  Finally, it is totally appropriate for you to put him down and walk away if you get hit.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well, we've moved the dog upstairs when we can't give adequate supervision. Dog is unhappy. Better unhappy than injured I guess.


There has been very few hits in the last little bit. And I think his head butting may be him trying to mimic me. I tend to nuzzle his head with my own....I was getting the sense he was trying to do the same this this morning. Maybe sometimes he head butts out of frustration, but it may also be that he doesn't know his own strength and hits me hard in the head when he just means to cuddle. His DCP says he has been very grabby lately, and he got bit for grabbing a toy away from another kid.


thank you all for your thoughtful replies.


It was important for me to be reminded that he is still so small, and although he is starting to communicate, I can't expect him to get it.

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