Child aggressive with animals

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Poll J
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Child aggressive with animals

Post by Poll J » 30 Jun 2010, 18:11

A friend of a friend (yes, that old chestnut, but I'm trying to keep this totally anonymous) adopted a child about a year ago, who is now 2 and a half. The child had been very attached to its previous foster carer and was placed at just under one. The adoptive parents have two dogs (not labradoodles) and the child is apparently aggressive with them, pulls fur and tails etc. The child has also been aggressive with other animals and the cat won't go anywhere near. I would imagine that the child, given its start in life, is very jealous of the animals' position in the family, and the attention they get from the parents. It's getting to be a big problem.The adopter has been advised to keep the dogs and the child totally separate, but I'm not sure that this is the right advice, as shouldn't they be trying to find a way of the child and the dogs living together harmoniously, and will they be able to achive this by keeping them separate? The adoptive mum said that the dogs would never harm the child, but I don't think you can ever be sure. Some advice on whether separation is the right response would be really welcome. Thanks.

1877debbie
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by 1877debbie » 30 Jun 2010, 18:24

Is it possible for your friend to contact the local authority and enquire to see if they are eligable for some additional support? It may be that some theraputic work needs to be done with the child to help address this behaviour x
Debbie & Hendrix

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annvinton
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by annvinton » 30 Jun 2010, 18:37

Your friend should remember that children and dogs need the same training! :lol: :lol:
So how would you work with a dog that was pulling fur etc.?
Some sort of 'time out' for bad behaviour - don't speak or talk to child - except one word "NO".
Lots of praise and TREATS for good behaviour, especially hugs and attention.
Might work.

Ann & Ben

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Leah
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by Leah » 30 Jun 2010, 18:51

This child sounds like a typical 2 year old to me. It probably gets a very interesting and impressive reaction every time it hurts the family pets and enjoys the resulting attention!
I have worked with children all my life and have 3 boys. I think keeping the dogs and child apart is un-realistic in a family situation and ultimately teaches the child nothing.
I would say however that a child that young should be supervised at all times with animals as even the most placid dog has it's limits!
My 3 year old has been too rough on occasion with Monty and has been removed from the room for time-out in his room, then made to apologise to the dog!
I still keep at least one of them where I can keep an eye on them all the time and I have lost count of the times I have to shout "Stop bothering the dog!"
Encouraging the child to "help" look after the dogs, brushing them, helping to put food in their bowls, top up their water, give them a biscuit and ask them to "sit" etc might help him to feel more caring towards them
Leah

Rhonk
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by Rhonk » 30 Jun 2010, 19:48

i don't have kids but work with them, and from experience i think the worst thing that can be done is avoid the problem, which i would think separating them constantly is doing. Controlled meeting, planned short and positive activities where the child learns how much fun a dog can be and how much positive attention he/she gets from the parents as well as the dog. Lots of positive praise, lots of focus on the child. A set number of warnings and time out for the bad behaviour, then a chat AFTER the time out has finished as to why the time out was given and how to avoid it. Or a chart for good behaviour/ interaction with the dog at these set times which then results in a treat on a saturday. Kids with complex backgrounds have so much to deal with it's always slowly slowly to work things through and allow them to build the confidence to build positive relationships with those around them - including the dog....
I work with SEN children and often when there are issues they are addressed through social stories - it works very well.
Good luck - i'm sure they can work it out over time.

winnieb
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by winnieb » 30 Jun 2010, 20:22

I have three children and whilst they love our dogs they also have no idea of an animals limits. I am also constantly asking them to leave the dogs alone and teaching them the correct way to handle dogs but some goes in but most doesn't :lol:

I wouldn't advise seperation more controlled interaction and making it a game so the child feels rewarded for behaving correctly around the dog but it does take time and my children have had dogs since before they were born but we are still teaching how to behave around them they are 7,6 and 4. I certainly wouldn't trust my dogs 100% around my children even though I know they are harmless.
Clare,Ivy, Cookie and Barney x
A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

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helenahigson
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by helenahigson » 30 Jun 2010, 20:35

All good comments!! i would also throw in the pot does the child have any medical problems? My son has Autism and ADHD. At that age he would often start by stroking the cat then not letting go!!! He got a sensory feedback from the fur!!! This has continued with me having dogs but progressed to Owen getting on the floor with them letting them climb all over him then wanting to hurt them if they scratched or mouthed him!!! I have never been able to take my eye off my son with my pets but i do work with him and am very firm when he crosses the line!!! As you say taking on a child not all his medical problems are yet known!!! Equal balance i agree not to seperate but include in feeding walks etc. Good luck anyone have a child with special needs who could share with me their storeys would be nice. Thanks Helena.
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helenahigson
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by helenahigson » 30 Jun 2010, 20:38

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helenahigson
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by helenahigson » 30 Jun 2010, 20:41

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Clair&Bob
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by Clair&Bob » 01 Jul 2010, 06:30

My youngest is 3 in August and he's just the same although I wouldn't say he was agressive - just being a toddler. I could never trust a dog 100% and Finley is always being told to 'leave the dog alone'. He adores Bobby but I don't think he realises that he's actually real (if you know what I mean) and that he does feel hurting. Bobby is very laid back with him but I don't let them out of my sight or earshot - even yesterday, Finley worked Bobby up into a bit of a frenzy and Bobby jumped up and scratched his face - I didn't know who to scream at first!! :roll:
Clair & Bob

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KateW
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by KateW » 01 Jul 2010, 10:48

It sounds as though there may be a lot of stress and tension in your friend's family, Poll. I agree with the others that a two year old is the centre of his own universe and everything relates to them.....

Personally I can't see how long term you can keep children and dogs apart in an ordinary family home. I do think that people often don't realise how difficult it is to constantly supervise them but it is a fact that most children who are bitten by dogs suffer this in their own home and it is very important not to expect dogs or cats to put up with toddler abuse....

I don't know whether this advice to keep them separate has been provided by a well meaning friend or by somebody with some experience who may have observed stressed behaviour on the part of the dogs? Sometimes dogs will not enjoy life with children especially if they have been the babies until a human one appears. There are a couple of links on the LT site which might be of interest to your friend -


http://www.labradoodletrust.com/children_and_dogs.html

http://www.labradoodletrust.com/babies_and_dogs.html

I hope your friends can resolve this.
Katherine
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Poll J
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by Poll J » 01 Jul 2010, 11:33

Thank you everyone for your advice, which I have passed on. My friend is a children and families social worker (as am I) but she doesn't have dogs and doesn't really like them, which is why I questioned her advice to the mother to keep the child and the dogs apart.

smilerz
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Re: Child aggressive with animals

Post by smilerz » 01 Jul 2010, 11:49

Just a suggestion...try going on facebook as there is a huge amount of groups on there with children with Autism and other behavioul disabilities and these families all pull togeather with advice from each other as they have actually experienced and animals and one of the major chats they have.

Good luck.. but I personally would let the dogs have some time out but still be intergrated. If you pressure a dog for too long in these circumstances then you are asking for a nip at some stage..little and often and you will reap such great rewards..

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