2 Yr Old Rides Dog like a Horse

Updated on April 12, 2010
D.S. asks from Katy, TX
14 answers

how do you get a 2 yr old to quit treating a dog like a horse. he constantly sits on her. she is a very patient dog and acts like it doesn't bother her but I need to control it before he gets to heavy. His attention span is to short for time out I think. he will be 2 in 3 weeks. I don't feel this is a swat offense and don't swat if I dont have to the only other thing I can think of is putting him in his crib for time out. I know hes just playing but I worry about my dog to. she is a medium size dog and doesnt' act like it hurts. this just started tonight. I keep telling him the dog is not a horse but I really don't think a 2 yr old grasps this concept. any ideas? ps he is fascinated with putting little people on all of his little animals. any animal.

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So What Happened?

I asked this question so I would be a responsible pet owner and parent there is no need for telling me I need to be, why do you think I listed this post? what I have decided is to pull him every time and tell him no and put him on his rocking horse. I guess the live one was more appealing.The only time I believe in swats is if it is something that is going to hurt him ( ex finger in the light socket) as others pointed out if the dog gets hurt it will snap out of instinct this is true. I decided to swat if he doesnt quit within a very short while. this is the same as putting a finger in a light socket its tempting fate. and I do agree with the statement "a swat hurts less than a bite". as for explaining to him he is developmentally slow in speech and hearing this answer won't work.it would if he was in the upper 2's. but he dont turn 2 til the 5th. I did like the restate of "we don't sit on dogs"(short sweet to the point) it should make more sense to him than a dog isn't a horse.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

you stop your child however you need to, that is absolutely unacceptable. there is going to come a day that the dog doesn't like it, and she is going to defend herself. i have four dogs(we used to have five, one passed away a few years ago) and three children, i have NEVER allowed any of my children at any age to treat our dogs improperly(riding on, sitting on, pulling, pinching, hitting, kicking, etc.). you watch him 100% of the time that he has access to the dog, and you pull him off the second he attempts to get on her and tell him "no", repeat, repeat, repeat. if you can't watch for a period of time, you need to separate the dog and child by a baby gate or a crate for the dog. my animals love my children dearly and vice versa, but i don't expect them to put up with any rough treatment from the children either. a dog's spine is not made to be ridden, and you could be looking at potentially costly or life ending injury over time by allowing this to go on. good luck, 2 is an age where they DEF understand rules and boundaries, they are just testing the waters to see if you will back up what you say!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Get your child a ride-on toy to replace the attraction to the ride-on dog :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Our dog is large (~70 lbs) and began having behavior issues when our first child was about 15 months old. She (the dog) gets separation anxiety and is constantly trying to establish herself higher in the pack - where she used to be before we had 2 kids. In our case, she bites the molding around the windows when we're outside and she's not. It's becoming an expensive issue to resolve.

Our dog is patient, and submissive, too. But, we had to start seeing an animal behavioralist when all this started. He has 40 years experience as a vet and a behavioralist, and I can only imagine what he'd say about this.

He didn't even want us to let our dog on the sofa because she'd be at eye level with our son and perhaps challenge dominance in the family.

I'd put an end to it immediately. It's not safe - that's the main reason. It doesn't matter how calm of a dog it is, if there's one time the dog doesn't like it, your son is going to get hurt (either by being bitten or thrown off the dog's back).

Our daughter just turned 2, so I think you can tell them why it's not appropriate. But, if it were our house, our dog, and our child, I'd be firm in saying no anytime I saw it happening.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You're going to have to watch your son closely and nip this behavior in the bud before the dog nips him in the butt. At his age, a "We don't ride dogs." and redirection are the most effective. He'll figure it out eventually that riding the dog is a big NO and that you mean business. I love the idea of getting him a toy to at least sit on or a riding toy (they have horse ones, right?).

It will take more work on your part and it might seem like it takes forever for him to "get it", but he will. Patience is a virtue. :D Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I am sorry to be harsh, but jeez! be a responsible parent and dog owner.

We don't sit on a dog. Period. You sit on the dog, you get a timeout. Right away! If you are in a situation where you can't supervise them directly - say your cooking or using the bathroom - the dog and the child need to be separated. Either put the dog in a crate or your child in a safe room, that he cannot get out of.

How often have I heard before:"I can't believe old Sparky bit him, he has NEVER bitten anyone before and couldn't hurt a fly!"

It doesn't matter how "tolerant" the dog is of your son's behavior. Most children that are injured from dog bites, get bitten by their family pet. You are setting your dog and your child up for an incident, by not teaching your child how to properly behave with the dog.

If your dog is large enough for your child to ride on, even a "mild correction" from your dog, can result in severe injury. Don't bet your child's health on the fact that the dog has not reacted, YET.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i do not think you can or should get into explanations about why it's not okay. just tell him very firmly that it's not and take him off. over and over again. until he gets it you are going to have to be very vigilant. i agree that he's a bit young for time out and he should not be hit for doing this, but he needs to know without a doubt that this is not okay and you really mean it. a lot of folks are saying the dog won't let him hurt her. this is not true.
protect your dog, and if you can't watch him around her, put her somewhere safe. this also protects your child. if he really hurts her she may very well inadvertently hurt him back, and no one wants that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Since the dog doesn't seem to mind, I'd just let it go. The dog is not going to let him hurt him. When your son gets bigger the dog is going to walk away, twist, lie down or in some way prevent him from getting on him. Dogs can be such calm, patient pals. That's one reason we have them for pets. They're good at teaching kids by natural consequences. If your dog has shown himself to be a calm and patient pet I'd let your dog and son handle it. Learning from each other is a part of learning how to be pals. This experience will be helpful when he's older and learning how to get along with other children.

If he's prone to snapping or biting then I would recommend stopping your son. But then, if your dog is prone to snapping I wouldn't let my son be around the dog because we can not be sure what would upset him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi D., I do have a dog that is "ridable" and it is not acceptable! You need to just make it a rule exactly like it's a rule not to play in the potty or with an outlet! Time-outs for a 2 yr old are possible (we made our girls stand in a corner at that age) if you are serious about them. You don't have to explain yourself or your rules to your child at this age! No sitting on the Dog. simple, plain, effective! Remember the kiss method when making rules for your children: Keep It Super Simple!! Best wishes

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

This is so normal. I wouldn't consider it a punishable offense at all. If the dog is uncomfortable, it will sit down, and the child will slide off the back onto the ground - great fun! I did this when I was young; so did my siblings, and many of the children I know who have pet dogs who are large enough to "ride". Generally the dog won't go more than a step or two before dismounting its rider. Really I don't see a problem worth disciplining here. Save the discipline for poking the dog's eyes or other disrespectful and hurtful behaviors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i'm pretty sure telling your 2 year old the dog isn't a horse isn't going to go very far in his little mind. remove him, redirect him, tell him "no, we don't sit on the dog." if this just started tonight, he'll probably get over it pretty quickly if you handle it right. don't freak out or make a big deal about it. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son did this too! We have a German Shepherd and luckily the dog was very tolerant of our son. I tried to get him to stop to no avail. What finally worked was one day he climbed on the dogs back and the dog decided to dart quickly into the other room. My son went flying off the back of the dog and landed on the floor. He was not hurt, but he never climbed on the dog again!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think time out is a good idea, if he just started doing this thing today, it'll take a bit before the time out works. I would not put him in his crib, using his bed as a punishment is asking for bedtime issues. While I'm not big on hitting, I wouldn't mind this being a swat offense because it does need to stop. He could hurt the dog and when that happens, her instinct may kick in. A swat on the bottom is going to hurt much less than a dog bite.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

You'll have to explain over and over that the dog is not a toy and that he is a pet. Yes, time out is prefect but don't put him in his crib as that is a place to sleep not be punished. Find a stool, chair or even high chair for the time to be to taken. Since this just started and you are on top of it, you'll be able to end it quickly as well as long as you are consistent and your hubby does the same thing you do. You'll both feel like broken records for a few days but you'll break the habit before you know it and soon just be able to ask your son if he wants to go to time out as a warning for trying to get on the dog.

Good luck



answers from Detroit on

Just explain that your dog is for petting and cuddling and not for sitting on.
Just say that doggy doesn't like to give piggy back rides, but loves to have their belly rubbed instead. I am sure its a going to take some repetition and consistency. We have always told our daughter to make nice nice to all animals. Now when she sees a dog she wants to pet, she'll ask if she can make nice. I feel your pain, in the recent weeks my 2.5 year old just discovered our dog (even though the dog has lived with us and my daughter her whole life) and is constantly trying to pick her up and chase her and play with her and feed her, all day, the poor dog is so worn out by the end of the day. I am sure in a few weeks your daughter (and mine) will find something new to play with and focus on.

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