My 34 Month Old Is Mean to Our Dog

Updated on March 29, 2007
M.A. asks from Portland, ME
4 answers

My son has started being very rough with our boston terrier. He likes to hit and chase her around the house for no reason. How can i get him to be nicer to and respect animals more?

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answers from Boston on

I am a family child care provider and mom of two as well. We have always had pets and most of the children in my care do as well. This has been an issue for some of my dc children at home. I have told the parents the same thing I do when the children are physical with another child. You walk right over to them and say "Can you show me how you touch nice?" Have them show you soft touching and then tell them that this is the way that we touch people and animals...practice touching the dog nice throughout the day and make sure to praise your child when you see nice touching. Remember that a dog can snap at any time...even a very friendly one. Never leave your child unattended with any animal! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm not really sure what the best answer is for your question. My first thought is that a 2 1/2 year old is old enough to understand that there are consequences for their behavior. But he also may think what he is doing is fun and play for him and the dog. I think at this age he is old enough to understand the differences if explained to him in a way he can grasp. I'm sure if you check the library there are probably some great books out there that you could read to him to help him to better understand the concept.



answers from Boston on

Hi M.,
I have 2 children and when they were younger they used to terrorize my cats! The best advice I can give is to bring your son over to the dog with you and pet your dog gently and say " Niiiice, Niiice", so he knows you're being gentle with the dog. He's still young but the more you show him the better he'll understand. I hope this helps. It worked for my kids. J.



answers from Providence on

Hi M., Young children learn appropriate behavoir from those around them. Perhaps you can chose a time when your child can be really nice to your pet, maybe that's feeding time, when he can get the dogs dish, or it's play time when he can get the dogs toy. It's a great time for the little one to learn some responsibility and feel good that he is doing something nice for his pet. Make every positive gesture a big big deal, reward the child for being a helper and a gentle playmate to the family pet. Model the behavoir you expect to see and
talk about how the pet feels when you rub or scratch his back nicely. You should see a change in his behavoir with time. Young children catch on quickly, they love the positive attention when they are doing something right. Praise, praise, praise. I notice that a lot of young children take pleasure in hurting animals, but I have used the method above and found that it works with time, for most children. Good Luck. I'd like to hear how things work out for your son and the family pet.

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