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advice needed

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Claire is 15 months old and just loves the dog, Our dog Emmett, however, is 13 years old and has some tenderness and sensitivity, especially in his back legs. Claire runs up to him and pulls his tail and ears, hugs him with all her weight, pulls fur out of him, etc. Usually it is clear that her intention is loving, but I can tell that Emmett is bothered by it. Sometime he is not quick enough getting up to get away from her.


I am not sure how to handle this. I have tried helping her to be gentle and showing her that, which works, sometimes. If I say ouch or owie, she just thinks it is funny, and does it more. I have been separating them a lot, but there has to be a better solution.


I don't want her to hurt the dog and I definitely don't want her to get bit.


Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!

post #2 of 12

Anyone have any advice for this mama? 

Maybe post in toddler forum also.


post #3 of 12

ahhhhh I am farmiliar with this scenario and unfortunately you won't like the ending to my story.


With my first DS, our dog Hitch was the same way (he was not quite as old at only 7). But Ds would do all the things that babies and toddler do, like you are describing. We tried to manage it the same way you are, but trying to keep them separated was a logistic nightmare and trying to teach tenderness to a toddler is futile IMO. We went along doing the best we could until one day Hitch had had enough and tried to bite DS. It was only because i was sitting right there and moved with lightening speed that DS didn't catch it in the face. We gave Hitch back to the rescue organization we got him from and they found him a great home. Luckily I am in touch with the family and get regular updates and have even got to meet her for a walk.


Even the most docile of animals have a breaking point and IMO what you describe is a disaster waiting to happen. If finding him a new home is out of the question, the safest scenario for your daughter is to keep them separated until she is old enough to understand how to be gentle.


Im sorry this is going on. I know its very stressful and giving our dog back was one of the worse days of my life, but it had to be done.


Another anecdotal story when my little cousin was a toddler,(she's 34 now) their extremely sweet black lab Chester who was about 13 as well got fed up one day with all the poking and prodding and he bit her in the face. Poor Chester ended up getting put to sleep :(


I hope you can find a safe solution that works for you and the dog :)

post #4 of 12

I would work on separating them and continually reinforcing the "gentle" touch every opportunity.  I know it's hard, but can you baby gate off a room for your dog?  Or keep him in the kitchen or something?  A 13 year old dog is almost impossible to place.  He will be euthanized if you give him up, unless there's a very rare rescue that could take him.


Our greyhound bit my daughter when she annoyed him and we focused our efforts on teaching her "gentle" and making sure that they are separated when not under direct supervision.  Our daughter is good with "gentle" and the other dogs, while a little leery, are good with her touching them.  We do not allow her to touch them if she's being rough in any way.  She seems to have learned that she can only touch the dogs when she's being gentle.  I really hope you find something that works for your family. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you sooooo much for the advice Marnica and LilyTiger. I wish there was a better solution, but unfortunately keeping them separated for now seems to be the best option for us. Luckily it is starting to get cooler out. Emmett enjoys sleeping out on the balcony when it is cool outside, and we can go for longer walks during the day. Otherwise he can be in the bedroom. I know you are all right about even the best dogs just getting tired of the poking and prodding. I have had Emmett since I was 20 years old, we have been through soooo much together, I can't imagine giving him up...even typing it makes me cry :(


Thank you again!!

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Also, thank you TracyAmber :)

post #7 of 12

julieandemmett, how is it working out keeping them separate? I know how you feel. I would find it really difficult to give up my cats and would opt for separation too.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Cynthia, it is going alright. It is tricky and not great fun, but seems best for now .
post #9 of 12

Don't worry. Claire will grow so fast and past this stage that it'll soon no longer be an issue. :kid

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you...sometimes I need to hear that, and just remind myself of it. And I love your smiley face :)

post #11 of 12
I'm chiming in late, but does your dog have a crate? When things get tense with the baby, I put some peanut butter in a chew toy and give our dog some pleasant alone-time in his "den." We line the crate with a big, fluffy dog bed, and he seems happy to have that safe place. When baby gets distracted by his next trouble-making escapade, the dog can come out. All of my babies have gone through this phase, and giving the dog his separate space in the crate has helped us weather the storm. Good luck!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, no he doesn't have a crate but we have a balcony on our apt where he likes to sleep. I think he would love the chew toy covered in pb treat :-)
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