19 answers

My 5Yo Won't Stop Being Mean to Our puppy...need Advice

Hi Mama's. I need help. I don't know what to do. We recently took in a puppy (about 9 months old) that was going to be taken to the pound if a home wasn't found for her. She is the sweetest thing. (a puggle) We'll my 5yi is mean to her. She hasn't been aroung dogs and is afraid of big dogs. But this dog is little and gentle. She will hit her on the head and say "no" to her or she'll kick the dog when she doesn't want her near her. Many talks and time out's and it's not working. I ask her why she's mean to the dog but get the "i don't know" response and then she tells the dog I'm sorry and then 5 mins later it happens again. She loves her or at least shows some love to her but then is hitting. I don't know if it's because she is the littlest one in the house (my oldest is 11) and the dog is the only one she can boss around, since everyone else bosses her around? I just don't know how to get her to stop. My poor puppy. Help anyone???? Thank you so much mama's!!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to all of you with "constructive" advise. I will be trying all of the suggestions. Things have been better the last two nights and she is more reponsive to talks and cuddling with the dog and giving her treats. I would also like to address some of the comments left. I do not allow my child to "abuse" the dog. Maybe I should have used different wording in my request. The dog doesn't weigh 5 lbs she weights 20lbs and my daughter is 35 pounds. She doesn't really kick her but more of like pushing with her foot. You don't need to preach to me about "letting" her abuse my dog. It's very far from abuse. It almost like rough play but I don't want it to get out of hand. I posted my question for advise, not be be slammed from people (other mother's I thought were on here to help not critisize) Thank you to all who understood my situation and answered with some real helpful solutions. You guy's are great!!

Featured Answers

He could be having difficulty expressing himself to you or to the puppy. You may want to find books on prodigy and advanced children, and/or indigo & crystal children. All the children born at this time are advanced. I haven't run into any who aren't. It may just be that he is frustrated.

Also, NAET.com for allergy eliminations. Emotional/Mental & Physical problems stem from allergies.

Be well.

N.

More Answers

Sounds like displaced anger/frustration to me, and the poor puppy is the "outlet" for your daughter's pent up whatever.

If she cannot develop "empathy" or responsible handling of the pet however, then she should not be allowed to be with the pet. Or the pet will become unfairly affected.

Does your daughter's eldest sibling boss her around or do teasing toward her or anything that is not age appropriate??? If so, your daughter may be just striking out at the dog, for whatever is done to her... out of frustration, because the puppy is "harmless" and cannot lash out at her like "older" humans can and is sort of defenseless.

Your daughter is already 5 years old... at least in Kindergarten? So she 'knows' in her heart what is right and wrong. It probably is true, that she does not know "why" she is hurtful and abusive to the puppy... all she knows is that she can 'pick' on it and it relieves her of stress perhaps.

In some way, she is doing to the dog, what she feels inside maybe... and it is an outlet for her.
I would talk with her, or perhaps ask a Teacher on how you can help her to express herself or how the ENTIRE family can help her...

Perhaps even ask your eldest child, what she thinks? I know, as a child and being the youngest, my sister was SUPER bossy toward me and teased me a lot... it pissed me off, and I didn't understand why "I" got scolded for things... it was probably because my sister was older and more able to defend herself and verbalize things and get herself out of situations. Versus for me, being the youngest, I was not as quick mouthed as my sister... thus, I got blamed more.

But certainly, the puppy has to be helped too... or it will become afraid of your daughter.

All the best,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

I don't know, but when my 6 year old nephew kicked my dog in the leg, I walked over and kicked him in the leg. He was SHOCKED! I then explained how the dog isn't expecting it or liking it either and from then on, anytime I saw him mistreat the dog, I was going to give him the same exact treatment. Needless to say, it worked. A dose of their own medicine sometimes helps. (obviously I'm not promoting any beatings of small children, please realize no marks or bruises were left on my nephew, it was more the outrageousness of me kicking at him that got his attention, no need to be harsh) Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Have you trying doing the same thing to her taht she dode to the puppy of course not as hard as she does to do the puppy also have her hold the puppy in her lap and praise her when she does so some times it takes a little time to get use to a animmal by the way in between give her lots of hugs so she knows she is not being replaced by an aanimal with patience shell come around let her know that she is very important to you but dogs are fun encourge her her to feed. Pet and love her londerful pet goo luck. Ive found raiseing my 4 children positive approch worked better than punishment A. no. Hills

1 mom found this helpful

This has got to be a tough situation but it could get worse, As hard as it would be, it might be the best for the puppy and your child to find a new home for the pup. Perhaps even talking with your child and letting them know that this behavior is cruel to the pet and if it happens again the puppy will have to go to a "safe" home. A tough love lesson.

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Hi M.,
This isn't about the dog, but the "why" question. Many of us ask children "why" and always get an unsatisfactory response. Why? Because they don't know, they just want to and don't know the reason. So don't ask, just makes them feel stupid. Instead, ask, "what are you doing?" Ask children to reflect on the action or the behavior. Ask her what the dog does when she kicks it, how does she think the dog feels? How would she feel if someone did that to her? This will not remedy the action in one try, but over time she will think about what she is doing, the why may remain an enigma.
Good luck, Wendy

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My best suggeston would be to sign the puppy up for "puppy kindegarten" and have your daughter participate in the class. Whether the puppy needs the additional training or not it will teach your daughter the patience that she (and the puppy) will need. I think it is SO important that kids grow up with pets. Also, have your daughter be "responsible" for feeding her. If she is taking care of the puppy it may also make her think twice before just jumping to the hitting. Remember, this is not a lost situation. Have fun with it and your daughter will too.

~V.

One more thing I just thought of! If your daughter doesn't want her around, have her throw a toy for her. Typically, puppies will take the toy and run off with it. maybe thatwould help for the immediate....

1 mom found this helpful

this is completely inapropriate behavior by your daughter. especially with such a small dog, she can cause serious injury or even death to the animal. is she can't be nice, then she can't be by the dog at all, no if's, and's or but's. by being mean to the animal and her not correcting her behavior, even after your discipline, she has shown that she isn't ready for the animal and i would suggest letting her know that you're going to get rid of the puppy because she can't be nice. cruelty to animals, especially by a child that can understand reasoning and right and wrong, leads to other mean acts and needs to be corrected.

1 mom found this helpful

When my kids were mean to our dogs, I consistantly showed them how to be nice. And then if they still weren't being nice then they couldn't touch the dogs. If they wanted to touch them, they had to be nice. If it got to this point, it didn't take long for them to change their actions because they wanted to pet the dogs. Be consistant and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Do you watch the Dog Whisperer on Nat Geo? Watching that and Dog Town taught my son how to be a good pack leader and treat his puppy with love, compassion and kindness. Also check out the Dog Whisperer website:

http://www.cesarmillaninc.com/

He has a ton of great advice on raising kids and dogs together!

What we did for our son (he was 5 when we got our puppy) is made it partially his responsibility. He is responsible for feeding the puppy in the morning before school and again at night after we ate. He is also responsible for brushing the puppy and helping to bathe him. This has helped because it's his dog now.

Also ask her what she is doing when you see her hit the dog or be mean to it in any way. I only had to do this a few times with my son with my mad look (eyebrows down, frowning I am not happy look) and he stopped. I also would ask him if he thought hitting the puppy made the puppy sad, scared, or happy. Once he figured out that it made the puppy sad and not want to be with him anymore he pretty much stopped.

1 mom found this helpful

One other options - we have a book called "Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear" and, after reading the story and saying that phrase over and over again, it has helped our 2yo remember to be kind and gentle to our dog and 2 cats, at least most of the time. It might be young for your 5yo, but it might help to see the scenario in a book.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the exact problem with my then 3 year old when we got our puppy. I tried EVERYTHING! As a last resort, I followed the suggestion of my mom and told my son that it was against the law to hurt animals and if he didn't stop then I was going to have to call a police office over to talk to him. I wrote a fake number and put it on the frig and whenever he was caught hurting the dog I would march over towards the number and say I was going to call "Officer Barnes" to come and talk to him. Sometimes I had to grab the phone and pretend I was dialing, he would freak out, then I would sit down and again explain how it's against the law to hurt animals. This took around two or so weeks and the behavior stopped. I know it's drastic but it was a last resort. He is now 4 1/2 and loves his dog. It didn't have any ill effects with him and police officers. In fact, he now really respects the job they do to protect people and animals. Hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Michelle - I agree with Valerie and Jules. Petsmart has great puppy kindergarten classes and I think if your daughter is put in charge of helping the puppy learn things and be responsible for the puppy's daily maintence (on a 5 year old level) it just might help her enjoy the puppy. Hopefully in no time they will be the best of friends. I am actually going thru a "I'm the boss" phase with my 2 1/2 year old (Not exactly your same situation). She knows that I am the boss of her and she wants so badly to be "a boss" and even suggested she would be the boss of our 2 dogs ~ to which I very quickly denied her, but explained to her that I could always use her help to feed them (which has now become her "job"). We finally agreed that she was the boss of her 2 baby dolls. She couldn't be happier. Oh, one other thing, my daughter did go thru a quick phase of pulling one of our dog's hair..she thought it was cute and would laugh. She told me that she was just playing with him - God love the dog for his patience/tolerance with her! So finally one day I asked her if she would like me to pull her hair...she said yes (thinking it would be fun)...I did and she didn't like it. I let her know that is what the dog feels when she does that to him and she very quickly learned that she didn't want the dog to "hurt". Granted, you cannot kick or hit your daughter like she does to the dog, but at 5, she most definately has an idea of the pain level she is causing. Maybe a gentle reminder of "sweetheart, do you think you would like it if one of your friends hit or kicked you?" (hopefully she says NO)...."well, the puppy doesn't either". Remind her constantly to be gentle with the dog and don't let them be unsupervised until you can trust your daughter has learned to be gentle. Good luck, puppies and kids are supposed to go together. I'll keep good thoughts for you!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like our daughter is jealous and needs to be given an appropriate outlet to express it. Try spending more special time with our daughter. Having said that, her bullying and unkind behavior must be stopped now. Perhaps a reward chart for appropriate behavior, and a clear punishment for unkindness. Since her impulse control is not quite in place I would not allow her to "play" with the puppy unless she is supervised. I trained dogs for several years and it was not uncommon to see dogs abused by kids. Don't let this continue - t's not good for your child or the dog. Worst case, find the puppy a new home. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am sorry, but alot of the women on here are just biatches! You obviously love the puppy and are looking for help and people want to chastise you. Shame on you people!

Sorry, had to say that. Moving on. You do need to get a handle on the situation because after all it is an animal and they can become aggressive. You have to teach your daughter to be gentle by repetition. Take her hand and show her how to touch and pet the puppy gently. Make sure you are always around when she is spending time with the puppy and keep a close eye on her. If she hits or is mean, take the puppy away and tell her if she can't be nice she can't play with the puppy and mean it! I adore my dogs and we had to make it work because I was deadset on keeping them when my dd was born. She is 20 months old and very nice to our dogs. Occassionally she will trip and fall on one and I tell her you gave the doggie owies, say sorry and she does and pets them. You have a great opportunity to make it work because the child was there first, not the dog. You just have to teach her how to treat the pup. It may take time, but in the meantime don't let them be unsupervised because it really is unfair to the puppy. At your dd's age, if you are set on keeping the pup, I would take away her priveleges if she continues until she gets the drift! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

From the very start, I have a no-hit policy from my kids towards my pets. Let me ask you a question: How would you handle it if you child was kicking a little baby? Or turning on the gas range, endangering the house and family?
My kids KNOW I am serious when I say, "Don't pull the cats tail" or "The dog doesn't like that!" I explain that our pets are members of our family and being mean is not to be tolerated one second. Take away a toy for 5 days. Give her a timeout for 6 minutes. The other thing you can do is get a little baby-carrier for your little furry kid and carry him around on your chest, just like you did your child. Children will demonstrate love and kindness, especially if it is emulated. Whenever one of my pets saunters up to us, we greet him lovingly. I'll ask my kids to kiss our little pets and/or pet them.

Remember: The same methods you would use to correct your your child if she kicked a baby, is the same if they kick a puppy.

I am a firm believer that pets are a beneficial part of a child's life. Children must know immediately that it is no more acceptable for them to hurt the pet than for them to stick their hand over a hot flame.

He could be having difficulty expressing himself to you or to the puppy. You may want to find books on prodigy and advanced children, and/or indigo & crystal children. All the children born at this time are advanced. I haven't run into any who aren't. It may just be that he is frustrated.

Also, NAET.com for allergy eliminations. Emotional/Mental & Physical problems stem from allergies.

Be well.

N.

Hi M., I too have the problem of my son being "not so nice" to our puppy. My son is 7 and likes to rough play with our 9 month old puppy. I tried everything to get him to be more gentle too. I am still working on the problem but I found that not letting him play or touch the puppy unless he can be nice has worked to some extent. I also will do the same thing to my son as he does to the dog, so he can feel what it is like to be bothered all the time. That seems to help him understand what a "pest" he is being to the pup. Good Luck to you (and to me too!)

ok this may sound mean to you but heres what i did with my daughter who is 2.
if she hits the dog i slap her hand (not hard but enough to stig a little) and i ask her did that feel nice?
if she pulls his ears, hair, or tail then i pull her hair and askher if it feels nice?
also if she kicks im i lightly kick her butt and yet again i ask her if it feels nice.
she always tells me no mama that hurts me and i say well dont do that to rascal that hurts him. it took about a week to break her from doing it and we have had our dog for almost 2 yeas now we got him as a puppy when my daughter was 8 months. they are best buddies.

You may need to try to see if other are treating the dog in the same way. She may be mimicking another member of the family. Also, maybe she can be in charge of taking care of the dog in some way. Making sure there is fresh water, feeding her. Also let her know that the dog is a part of your family now. The dog isn't with it's brothers and sisters so you are the family now. To show her love and kindness. Also try having your daughter play with her with toys for the puppy. These are suggestions.

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