View Full Version : Bad kid, mean Mommy but good puppy

23rd June 2012, 01:50 AM
I have debated posting this because first I know I did the right thing and second I still be awful about the whole thing but maybe someone here can offer ideas just in case.

As some of you know I am newly unemployed (a good thing) and am home full time with my kids, ages 4, 12 and 16 AND our 2 dogs. My husband takes our older dog to work with him everyday so Fletcher is with us. I have had VERY STRICT rules with my kids about Fletcher. Especially concerning my 4 year old, surprisingly Fletcher and my 4 year old had gotten along very well. We had no problems with my son adjusting to having a puppy around, SUPERVISION required. My son even likes to help brush and feed Fletcher which is great. I do not think this "issue" was caused from my son's dislike of Fletcher.

Well, this morning we were in the car going out, Fletcher was in his car seat behind the passenger seat and my son was in his car seat behind the drivers seat. My son who a strong-willed child, began to have a fit about something and because he was mad at me (I think) he reached over and pulled poor Fletcher ear....my puppy yelped, I turned around to see why and within half a second I had the car pulled over and jumped into the backseat between them. Yes thur the seats!!! I was SO angry with my son, I unbuckled him and screamed him his face YOU ARE NEVER NEVER NEVER TO HURT FLETCHER AGAIN I was so mad tears where streaming down my face then I turned attention to Fletcher I just held him and cried. My poor puppy.....my son was shocked he was just watching me. I am a very strict parent when it comes to MY rules......I do not spank my children for the same reasons I would never strike a dog. However, I don't usually scream in my children's face. When I was calm and sure no lasting harm was done to Fletcher I did have my son say sorry to Fletcher and me. I also sat on the side of the road explaining to my son why he couldn't hurt anyone, including Fletcher. It was not my proudest parent moment. But again I did do the right thing. I spend the rest of the day reminding my son, your never going to do anything to hurt Fletcher again are you? Every time he would say no Mommy sorry Fletcher.

I think my son is having a little adjustment issues with not being in daycare anymore. I've tried to maintain a schedule and have things for us to do together. He has been having more fits lately however usually he does not do things like this, sure he cries when I say no from time to time but other than throwing himself on the floor he doesn't act out towards others. Well, needless to say I'm watching this situation very carefully. I am also going to continue to have my son play SUPERVISED with Fletcher hoping to strengthen their bond and ensure my son understands the rules about Fletcher. But I will not allow this to happen again, when we got home I moved Fletcher's car seat to the third row seat, with a A/C vent just in case...

If you have any other suggestions please be honest.....I can take it.


23rd June 2012, 03:10 AM
I don't have kids, but I think I may have reacted the same way as you.

I think your son learned his lesson. It must have been so upsetting to see that happen and have to deal with it. I can see how your son not being in daycare any more could be quite an adjustment for him. I hope all is well from now on :hug:

23rd June 2012, 03:53 AM
My parents would have spanked me, then explained (very loudly) that if I hurt the dog they'll call the police, and I'll go to jail forever.

I spent a large part of my childhood paranoid about being incarcerated for things like crying in public, not finishing my veggies, stealing my mom's favourite lipstick...

I'm not sure it's the best route, but it sure scared me straight.

It's funny they spent my whole childhood scaring me that they'd send me to prison if I did anything wrong, but now they complain that I never visit. And they wonder why I never get homesick.

23rd June 2012, 04:00 AM
I dont have kids but do you think its possible that your son feels a little 'put out' due to Fletcher getting a lot of attention that he maybe once got from his momma?? Being 4 he obviously isnt able to process these thoughts and understand that your love for him and for fletcher are 2 different kinds of love, so maybe he is acting out as its the only way he knows how to express himself? Hurting Fletcher as a way of hurting you?? I could be totally wrong, who knows, but its just a theory. I would have reacted just the same in your position, I just worry that it may have now reinforced the idea in your little ones head that you love fletcher 'more' than you love him or something? xx

23rd June 2012, 05:17 AM
I think NurseSophie is on to something, if you don't mind some ramblings from someone who has fairly recently "been there, done that" ;) . Your son is adjusting to being at home, and he's having to deal with having a "younger sibling" who takes Momma's time. As excited as our daughter was to get a puppy (she was 6), there was some definite "sibling rivalry" going on! "Don't pick the puppy up", "Be careful, the puppy is delicate", "I need to (take the puppy out, feed the puppy, etc.)", "She's tired, just leave her alone and let her nap" and on and on, plus the snuggles the puppy got and our daughter sometimes has to share...there was definite jealousy happening. It was kinda funny when we realized what was going on (since she's an only child, we weren't expecting to have to deal with that issue), but we had to address it all the same and it took a while for all the adjustments to be made ;) . One thing I would say, is if you have an issue with your son and Fletcher, just nip it in the bud and then drop it, don't "harp" to get your point across- it will just make him resentful, especially since if Fletcher accidently hurt your son, you know constantly bringing it up to Fletcher won't do any good, lol, and your son will notice the difference, even though he probably isn't old enough to comprehend the difference between the actions, say, Fletcher being bad and jumping on him and accidently scratching him, and him pulling Fletcher's ear- it will just register as favoritism in his young mind that you were only mad at him so long for what he did ;) . Maybe having a talk with him about how much more of a "big boy" he is than "baby dog Fletcher" would help? It helped some with our daughter, along with letting her help with "the baby" (which it sounds like you are already doing :) ).

I know it scared you, and next time it happens (it will, your son is only 4 ;) ), you won't be so surprised that it happened, nor that it brought up such intense feelings about it and you'll be able to deal with it swiftly and definitely again, without so much of the adrenaline taking over. I admit, my adrenaline still goes through the roof when I hear Rose yelp, and heavens, I have been known to, um, *raise my voice*, lol, but I don't panic- as much ;) . Don't forget, you're adjusting too! But being at home and watching "your boys" grow up together will be a great experience for all of you, IMH(SAHM)O :P .

23rd June 2012, 06:20 AM
I agree with Nurse Sophie and Furrfoot that your little boy is probably having a bit of sibling rivalry. As a mom, I will freely admit that I have done too much yelling in my parenting and I don't think it was effective. If he was jealous, having you yell at him then chew him out and fuss over Fletcher may have reinforced his fears of being supplanted (if that's what he's going through). My daughter has exhibited anger and frustration towards our animals sometimes, and I do make it very clear that it is not acceptable EVER to do so. But afterward, I try really hard to see things through her eyes and hear her out. Maybe your little guy needs more of you? The way you are including him in caring for Fletcher is great. I'd say do more of that. Praise him for being a really good big brother so he feels pride in having the puppy around. You dont want to position yourself with your son as being Fletcher's protector. You want your son to join you in that role. And remember--this too will pass!

23rd June 2012, 10:14 AM
I totally agree with what the others have written. You have the best interests at heart for both your son and Fletcher :) and you responded exactly as most of us here would, but my instinct is that your son may well be feeling a little left out of things -he's no longer your baby -fletcher has taken that role now. Like you said, he is also adjusting to being at home with you all the time too. So, keep doing what you started-playtime and interaction with Fletcher supervised, but maybe work on some 'priority' time with your son, where he is no.1 with you.
Best of luck- I know it will all work out for you.

23rd June 2012, 10:45 AM
As a Mum my main concern would be that if your son hurt Fletcher in a tantrum Fletcher would bite him back!

All dogs no matter how loving and gentle they usually are have the ability to attack when threatened or hurt.
If I were you I tried to explain to your little boy that you love him more than Fletcher but no way is being mean to the dog going to be tolerated.

Leo was under my older daughters feet once and she shoved him to the side. He yelped and I did tell her off.
Just make sure your little boy doesnt feel he's no longer your "baby" but taking out your temper on Fletcher is a definate "NO!"

23rd June 2012, 11:09 AM
First off, I think this indicates you must travel with Fletcher safely in a crate -- a dog seat is not safe for him anyway, if he is in reach of a child that young who will not understand limits of what he is doing and also has poor self control of any child that age. Please do not leave Fletcher exposed especially as you have now had a very serious warning. As Meljoy rightly says -- the next step could be a dogbite that will not only risk Fletcher's life (he can be required to be pts if you have to go to the ER with your son as a result!) but could set up a dangerous relationship between son and dog and make Fletcher permanently fear aggressive with kids. You CANNOT risk this.

There are lots of links in a thread pinned in the training section solely on raising kids with dogs. Please look at them -- there is excellent advise there and a good book recommendation. It is very hard to manage young kids and a puppy and as you now have Fletcher it has to be your responsibility to make sure all are kept safe and when needed, separate, with only very closely supervised interactions, ideally with kids sitting, not running around, and never out of arm's reach of an observant adult, with kids under 7 as a general rule.

A lot of breeders will not home puppies to families with kids under age 7+ not because cavaliers don't like children, but because it is a huge extra burden that owners tend to totally underestimate to have kids and a puppy mix safely, especially the small and vulnerable puppies like cavaliers. As you note so rightly, having a puppy is exactly like having all the extra work of a new small child. You are working hard make this all work but be sure to really understand the material in the links I have on kids and cavaliers as this to me is absolutely critical for safety and to make sure you don;t end up with a fear aggressive dog that needs rehoming. So many cavaliers I got into rescue from families that said the cavalier 'loved' kids were so clearly totally anxious around kids because so often interactions obviously were never supervised and the dog was manhandled (childhandled?) in what owners unfortunately viewed I guess as 'normal' family activities. If 'lucky' the dog simply ends up anxious and fearful and tries to avoid kids. :( But they can easily and up fear aggressive which is a tragedy for family, dog and kids and can end up with a dog biting a visiting child -- and the dog put down by a dog warden as a result.

So this is a really, really critical issue to take on and manage carefully.

PS I can understand the incident was really shocking to you, but if you are screaming at a child this is JUST as terrifying to a puppy or adult dog and from puppy view, will not be seen as 'reacting to the child's actions' but 'my owner is utterly terrifying and inconsistent as she scared me to death and now has grabbed me' and also will contribute to making a dog fear aggressive around kids as he will associate the frightening outburst from you to being around children. Loud outbursts are scary to animals especially puppies and every single interaction is important for shaping puppies into adult dogs. Remember, this also was NOT the child's 'fault' -- he is way too young to be that logical, or self controlled and is only a toddler. It has to always, always, always be the ADULT'S job to make sure situations like this cannot happen -- which means Fletcher needs to be safely out of reach of a child in the first place -- the back seat is not a place you can visually manage safely if driving. :thmbsup:

A good time now to take a deep breath, sit back, read through the management tips, and think about how to prevent conflicts in future so everyone stays happy and you end up with a happy adult dog and safe kids. :)

23rd June 2012, 11:21 AM
These are the links.


23rd June 2012, 06:04 PM
Whew! Deep breath! Kids will be kids, and at age 4 they have a hard time controlling their emotions. Yes, it was shocking your son hurt your pup on purpose but maybe your reaction was a little extreme. Everyone has their bad mommy moments.

I would agree with Karlin, put your pup in a crate while traveling in the car. It will be safer for everyone.

Just FYI, I have small kids too and I have had the same incident happen with my pup and child. You know what, the pup forgot about it quickly and the child moved on. I would never let my child abuse an animal but I would base my punishment on the age of the child. Hug your kid and tell him you were sorry for yelling but remind him in your home people are nice to animals. You also should have an action plan in place if this occurs again.

23rd June 2012, 07:03 PM
Thank you all for your input. After I posted this I spent the rest of the evening rereading the kids and dogs links here and googling (is that a word?!?) sibling rivalry.......

Alright, I'm willing to admit I handled this issue wrongly. I knew that! Plus yeah Karlin I did give a second thought into my screaming at my son, scaring Fletcher only more. :sl*p:

The last thing I want is a dog who is afraid of kids or a kid afraid of dogs. I knew when I got Fletcher the fact that I have a young child in my house it would REQUIRE my extra effort. I am 110% sure I can do this, and we can all be well cared for and loved.

Fletcher and my 4 yr old have NO UNSUPERVISED interaction at all now. Yes, its extra work but Fletcher can't have the run of the house yet because of house training and the whole I eat fabric/ will pick up anything behavior Fletcher is going thur (I hope with training and time...this will become more manageable) And I dare you to unsupervised my son, he is a handful sometimes. I will continue including my son in Fletcher things as we go again supervised. I have not had too many problems with them together except it took my 4 yr old a few days to realize I wasn't fooling around with the rule about no little boys in Fletcher space or crate. Handled, we have that down now. And we have also had a time when Fletcher accidentally hurting my son, a scratch from a little paw while we were playing fetch. I was rolling a ball inside the house and Fletcher was chasing it sometimes bring it back, my son was sitting in my lap Fletcher greeted us happily with the ball. No, I did not scream at the dog! I handed Fletcher to my husband and attended to the scratch on my son (washed and loved) These things are to be expected with a child and a dog. Mistakes prevented but nobody has a crystal ball so sometimes you just have to deal with them as we go. I guess this is kinda the same but different.....my son did this on purpose but really he was mad NOT ACCEPTABLE but not the end of the world. If I don't correct it that's a different story, but again I'm 110% committed to making this work.

Honestly, I was shocked by my own reaction!!!!! I think this will go down as one of my least proudest Mommy moments.

First things first Fletcher is going back into the travel crate in the car, Karlin has very good points about that. Fletcher is safer and I need to drive not turn my head 100 times a second.

Then because we are all home now, I'm going to make sure I give him son some just Mommy and him time. Also I will catch my son acting nicely with Fletcher and praise the heck outta him just as I would Fletcher for being a good boy.

I know all this, mistake made.........moving on. However, prevention is the BEST if and when something like this happens again (with either hurting each other) I'm not going to react like a NUT again.

Thanks again all,

Oh I forgot to mention, my son was only able to reach across my SUV because he had wiggled himself part way out of his car seat.....I didn't know he could do that. Or Fletcher would have been farther out of reach from the start. Not that it matters now but.....

24th June 2012, 12:57 AM
I wish we had a like button.... :)

24th June 2012, 05:03 AM
Me too, so here we go :) : http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j213/boxart/Facebook-Like-Button-big.jpg