Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Anyone else's child obsessed with the dog?

Lately DD is obsessed with doing things that I don't necessarily approve of and would like to nip in the bud asap.....one of which is trying to sit on, poke, and prod at our 16lb dog. She is not gentle at all and often pokes her eyes, pulls her tail, opens her mouth, etc. I have tried everything that I can think of, but there are times when I am not physically in the exact same spot to intervene. Luckily our dog has been tolerant so far, but I would prefer not to risk it and curb DDs behavior now before she hurts the dog or the dog hurts her.

Our dog has a bed on the floor that we've always used as her safe space, but DD is so obsessed with her that even that isn't helping anymore.

What have you done? Any suggestions? I understand that all toddlers test the waters, but this is something that I really want to have a firm stance on and stop now.
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Re: Anyone else's child obsessed with the dog?

  • I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and my LO is obsessed with them as well. I worry about him around 1 of the dogs so I've just accepted the fact that I cannot leave my LO alone around that dog and when my LO wants to "hug" the cats, AKA lay on them, I have to watch him closely at that time too. He pulls tails, pokes eyes, etc and one of these days one of our animals won't be so patient so I can't take my eyes of DS when he's around them.

    I don't think there's anything else I can do until DS is old enough to understand being gentle, moving slow, etc in order to be around the animals without supervision.

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  • We are there too. We have a 120 pound golden retriever, and that is the most patient, sweet dog in the world for putting up with DS. DS likes to swing his snack cup/sippy cup at the dog and is generally rough. Goldens are awesome with kids, but I worry that DS won't realize that all dogs won't put up with him. We are really trying to be firm with DS about being gentle with animals.  DS would also really like to pet our black cat but the cat will have nothing to do with him.
  • OMG our dog is DS's best buddy. Luckily, he's really good about being gentle, and it is something we reinforce constantly. If your dog is that small, they should not be left alone together while your LO is so aggressive.
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  • MisNMisN
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    DD (22 months) is obsessed with our dog as well.  We've worked really hard on teaching her the right way to interact with the dog and she's not always perfect but getting a lot better.

    Here are a few things we do:
    -  Dog is allowed to retreat to toddler free zones , if he is getting bothered to much
    -  When DD is in a particularly excited mood, I try to keep them apart and take her down to our playroom without the dog.
    -  I encourage positive interaction with the dog and give lots of praise instead of him being off limits  For example, DD gets to be involved in feeding the dog (she loves feeding him kibble one by one) then says "nice", we give him belly rubs together etc. and pat him gently.
    -  I think she now understands the concept of getting "hurt" so when she is rough she is understanding a bit better that that could hurt the dog.  I explain to her that we don't want to scare or hurt the dog and redirect her to a positive behaviour (giving the dog treats for tricks, walking him around the house on a leash, patting him..)
    -   When the dog is eating out of his bowl or laying on his bed, we try to enforce that this is off limits time.

  • Keep the two separated by a physical barrier (baby gate or door) until she can behave.

    we've gone through this a few times (only for a few minutes at a time) here too.  One of them gets put in a room with the door closed.  (For DD, it's not a time out, it's a "you can't play in the same space as the dog, so go play in your room".)  Usually it's the dog I put up, but if DD is being too hyper, and I want her to take break to calm down, she's the one who goes into her room.

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  • image MisN:

    DD (22 months) is obsessed with our dog as well.  We've worked really hard on teaching her the right way to interact with the dog and she's not always perfect but getting a lot better.

    Here are a few things we do:
    -  Dog is allowed to retreat to toddler free zones , if he is getting bothered to much
    -  When DD is in a particularly excited mood, I try to keep them apart and take her down to our playroom without the dog.
    -  I encourage positive interaction with the dog and give lots of praise instead of him being off limits  For example, DD gets to be involved in feeding the dog (she loves feeding him kibble one by one) then says "nice", we give him belly rubs together etc. and pat him gently.
    -  I think she now understands the concept of getting "hurt" so when she is rough she is understanding a bit better that that could hurt the dog.  I explain to her that we don't want to scare or hurt the dog and redirect her to a positive behaviour (giving the dog treats for tricks, walking him around the house on a leash, patting him..)
    -   When the dog is eating out of his bowl or laying on his bed, we try to enforce that this is off limits time.

    This is what we do.  Our old dog(14) DD can do anything to and she doesn't care she just loves the attention.  Now our younger dog (4) only lets DD touch when she wants to otherwise she just gets up an leaves (our bed is her saftey zone).   Both dogs prefer DD to touch them around their faces for some reason.  We have just started the helping feed the dogs and she loves to walk them around the house on the leash and they let her which is super funny as they are horrible dogs to walk as they both pull like crazy with us. 

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  • We've been teaching "gentle". Anytime Ds grabs him i take his hand away and say "gentle" and ten take his hand and gently pet the dog. It's really working and now he pats the dog more often than he tries to poke him in the eye.

    He is obsessed with his water bowl though. We tell him no and he laughs and says "nye nye" which is his word for no.

  • This has been a MAJOR source of frustration at our house lately.  I have DS (18 months) and new DD (10 weeks)-I need a ticker update!  DS is all about the dog lately and now that he knows it gets my attention immediately he is even more so going after her.  He is obsessed with body parts and likes to point them out on the dog.  Our dog is a 25 lb terrier mutt and has been SO patient with him, but I still definitely don't feel comfortable leaving them on their own or even with me across the room.  I encourage gentle petting and try to encourage our dog to go to her safe spot (back of the couch), but it really stresses me out.  So I don't have much advice to offer other than what PP have mentioned but I can definitely sympathize with you!

     

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  • image sugarbear0524:
    We are there too. We have a 120 pound golden retriever, and that is the most patient, sweet dog in the world for putting up with DS. DS likes to swing his snack cup/sippy cup at the dog and is generally rough. Goldens are awesome with kids, but I worry that DS won't realize that all dogs won't put up with him. We are really trying to be firm with DS about being gentle with animals.  DS would also really like to pet our black cat but the cat will have nothing to do with him.

    Please, please, please do not make this dangerous assumption. All dogs are individuals, and assumptions about personality should never be based on breed. Any dog of any breed can be "good with kids," or not. 

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    DS1: BFP: 4/4/2011 | EDD: 12/2/2011 | Born 11/21/2011
    DS2: BFP: 2/23/13 | EDD: 10/26/13 | We said goodbye: 6/2/13 (19w1d) due to pPROM

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  • My dogs (65 lb pit mix and 40 lb Aussie shepherd mix) voluntarily spend most of the day asleep on my bed. 

    When they are out in the living area with us, he sometimes bothers them. I tell him, "Gentle, gentle" and if he doesn't stop poking or pulling, I move him to the other side of the room. If he runs back over and starts again, I again say, "Gentle, gentle" and if he continues bothering them, the dogs are sent to their safe space (my bedroom) with a treat. 

    Dogs are not allowed on the couch while DS is running around. That puts them at DS' face level, and that's dangerous. 

    Everyone is physically separated with a baby gate when either DS or the dogs are eating. 

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    DS1: BFP: 4/4/2011 | EDD: 12/2/2011 | Born 11/21/2011
    DS2: BFP: 2/23/13 | EDD: 10/26/13 | We said goodbye: 6/2/13 (19w1d) due to pPROM

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  • PP have given good advice, I'll just add that we're struggling with this too. I will have my LO practice petting a stuffed dog (or bear or other animal) and demonstrate where and how to pet. I think it's helping.
  • My DD was and is obsessed with the dog. They get along well now, but it took time. We physically show her how to treat the dog...use her hand to do "nice" pets...redirect her if she is starting to go after eyes, ears, or tails. Now DD is pretty gentle with the dog.

    Our dog is small, but we also have a gated off place that she can go to for time away from the baby if she chooses. Sometimes our dog needs a break from the baby...we listen to her when she "asks" for it. We also try to redirect the baby if I feel like she is being overly obsessed with the dog. I tell her the doggie is trying to sleep.

     

    After 2 years of TTC, our daughter was born on Oct 31, 2011!
    7lbs 13oz  20 inches long
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