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How do I get my 2 year old to stop torturing our dogs

Tryed timeouts, talking to him, yelling at him, separating them (which drive me nuts more than anything). It's like my son loves to see their reactions (snapping at him, jumping up and running away, growling, etc.) He gets a kick out of it and thinks its hysterical. What he does to them is nothing short of animal abuse and I dont know how to stop it. Nothing seems to work, he just doesnt care. He's got 2 bites now (minor), but I dont want them to get any worse, ya know. Any suggestions wold be great. I dont want to have to put my dogs down because its not really all their fault. They are actually really good with him considering what he does to them.


Asked by JMyersMom at 1:30 PM on Nov. 5, 2009 in Pets

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Answers (9)
  • I got a book called "Tails are not for pulling" and I read it to my 18 mo. old regularly. I noticed that she was learning a lot from books so I tried it. I use the same terminology in our house. "Nice touches only"..."Tails are not for pulling"..."Pets are not for squeezing"..."Backs are for scratching, can you scratch his back instead?"...most of the time it works. I also encourage them to play with dog toys...rather than say my daughter's hands (she loves to thrash her hands in their faces and hit them)...most of the time it works. However, if she's in a mood...there isn't much I can do about it. My dogs are both small and really good though but they will bite her to defend themselves (never broken the skin...just a warning bite really) and she usually comes screaming to me. I don't show a lot of sympathy...I just tell her "that's what happens when you're not nice to the doggie, etc.) Good Luck!

    Answer by ANGIE409 at 2:06 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • I would say that any time he does it, he goes right to his room or time out. You just need to be consistant with your punishment and don't over react with yelling or anything. Just as he is looking for a great big reaction with the dogs, he may be looking for an equally big reaction with you. So the next time, just take his hand, tell him firmly "no, we do not ____" and then put him in his time out spot for however long you do it. Do not look at him or react to anything he says or does unless it is inapproprate or he is trying to leave timeout. In which case you tell him calmly, "no" again and he goes right back to time out. Good Luck. I know it's tough... the twos can be trying!

    Answer by mom2BOYZnDad at 1:39 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • Does he ever listen or follow rules? I think that might be the bigger issue and that you're only now paying more attention to it because he's hurting your dogs. Sure you could re-home or put-down your dogs but that won't fix the problem. Toddlers are much smarter then most people think.

    Could you put your son in a play pen and not let him out until he learns how to treat the animals? I know it wouldn't be easy because your son will fight you tooth and nail, but wouldn't a few days of fighting be worth having a son who listens?

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:47 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • Yes, I realize I'm going to get blasted for this, but it's my opinion. You don't have to like it, but you asked.
    Bust his butt. You need to teach him that is unacceptable behavior, and get it shut down now, before he starts doing it to other children. You will have to come down on him like a ton of brick to get it shut down.
    Yes, I have children. Yes, I have pets. Yes, I have been in this situation. Yes, I spank. This method worked for my kids.

    Answer by debra_benge at 5:44 PM on Nov. 5, 2009

  • I agree with Debra on this!

    Answer by Starfire73 at 9:47 AM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • I agree with Debra and Starfire... bust his ass. Sounds mean but dang, look what you're letting him do... your poor pets don't deserve to be abused. Sometimes a good spank is what you need to teach kids things. Hurting something/someone is a time to spank for my kids and they know it so they don't do it anymore. Worth a shot.

    Answer by Gremlyn at 11:35 AM on Nov. 6, 2009

  • Spank him--you've tried everything else first. He needs to learn the dogs are fellow living creatures that are entitled to consideration, kindness and love.

    Answer by pagan_mama at 10:28 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

  • You would put your dogs to sleep because you have a brat of a child!?! That's pretty messed up.

    Please give them to a person who knows how to care for them.

    Answer by Sara.Robyson at 11:09 PM on Nov. 8, 2009

  • Yikes! Put the dogs to sleep???

    People should have to be licensed to own a pet. Grow up and be a responsible owner and better parent and SEPARATE your child. And if he does get to the dog spank him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:22 AM on Nov. 9, 2009