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4 year old playing too rough with new puppy

I've been having problems with my 4 yr old son and our new puppy. I got her as a bday present from my DH almost 2 months ago and the problems seem to be worsening. He plays way too rough w/her! A few weeks ago, he was playing outside, blowing bubbles and letting her chase them. My DH went inside for 1 min to answer the phone, came back out and the dog was shaking uncontrollably, wouldn't move or walk. Asked our son what he'd done and he described how he had picked her up, swug her around and tossed her. Needless to say, he was grounded from the dog (harder than it sounds) for 2 weeks. We were just getting to where we trusted him to play with her again, but apparently too soon. Don't want to give her away, but not sure what to do. Is this normal 4 year old behavior or more than that? Is it intentional or just what 4 yr olds do? We've had numerous talks with him and he seems to understand but it doesn't stick! Help?!

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Asked by ButterflyMeli at 4:51 PM on Jun. 25, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (2)
  • well, when you talked to him about it, what did you say? did you tell him that the dog is alive, etc. things like that and show him what 'gentle touches' are? i have a 4 year old and a 16 month old. we have 2 cats and 2 crabs and a bird. they have never treated an animal like i would not say it's 'typical'. maybe you have to really explain to him that it's a living creature and has feelings like he does. i'm not in any way trying to say that he's psycho or anything, but if you think that he is hurting the dog intentionally then you should get rid of the dog and take him to be evaluated. that is a sign of problems (if you think that he's doing it on purpose or something)

    Answer by princessbeth79 at 11:10 PM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • We've told him that the dog is very fragile and needs to be taken care of like we take care of him, has to be handled gently. Asked if he would like to be thrown around like that and he says no. He clearly understands that it is wrong. I am at a loss for any other things I could say to him to make him understand! Puppy is so good natured that she won't nip him back or anything when he picks on her. Everyone else keeps telling me that hes just 4 and this is just something that they do, but you would think after so many times he'd eventually get it. He's not rough with other children or anyone, so I don't know where this is coming from. Yeah I am worried that I do need to take him to a doc just no idea where to start. Scares me that this could be something more serious then just a 4 year old being curious and testing his limits.

    Answer by ButterflyMeli at 11:36 PM on Jun. 25, 2009

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