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I need advice. My son is mean to pets. He loves animals and loves to be around them. But he teases, grabs, pulls, drags, hits, kicks, you get the picture. He is so disrespectful and he has been bitten before, but it does not phase him. We have talked about it at length, read books, mimicked how to act with pets, slapped his hand when he is mean, time outs, taken toys away.....he is not getting it. When he gets upset, he takes it out on the closest pet. But he loves to be around our dog and cries for her at night.

On the other hand, I have seen our dog walk by him and swing her tail to antagonize him and really gets him going when he is being calm. She has never ever been mean or growled or show any agression.

I am scared his harmful behavior towards animals is a bad sign to a bigger problem. You always hear about children being mean to animals is a bad sign. any advice and if your little ones act(ed) this way and what did you do?
thanks
 

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It sounds like you have already outlined how he should behave with animals. When my son was first learning to be gentle with our dog and he repeatedly hit/pulled - whatever - I would say "Looks like I have to put the dog outside until you remember how to play nicely". That was VERY effective.

As well, when your DS and the dog gets excited have you tried re-directing the play? Sometimes my dog (who is about 80lbs) can get quite excited and wants to wrestle with my 3 YO - so not going to happen. What I do then is ask DS to find our dog's favourite toy and they play fetch. Or another game we play is hide and seek. I put my dog in a sit stay (or you can hold the dog) while DS goes and hides with a dog treat. Once he is ready I give the command "Find him". Dog goes crazy trying to find DS, DS giggling like mad and a happy treat at the end. They both LOVE it.
 

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my 4yo son is the same, i'm hoping it's a stage... he has learned to be nice with the cats but our dog is big and she'll bump him by accident and he just hits her, or is mean to her.

good luck to you mama and
 

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We've had a similar issue, though it seems to be getting better. I had a lightbulb moment a few months ago. Instead of reprimanding him, I say "remember that you love the dog" or "treat her like you love her please". This has seemed to make a big impression on him and he's much gentler with her overall now.
 

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Your dog is not trying to "antagonize" your child. Dogs don't think like people and it's an important thing to remember.

Four years old is well old enough to have better control than to take out anger on the nearest helpless thing. I think you have to keep them seperated till his self control is better and I'm sorry if he cries for the dog, but that does not negate the times he kicks or hits or otherwise mistreats the dog.
 
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