View Full Version : Should we keep our dog?


Gryphonfyre
04-20-16, 05:35 PM
I'm sorry for posting so much.

So, my little man has had some issues with "appropriate" social behavior and recognizing social cues. He has historically become overstimulated when around a lot of people at a time, as do I. Even when he was a baby, he would bite me -- a lot -- when he got overstimulated. Not just teething, but I think it was, in part, the sensation of clenching his teeth that would help him with releasing frustration. Anyway, as he got older and we had a one-on-one play date one time, when the child went to leave, Alex was so upset and didn't know how to handle it that he spit on the child leaving.

That being said, he's an only child, for all intents and purposes, and I thought it would be a good idea to get a dog for him to have a companion. I also thought that having a dog may help him transition from how to treat a dog to how to treat people. With the dog, though -- she's an 80-pound Alaskan Malamute, and she's a year old now -- he wants her with him ALL the time, very controlling to the point of almost smothering her. He will try to wrestle with her, which I have told him many, many times not to as she's much, much stronger than he is. And when she rolls over him, he gets very angry with her and will pull on her tail or fur. She acts like a puppy and has the typical Malamute traits, but she seems to be patient with him.

I just don't want this behavior to progress to him being mean to animals when I'm not around and doing much more when he's older and stronger, so I don't know if my continuing to try to teach him how to treat the dog will help him to treat her appropriately. Or, if I get rid of the dog, will this not give him the opportunity to work through these issues; and if he doesn't work through them now, will this create much more volatile issues later?

TIA

midnightstar
04-20-16, 05:39 PM
He does need to learn how to look after animals, make sure he always has someone supervising his interactions with the dog because either the dog could hurt him without meaning to by reacting from pain of having her tail or fur pulled or if he's not gentle he may end up causing harm to the dog, requiring a vet visit.

Little Missy
04-20-16, 06:38 PM
Personally, if I ever saw that type of behaviour from a child, I would MAKE SURE it never happened again. Ever.
This is Unacceptable Behaviour and must be made clear otherwise it fosters more of the same.

TygerSan
04-20-16, 06:56 PM
Clearly he needs to be supervised with the dog. Keep in mind that a kiddo with ADHD isn't as mature as a kiddo without, so he needs to be watched closely. Tugging ears and fur isn't appropriate, obviously, but you know that otherwise you wouldn't have asked the question that you asked. It might be worth taking them both to training/obedience class? Is there a way you could educate him in dog behaviour yourself? (like what's play, what's annoyance, anxiety, etc).

Boundaries are important, and ground-rules for interaction with the dog. You might have to think about time-outs for both of them if they get too rough, for example.

Gryphonfyre
04-20-16, 10:39 PM
I have been doing timeouts for both of them. I put the dog outside so that she can run around in the back yard, and I put my son in a corner, telling him why he's there. When he comes out of the corner, I have him repeat to me why he's there. It takes a long, long time of being very, VERY consistent in addressing an issue for him to get it, but he still pushes the envelope every single solitary chance he gets. That's why I'm on the verge of trying to find the dog a home where she wouldn't be subjected to it, and maybe I'm a negligent parent because I simply can't watch both of them every single second of the day. I'm by myself right now. I have to shower and go to the bathroom.

Socaljaxs
04-21-16, 12:44 AM
You never can ask enough questions.. It's a beautiful thing to watch,and read a parent taking the time to reach for help and figure out what is best for their own child.. It's commendable and something you shouldn't feel bad about. This forum is to help others.

I know you mentioned an evaluation, recently but with the new informations( sensory overloading, possible autism, you may want to go and seek out a specialist that can help teach your son tools to help as well. Even speak to the school if they have any programs or people you can speak to or have your son work with. Idk.

As for the dog, unless it is unsafe for either or the quality of life is at risk, I would keep the dog and keep it supervised. Alex may find it easier to be his true self with animals verses people and having a dog and responsibilities and learning gentle is something he will greatly benefit from

dvdnvwls
04-21-16, 01:13 AM
Personally, if I ever saw that type of behaviour from a child, I would MAKE SURE it never happened again. Ever.
This is Unacceptable Behaviour and must be made clear otherwise it fosters more of the same.

Not just unacceptable, but unaccepted. I hope I'm not splitting hairs here - what I'm trying to get at is that it's the kind of thing that if he does it to someone else's dog he may lose his face or hand. Not being violent with dogs is like not running into traffic; regardless of a child's levels of ability or maturity, he has to follow the rule every time.

TygerSan
04-21-16, 10:16 AM
I have been doing timeouts for both of them. I put the dog outside so that she can run around in the back yard, and I put my son in a corner, telling him why he's there. When he comes out of the corner, I have him repeat to me why he's there. It takes a long, long time of being very, VERY consistent in addressing an issue for him to get it, but he still pushes the envelope every single solitary chance he gets. That's why I'm on the verge of trying to find the dog a home where she wouldn't be subjected to it, and maybe I'm a negligent parent because I simply can't watch both of them every single second of the day. I'm by myself right now. I have to shower and go to the bathroom.

Have you considered crate-training? Would it be acceptable for you to put the dog in one room and your kid in another when you have to leave them alone? Or would he simply gravitate to the dog anyways?

It's not easy (especially since it seems like you need to train the kid and the dog at the same time).

I'm not getting from your post that your kid is maliciously mean to the dog, right? I mean, it's not necessarily a good thing that he reacts out of frustration like he does, but he doesn't go out of his way to hurt her.

Caco3girl
04-21-16, 12:01 PM
Sorry I guess I am going off alone again on my own. I have large dogs and I have kids and yes sometimes the kids lash out at the dogs and sometimes the dogs lash out at the kids. Everyone learns a lesson!

Dogs have special rules in their heads for what to do near children, as long as it is a decent tempered dog and it sounds like this one is. I had a 60# lab mix that LOVED to play catch with a tennis ball. I would throw it and she would bring it back. When she brought it back to me I had to stick my hand near her slimy mouth full of drool, when she brought it back to my son (4 at the time) she would lay the ball at his feet and back up a few steps. This wasn't something she was trained to do, she just had different rules in her head when it came to kids.

This is MY PERSONAL OPINION, I think taking away the dog would be cruel and I think that dogs understand what kids need better than well meaning adults sometimes. I think if the dog starts to show signs of being less forgiving of the tail pulling then it may be time for the dog to go, but I have seen grown men wrestle with their 100# dogs, both of them loving every minute of it, I think it's a guy thing.

dvdnvwls
04-21-16, 12:41 PM
... I have seen grown men wrestle with their 100# dogs, both of them loving every minute of it, I think it's a guy thing.

It's different in those cases, because despite all the roughness you're seeing, both the grown man and the dog understand the situation and are being sensitive to each other's signals. If one of those grown men's dogs gave him a dirty look or a snarl for doing a certain thing, the man would pay attention and stop doing that.

The problem for young children is not whether they're being rough or not, but whether they are effectively and intelligently following the dog's signals. There are a lot of little kids who wouldn't stop unless the dog bit them, and that is generally considered unacceptable.

sarahsweets
04-21-16, 02:48 PM
I feel for you and am torn. I love my dogs although the kids were born first so they sort of understood the pecking order. That said...
I grew up with dogs, loved them. Our german sheperd saved me from getting hit by a car when I was 4, and my mom had a friend with two rotweilers and these dogs put up with this 10 year old girl bathing them in the autumn with cool water just cause I wanted too.
My mom had other friends who had a pure bred pitbull. This was when I was 10 so you didnt hear all the hype about pitbull attacks like you do now. I was so comfortable with that dog and was around her since she was a puppy. Her name was Star. Anyway her owners had these knotted tubesocks to play tug-o-war with her and it was never an issue. One day we were playing it and for no reason she pinned me down and had her jaw around my throat. The thing that saved me was she didnt bite, she just locked. Scared me so much I still am afraid around pitbulls. Now, this wasnt a vicious dog, and we were playing. The dog didnt know how to tell me she didnt want to play anymore and that was her way of telling me enough was enough. Her owners didnt need to get rid of her or anything because they didnt have any children around. I was 10, I learned my lesson- but I wasnt even irritating her, we were doing what we always did. I just didnt understand doggy language.
And this happens with little dogs too. My pom/bischon mix is in love with me. Its unreal. When its just me in the bed he lays at my feet and sometimes when my husband tries to move him he gets snappy and snarly. At that point I wake up and order him off the bed. We know how to handle that and we do not have little kids. I guess what I am saying is dont dump the dog yet- but you have to really get on top of your son. He has to be the one to learn, the dog already knows what he knows and I dont know how you teach a dog to tell a little boy to stop annoying him.

SB_UK
04-22-16, 08:07 AM
Personally we've found as the ADDer kids become more difficult ie failing school. ODD etc and as myself and wife (cancer survivor) become sicker - that we were relieved when doggy died.
Personally I can't walk any more feet neuromas and back spasms and so for us the time dedicated to living in the same house as an ADDer has made life in itself hard enough.
Both myself + wife prefer being away from the house - as soon as we're back adder disrupts everything.
Have to spend your time chasing him, cleaning up after him, fixing everything he breaks - it really wears you out.
So -we've eliminated everything we can to get by - dog, shopping, holidays etc just to handle the stress of kid, work + sickness.

Laserbeak
04-27-16, 01:25 AM
Why don't you just get rid of the kid and keep the dog? Problem solved.

Obviously I'm not serious about that, but I'm trying to make a point. When you got the dog, you took on responsibility for it and its welfare. Your dog simply needs training. If you can't do it yourself, hire a trainer. Until the dog is trained, it will be up to you to keep them separate or closely watched.

Dogs, cats, and other pets aren't something you choose to "keep" or "don't keep" like some dress going out of style.

BellaVita
04-27-16, 01:34 AM
When I was a kid and we had a pug for a while, I kind of viewed him as a toy. I would push the poor puppy down the slide over and over, even after being told not to. (I was only 5 or 6)

I had to learn how that was not nice to the dog, I honestly couldn't understand how I was doing anything bad or mean.

We did end up getting a small dog, which I guess I learned how to treat the right way.

At 12 (almost 13) I got my first ever dog, a Standard Poodle who I named Bella. She was my life-saver, helped me through some of the hardest times. She was my friend. I did all of the training and took very good care of her. I enjoyed having her very much.

I think it depends on each kid. I can tell you this - I don't think learning how to treat a dog will transfer to social skills on how to treat another human - especially if he's autistic which was discussed in another thread he might be.

It's great that the dog is gentle and patient with him.

To me, it sounds like he needs the dog and loves her. She might be his only friend sometimes, dogs can provide great companionship. He might need to be worked with on how to treat a dog nicer, but I really think it would be an emotional benefit for your son - as long as he isn't expected to be fully responsible for the dog.

Bouncingoffwall
04-27-16, 05:24 PM
All children need to be taught empathy for living things. I always have to make sure my 9-month-old daughter doesn't pull the cat's tail or fur.

It seems like they never get the message, but they will after many, many redirections, explanations and (appropriate) consequences.

Delphine
04-27-16, 06:08 PM
We had a similar enough problem 20+ years ago. We took a week off to address the problem, with an adult present at all times. Practically, that meant the adults taking turns 16 hours a day, to take 4 hour relays (or do work shifts).... where child and dog were supervised 100% of the time with a wide awake adult supervising everything.
We agreed on key words ("gently. gently. gently") Routine was a big part of it. Patient endurance, commitment, awareness, compassion and understanding.

My brother, my son, a close friend and myself agreed together to give this a week before we decided to part with the dog. Actually, it took 10/12 days, including the weekend. It worked. But it took huge commitment.

Is this something that could work for you? It certainly did for us and might be worth a try. In your shoes, I would be slow to pass up on the opportunity to teach your lovely child respect and compassion for animals.... and 7/10 days of endurance and commitment might earn you a lot.

Delphine
04-27-16, 06:43 PM
Not just unacceptable, but unaccepted. I hope I'm not splitting hairs here - what I'm trying to get at is that it's the kind of thing that if he does it to someone else's dog he may lose his face or hand. Not being violent with dogs is like not running into traffic; regardless of a child's levels of ability or maturity, he has to follow the rule every time.

This is a really important issue!! Soooooo true, that "if he does it to someone else's dog he may lose his face or hand."
Even if the child does not suffer injury, the dog will always be the tyrant here and might even be put to sleep.

One big reason to have dogs around children is to teach children respect for dogs and animals..... and teach dogs where the boundaries are too.... to take the golden opportunity to develop respect and compassion and boundaries. Qualities well worth developing as a life skill anyway, dogs or not.