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Toddler and dog(14 Posts)
DS is 20 months and our JRT is 3. He's never been an affectionate dog. He would run about outside until he drops or play endless tug of war with you but doesn't really like being stroked or cuddled or touched much at all. He especially hates it if he's disturbed when resting either on couch or our bed etc. If he decides to sleep on us and we try to get up he will growl and we have to stay very still and tell him to 'get down' in a firm voice otherwise he will air snap at us. Tbh, had we known what he was like we would never have bought him but we thought we couldn't have children so he was going to be our baby substitute. He goes to doggy daycare for 8 hours every day so gets plenty exercise.
The problem is, I'm guessing common in that my toddler just won't leave him alone. Constantly runs at him in an excited way causing the dog to run away. DS wants to touch him all the time which I am always there to stop and if DS approaches him whilst he's resting on the couch for example, he growls. I've tried encouraging DS to throw the dog's ball for him but if he does, dog just looks at me and brings the ball to me.
He has a crate but very rarely goes into it unless at night time, preferring the couch or our bed. I'm just knackered from being constantly on edge all the time in case something happens. It feels as though I never see the dog until DS goes to bed as he seems to actively avoid us when he comes home, though I understand he'll be tired after all his fun and games.
Rehoming isn't an option as, despite all his 'issues' we love him dearly and we're in this for the longhaul but just looking for some tips!
He sounds like a dog that's doing very well under the circumstances, and is actually being pretty saintly. There's nothing wrong with a dog that doesn't like affection, it's just a personality thing, not a problem to be fixed. He's telling you quite clearly that he doesn't want DC near him (and you can regard a growl as a last ditch attempt to tell you this peaceably) and you need to respect that.
As you've worked out, you need to keep the DC and dog separate until DC is old enough to understand. Have you tried using baby gates? DC on one side, DDog on the other. If DDog is actively trying to avoid you and DC he'll find this much less stressful, and you won't have to worry about DC so much.
Thanks for the reply. We have babygates on the stairs and often doggy will go upstairs for peace then later DA will be banging on the stair gate demanding to go upstairs and I guess that's when doggy gets disturbed. Then he comes downstairs, we come downstairs and it starts again 🤦♀️ Perhaps I need to work more on DS than doggy.
I know the no touching is just his personality but I'll admit to being disappointed that he isn't more cuddly!
Can you not teach your toddler to treat the dig with respect? I don't mean to be harsh but that is an accident waiting to happen? Why do you allow him to run at the dog?
Oh i thought you said ds is 3. Still - i know its difficult but you absolutely have to get on top of this.
It sounds like your dog hasnt been given many boundaries. I have 2 JRT and they are willfull to say the least but theykniw if they are pushing their luck. Now a baby has come along and he has to put up with all the disruption and noise etc.he will be very stressed. Does your daycare person offer any training to try and focus the dogs mind?
His life sounds quite stressfull
Definitely sounds like you need to set the dog some boundaries. It's absolutely not ok for it to be aggressive and bite.
I don't allow him to run at the dog but he's only 20 months so he's difficult to predict. Obviously as soon as he can understand I will teach him to respect doggy and I try that now by telling him no when he does it but of course he doesn't get it yet.
Yeah we have been lax with boundaries in the past regarding doggy and we know that. We're trying to change that now though. We've probably made every mistake you can in dog ownership though we did do puppy classes etc. No training at day care, it's simply an exercise service.
I'd hate to think his life was constantly stressful. I know he loves his day care and he's just played tug of war with me while DS romped about so I don't think it's a hopeless situation.
How do I deal with the scenarios where I'm on the couch, dog comes to sit with me, I try to get up and he growls? Am I better off not letting him on the couch at all?
Definately dont allow on couch.
Thanks guys. He's not even tried to get on the couch tonight. Currently snoring on the rug 🙄😆
We had an accidental child 9 months after picking up our 'baby substitute' puppy (I swear the puppy made my hormones kick in!). We bought an expensive puppet like this:
Got the one that looked most like our dog. We used it to teach DD how to behave around the dog - how to stroke gently, how to approach, what to do if the dog got excited etc. It also helped to distract her from the real dog!
Agree with all who say train child and dog. Keep separate but include child in carrier on dog walks, walk alongside buggy etc to make part of pack. Always give dog escape route. Dog not on couch or bed I'm afraid. Puts him at toddler face height and if he's growling already he does not know his place in the pack (bottom). Feed dog last at mealtimes. Let toddler throw him a chew or two. Don't let dog touch childs toys.
We've got a three year old and a child wary Collie. Been doing all this and constantly tell child you don't chase the dog, hug the dog or go up to him when he's lying down. She also always gives him his food bowl. he likes her in the main, greets her when she comes home, lets her throw his ball. But he does not like her looming over him or doing anything mad/sudden too near him. He creeps away as his first option but I'd never leave them alone. I will be getting her a puppy next summer to teach her from a blank slate.
Dogs need boundaries.
If your dog growls and gets territorial of you/his place on the couch, you have two options - don't let him on the couch in the first place, or train a decent "off" or "floor" command. Train him to see the floor as a positive place to be - so if he gets off the couch and lies on his bed he gets chews or yummy treats that he doesn't get at any other time. JRT's are smart and he should get it fairly quickly.
What stimulation is he getting outside of daycare? As well as physical exercise dogs need mental stimulation to be happy - so you could play scent games with him (hide treats and tell him to find them), put treats in one hand, hold both hands in a fist and make him sniff out the treat etc. Mine loves playing "find it" with bits of sausage!
Then feed him out of slow feeders, frozen kongs etc so that he has to work for all his food. It's got multiple benefits - firstly it'll tire him out, and secondly it means it'll take him much longer to eat (it can take mine over an hour to eat a meal stuffed and frozen inside a buffalo horn) and you have an hour or so of peace!
Plus if you regularly tire him out with brain games he should be calmer in the house overall.