Saturday, 27 February 2010

Help! Need advice please!

We are at a loss and don't know where to turn so I thought I'd ask all of you for your advice. We moved to Canada in November and are living with my mom who has a dog. You may have seen her in some of the pictures.
Before we moved we were worried that L would be scared of Petra(the dog)because she'd always been scared of dogs in England. Well we have totally the opposite problem. L is absolutely besotted with Petra and mauls her every chance she can get. She likes to hug her, poke her face, lie on her, let her lick her face, get in her basket and sleep with her and basically harass her. The dog doesn't like any of this and is not used to children.
We've tried every approach we can think of from having many conversations with L about how we need to be gentle and not bother the dog to being fairly stern, telling her she's hurting Petra to being very stern and physically removing her from the dog. Nothing works at all! We try to distract L with something else. She just goes right back to the dog as soon as she can. This is especially a problem when L is tired and she tries to use Petra to cuddle.
We really don't know what else to do. We don't believe in "time outs" and haven't had any other reason to use drastic punishments.
We don't know what else to do and don't want the poor dog to suffer or one day loose her patience. Please any advice would be really appreciated.


Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

We have four dogs at my house right now and when my nephew comes over, he is definitely not afraid of any of them but only one of the four dogs is older and has the potential to snap so we always remind my nephew to be gentle and when needed, we just move the dog. One suggestion would be to get another dog that your child can play with:) Another suggestion is to sit by the child and dog often and show how to be gentle. Your child may lose some interest in the dog after a bit, it just takes time and I don't know of any real right or wrong answer - just trial and error. If the dog starts to get impatient, then move the dog and remind the child to be gentle. Everyone (both dog and child) need to be trained...

Zonnah said...

I think you might just need time. My son was like that with our dog and he is starting to get better. One thing I do when he is not being gentle is put our dog in the bedroom and our dog is more then excited to get away from our son :). I then talk to my son and tell him if he can not be nice he does not get to play with the dog. But, I really think it just takes time, unfortunately.

Montessori Beginnings said...

Thank you for taking the time to leave your advice. I'm afraid getting another dog is out of the question so we're all just going to have to tuff it out! Hopefully with time L will mature and be able to appreciate her new friend without mauling her.

Kathy said...

Hi there,
My advice would go something like
the post above...seperating dog
and child and then slowly bringing
them together for periods of time.
As soon as it is not going well,
they'd be seperated again. I don't know if that is practical in your
situation. It is not unlike having
two children in a class that are
at it.Sometimes finding something else to occupy and distract either child or dog will work. You could
also model how to pet the dog and
make a Montessori excercise like
"Grace and Courtesy" excercises...
;) K.

Cheryl said...

Only just found your site, but I would like to add one other point.

I agree with separating and then explaining to the child. I find that my children don't want their best friend to be sent out, so they have learnt to curb their behaviour.

If I have to remind any of my children not to crowd our dog, I always make sure that it is not in front of the dog. She (the dog) may interpret this as promotion in the pack for her and take on responsibility for telling off the child next time.

The children know I expect them to be considerate to her, but at the same time the dog has to see herself as the bottom of the pack.

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