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Toddler and dog

(13 Posts)
pilpiloni Sun 02-Oct-16 10:52:56

any advice for keeping toddler and dog apart?

We have a sweet 12 year old boxer lab cross and a not so sweet 2 year old who is constantly trying to torture the dog ( pulling ears, tails, pinching, fingers in eyes and mouth etc).

Dog hasn't shown any aggression but has mouthed her to try to get free (i.e. her arm is in his mouth but no attempt to bite) and knocked her over.

We just don't know what to do. The thing is that the dog has a bed he can go to and we are strict about her not being allowed to go to his bed but he doesn't like spending time in his bed when he's not resting, he likes being where we are. And he makes zero attempt to avoid the little one. He'll be standing right next to her and doesn't move away when she's coming towards him! He's totally relaxed around her and in general other than when she's actually pulling his ear or whatever.

We could separate them but I know that shutting the dog in another room would make him miserable and he's not miserable now, he's his usual happy chappy self. He's so good with her that it seems unfair to him to then do something that'll make him miserable.

All that we do now is tell baby off when she goes for him and then make fuss of the dog and give him a treat. Although I do wonder if that approach is making it worse because the dog isn't avoiding her as he's figured a quick moment of pain is worth a big fuss and a treat!!!

However baby's two and she still does it even if we tell her off. my fear is that she'll push him too far and he'll bite her eventually which would be a disaster for both of them. He's shown zero sign of aggression so far and been nothing but patient and lovely but he's still a dog and has his limits.

Any advice?

stonecircle Sun 02-Oct-16 11:36:20

Well at 2 she's hardly a baby is she and it's time she learnt not to be cruel to dogs. Sounds like you need to be firmer with her. Maybe put her in a different room for a few minutes every time she hurts the dog?

At 12 most dogs will have some aches and pains and your child could really hurt her - in which case she might well snap.

pilpiloni Sun 02-Oct-16 11:43:29

We are firm with her. But with a 2 year you can't expect change over night.

The dog isn't tense around her and doesn't even move away when she comes up to him. He could go to his bed if he needed to get away.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 02-Oct-16 12:10:51

I think you might be inadvertently teaching him to suffer for a reward. You need to be much firmer with the two year old, she is perfectly old enough to understand. I would remove her and put her in another room, just behind a baby gate so she can still see you, until she learns to leave him alone. It really isn't fair. I understand it's tricky but the consequences of getting it wrong could be very bad indeed.

stonecircle Sun 02-Oct-16 13:06:32

I'm not sure what advice anyone can give you op. If you don't want to banish your dog - and why should you - then it's your child's behaviour that needs to change. Of course it won't happen overnight. But if you don't want your dog to suffer because of your child's bad behaviour then you need to have a concentrated drive on stopping her.

pilpiloni Sun 02-Oct-16 14:17:29

I was hoping to get some insight into why the dog doesn't even move away from her! As a pp said, we may be inadvertently encouraging him to go up to her so I'm thinking we may stop with the rewards ( we were trying to reward him for being so patient but that may not be how he's seeing it!)

She's two, they do this. Of course we're working on it and disciplining her in an age appropriate manner. As she gets a little older, it'll be easier - in a few months her understanding and ability to empathize will be streets ahead - but we need to get through this phase.

neonrainbow Sun 02-Oct-16 14:23:34

Clicker train the child? grin

pilpiloni Sun 02-Oct-16 14:25:57

I feel like crating her right now!

Stoneagemum Sun 02-Oct-16 14:29:07

Can you get a playpen -crate training for kids grin

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sun 02-Oct-16 14:32:31

Maybe buy your toddler a toy dog with a lead to play with? My ds is 2 and is super gentle with our 3 dogs (1a rottweiler) so no other advice sorry!

NewsAt10 Sun 02-Oct-16 14:32:52

Constant supervision when they're together and being consistent with your approach.

I'm not sure you can teach the dog to stay away, or to avoid your dd, but you can teach dd not to touch the dog at all unless she's doing it with you, so you can model kind and respectful behaviour.

Move your dd away and distract her and tell her clearly she's not allowed to touch the dog. If she persists, I'd be tempted to do as a pp said and put her behind a stair gate for a short time.

XinnaJane Sun 02-Oct-16 15:17:43

We had a similar problem - easy for pp to say 'the child needs to learn'. But as you say it's a process and you have to have realistic expectations of what a two year old is capable of. Our answer was being firm and trying to teach about being gentle, but it takes a while. In the meantime constant supervision and separation even if the dog is unhappy (clearly this is preferable to biting). You have to be realistic about what is possible. Also, be wary of being too heavy handed with the child - this actually made matters worse for us as he started to see it as a great way to get (negative) attention.

pilpiloni Sun 02-Oct-16 21:14:23

Yeah, exactly. I have older kids and I know it'll pass but it is really stressful. We're doing our bit with her but the silly dog doesn't make any effort to avoid her, in fact he seeks her out! We'll try stopping the treats with him and thanks for the point about it becoming an attention seeking mechanism, don't need to add that to the mix!!

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