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8 month old Pug/Beagle mix nipping at 5-yr old son.

Kashi
January 29th, 2008, 12:23 PM
My 5-yr old son is mildly autistic - he has Asperger's Syndrome (http://www.aspennj.org/aspergers-syndrome.asp).

Unfortunately, part of this condition is a hindered ability to understand the concept of danger. Also, he doesn't grasp the meanings behind social interactions / body language and such the way a neurotypical child does.

As a result - he doesn't think twice about what could happen if he grabs at Pugsley's toys or face or skin or tail or food etc.

Pugsley has nipped my son a few times over the last few days - always with a warning growl and ears back first. These warnings mean nothing to my son.

Thankfully, Pugsley has not broken skin or even left bruises. But he is definitely getting upset with my son. Rightfully so.

Don't think we haven't repeatedly told our son to not tease the dog, to not grab the dog, to not take his toys or food, etc. Warned him that Pugsley will bite if he gets angry or scared.

I don't feel that Pugsley is aggressive per se - any dog will nip or bite when provoked enough.

We have only had Pugsley just over a week, he came to us crate trained, housebroken, and knowing how to 'sit' - and nothing more.

Any input, suggestions, advice, or just commiseration would be appreciated right now, as I am getting quite frustrated, not to mention afraid that my son is going to get himself really hurt.

happycats
January 29th, 2008, 01:39 PM
A very difficult situation to be in:sad:

Pugsley is only trying to defend himself, and your son has no idea that he is in danger.

Please don't be upset when I suggest this, but I don't think your family is ready for a dog yet. Your son has no concept of the danger involved in provoking (unintentionally) a dog. Pugsley is a dog, and can't and shouldn't be expected to endure the manhandling.

Hopefully you can return this dog, If not I'm sure you can find a rescue to take Pugsley and find him a more suitable home.

Kashi
January 29th, 2008, 02:20 PM
If we avoided every situation where our son had no clue about the dangers involved, we would never leave our home, and our son would spend his life in a padded, soundproof room.

We are not looking to rehome Pugsley.

We are working with both the dog AND our son (he doesn't understand the inherent danger, but he does eventually catch on to concrete rules) to help the issues at the moment - using consequences and social stories with our son especially.

I am looking for some concrete advice on how to help the situation, not to be told to get rid of our pet.

Writing4Fun
January 29th, 2008, 02:34 PM
You're in a difficult situation, that's for certain.

It's one thing to deal with your son grabbing at Pugsley's ears, eyes, tail, etc... The dog can be excused for reacting in those situations, to a certain extent, and the remedy (if there is one) will be different from the other issue you're facing.

Pugsley should have no problem with your son grabbing toys, food, etc... A well-behaved dog should give these items up to their "superior pack members" without contest. Perhaps you should perform a search on the site for dealing with possessiveness or food aggression. I've never had to deal with these things personally, so I can't offer any first-hand advice, but I know that they've been discussed extensively on the site, so the information is there for the taking.

Best of luck to all of you! :dog:

want4rain
January 29th, 2008, 03:22 PM
im trying to think of what we did with Mister.... i guess just BE there to correct him?? show Mister whats acceptable behavior and whats not?? i have a 22mo old son who has grown up along side Mister, he doesnt understand he cant chew his balls too. wont hesitate to lick up cheerios from the floor along side Mister. i dont think M ever got a change to get upset over having to share his things. any time he did, i let him know that being upset over Jeffrey pushing him around was unacceptable.

is there any way you can work on your son playing with your dog? hand feeding him to show who is the boss?? if i recall correctly your son also have severe allergies?? have you found an acceptable dog food yet?? if so, try having your son hand feed him and give commands to teach Pugsley who is the boss. make sure Pugsley lets your son through walk ways first, some serious NILIF from the both of you, with you enforcing most of it until your son catches on to it. it may help more for YOU to teach him correct behaviors pertaining to your son with YOU first and then just shift those same actions over to your son in situations he is in.

such as when Pugsley is on the floor eating or playing, make motions that are similar to your son. get him use to YOU making those motions since he sees you as the boss. use a reprimanding sound like that 'aaat!' sound parents make at their children when they do something wrong??

sorry this is so disjointed... its taken me a few hours with many interruptions to get it all out!! i dont think there is any reason why a boy with aspergers cant have a pup, just treat the situation as if he were a baby. what would you do if Pugsley did those same things to an infant?? you cant teach an infant not to tug ears, you just have to find things more interesting than floppy dog ears and work with your pooch on the times that NOTHING is more interesting than floppy puppy ears. :D you have to show tyour dog wahts acceptable and whats not.

-ashley

fosterpat
January 29th, 2008, 04:05 PM
To be able to honestly answer your questions, there are several questions that I will ask you. First, how old is this dog? Second, where did he come from and was he used to children?
I have been fostering dogs for several years now and I have 3 children. Adult dog who are possesive of their toys or food and sometimes not tolerant towards children, should not be in homes with young children or those who would not understand the basic signs of a dog warning them to let him alone.
Even though a pug is a small dog and usually very friendly...sometimes they do not do well with children and can do a lot of damage if they bite them.

LavenderRott
January 29th, 2008, 04:23 PM
From reading the original post - I really don't think that this is an issue of a poorly behaved dog. This poor thing is in a brand new situation with a child who doesn't understand that what he is doing is wrong. Yep, you are going to have to work on this and getting rid of the dog is not necessary.

Watch the dog VERY closely as he interacts with your son. When you see that he is starting to get stressed out, either redirect your son to another activity or take the dog out of the room to relax. Maybe put him in his crate so that he is safe.

I am sure you can work through this but it is going to take time and patience - two things which it sounds like you know plenty about. :D

happycats
January 29th, 2008, 04:43 PM
I'm sorry you were offended by my reply, but I don't thinks its fair to Pugsley or any animal to have to endure this abuse ( even if it's unintentional)
And what will you do if Pugsley does "break" the skin?
What will you do if Pugsley bites you sons face?

want4rain
January 29th, 2008, 05:02 PM
sorry Happycats but Pugsley is only 8 months old! Mister is still working out all of his kinks with my kids too. sometimes all 95lbs of him turns around quickly and sends poor Jeffrey flying. Pugsley needs a chance to work through who the boss of the house is. maybe the OP has never worked on NILIF or been the boss or taught her child thus the dog he is the boss. if Pugsley, after training, can not cope with have a child in the house (aspergers or not) THEN work on finding him a new home. either way he is still a very young puppy and still unsure of his place in a house. to find a place for him is what he needs... right at the bottom of the totem pole. :)

-ashley

Tommysmom
January 29th, 2008, 05:06 PM
My nephew has Asperger's, so I can sympathize with you but unfortunately have no good advice. They have a cat, and had to closely monitor his interactions with the cat for a long time - but cats are more tempted to run and find their own space than dogs usually are.

If it's any consolation, my nephew is now in his early teens and while he doesn't interact much with animals he does understand how to - so diligence does pay off. I know several kids with Asperger's who are terrified of animals because they can't understand them and have been sheltered from them, and hopefully hard work and supervision now will enable your son to grow up accustomed to them.

Concrete rules are definitely the key - my nephew may not understand the subtleties of things sometimes, but he follows the rules even if he doesn't grasp the reason behind them. Structure like that works well for both people with Asperger's and doggies, too!

happycats
January 29th, 2008, 05:15 PM
I also have a nephew with aspergers, and that is the reason I posted as I did.
they have a cat and a dog (Beagle) that my nephew still does not know how to treat. and yes both my brother and SIL have worked diligently with him to stop him from being so rough with the pet's it has not worked.
They have had pets since he was 3, and is 7 now.
The cat knows and always stays out of reach, the dog takes the brunt of the abuse, the dog is amazing, and has never hurt my nephew.
I just feel very sorry for the dog, and feel he deserves better:sad:

cockermother
January 29th, 2008, 05:30 PM
I'm afraid that I kind of agree with Happycats. It's unfair to put your dog in a situation where he is routinely provoked. When I am out with my dog, sometimes families with young children will ask if they can say hello, to get their children happily interacting with pets and not be afraid of them. I always let them pet and cuddle my dog, but I watch like a hawk. Young children have reduced motor skills and often "pet" by basically thumping the dog on the head, and they can accidentally poke him in the eyes or ears or insert fingers in his mouth. If this happens, and my dog snaps and hurts the child (because he was basically attacked, however well meaning) then who is in trouble? Yup, that's right, my dog. Who may be at risk of being put down if he injures someone. Now, my dog is old and not the slightest bit aggressive so I'm not too worried, but I still watch very, very closely and immediately stop any attention that might upset him.

Now, it's quite likely that the dog will mellow as he gets more used to your son. I've also heard that if you touch them a lot at a very young age they become more used to human contact, so you could try getting all of your family, and especially your son, to do supervised touching- take his hand and guide it to touch the dog so he gets used to the son touching him in a pleasant way. If the dog gets upset, let him go before he gets frustrated. I'd also buy a book on children and animals- I don't know, maybe you need to keep them separated for a while.

want4rain
January 29th, 2008, 07:05 PM
to also flip my own coin, Mister is still 3X the size of my son and he is a lab, which are KNOWN for being very very patient with children. perhaps a larger dog would have been a etter idea?? either way you have given Pugsley your home and all you can do now is offer him the best you have which is an education as to how things must be in a home with a child with aspergers. if you reach a brick wall where as there is no getting better, think then about your other options. right?? perhaps you should ahve a behaviorist come??

-ashley

Kashi
January 29th, 2008, 08:24 PM
Okay, let me be quite clear - we are NOT looking to re-home Pugsley.

We have had him all of 1 weeks. He is 8 months old.
He has not had any obedience training (yes, we will be doing that).
He is still intact (that will be changing soon too).

I appreciate the helpful comments - whomever suggested the "aaaat" sound thing, thank you especially. I tried that tonight, and it certainly does get Pugsley's attention.

Watching him closer tonight, and there is definitely a correlation between his food or toys and his nippiness. I'll try having Boo hand-feed Pugsley some.

Someone asked what I would do if Pugsley did break skin with his nips - well, I would likely tell him to "go to bed" (his crate) and secure the crate while I tended to Boo. If that meant a good washing up and some antibiotic ointment, or a trip to the hospital for stitches, would depend on the severity of the bite.

We are not stupid or ignorant people - we know that with owning any animal, there is the chance of a serious bite happening. I've actually had to take our youngest to the hospital for a rodent bite that just would not stop bleeding once ! Talk about funny looks when I explain that it was a hamster bite.

I have started using a "Social Story" with Boo as well. It's a short, repetitive narrative about how to treat Pugsley.

We treat Pugsley nice.
We use gentle hands.
We do NOT tease Pugsley.
Teasing Pugsley makes him angry.
When Pugsley is angry, he will bite.
When he bites, it will hurt.
We don't want to get hurt.
So we treat Pugsley nice.

want4rain
January 29th, 2008, 09:01 PM
also, im talking to a buddy of mine who has aspergers. she is in her later 20's and maybe would have some helpful advice?? :)

-ashley

cockermother
January 29th, 2008, 10:12 PM
Oh boy, I just read something that really put this in perspective. I googled aspergers and pets and came across a forum similar to this, but for moms of aspergers syndrome children.

One woman wrote that they got a cocker puppy, but the child kept taking away its toys, which it didn't like, and it was defending its food (a clear case of food aggression, which is trainable, especially at an early age).

The solution? The poor dog got shipped off to the nearest rescue. At six months old. The mom wrote "it wasn't worth the risk". The worst part? She wants to get another, nicer dog.

This makes me SOOO mad. As if dogs are just disposable commodities, like a damaged piece of furniture. One more dog in a rescue because of a thoughtless owner who didn't even try to train the puppy when it wasn't immediately the perfect dog.

Kashi, I'm so glad that you came here for advice instead of being that mom. At least you recognise that you made a commitment to Pugsley, and recognise that he is a puppy in need of instruction and training in a difficult situation. Oh, and don't take any pet advice from forums that aren't about dogs specifically!

luckypenny
January 29th, 2008, 10:35 PM
Watching him closer tonight, and there is definitely a correlation between his food or toys and his nippiness. I'll try having Boo hand-feed Pugsley some.

I'm hoping you will find this link helpful in dealing with this. Every member of our family (as well as any visitors willing to participate) does it with all our rescued dogs on a regular basis.

http://www.sfspca.org/behavior/dog_library/FoodGuarding.pdf

Okay, let me be quite clear - we are NOT looking to re-home Pugsley.

We have had him all of 1 weeks. He is 8 months old.
He has not had any obedience training (yes, we will be doing that).
He is still intact (that will be changing soon too).

What this dog-loving advocate loves to hear :thumbs up . Constant supervision, training, and de-sensitizing will get both your new pup and your son on the right track. I wish you all the very best of luck.

t.pettet
January 29th, 2008, 11:19 PM
I agree with happycats. So the boy grabs at your dog's face, eyes, tail, skin, toys, food and then if the dog retaliates he is put into his crate. This puppy is going to become more assertive as he grows up (whether neutered or not) - I think this abuse from your son is going to alter this dog's disposition showing fear aggression and frustration at being banished to a crate for trying to protect himself. This puppy is small and surely must be very wary when the boy comes near him. If in such a short period of time (1 1/2) weeks he has already nipped then I can see some serious injury to both if they are not kept apart. Re-homing whether you are planning to or not would be in the best interest of this puppy. I would consider this a cruelty issue for the SPCA to look into. Just because we really want a certain outcome doesn't mean it can always be achieved.

Kashi
January 30th, 2008, 06:34 AM
I agree with happycats. So the boy grabs at your dog's face, eyes, tail, skin, toys, food and then if the dog retaliates he is put into his crate. This puppy is going to become more assertive as he grows up (whether neutered or not) - I think this abuse from your son is going to alter this dog's disposition showing fear aggression and frustration at being banished to a crate for trying to protect himself. This puppy is small and surely must be very wary when the boy comes near him. If in such a short period of time (1 1/2) weeks he has already nipped then I can see some serious injury to both if they are not kept apart. Re-homing whether you are planning to or not would be in the best interest of this puppy. I would consider this a cruelty issue for the SPCA to look into. Just because we really want a certain outcome doesn't mean it can always be achieved.

First - you are not reading things as they are written. What was said was that *IF* there was a bite sufficient to break skin, then Pugsley would be put in his crate while whatever first-aid needed was taken care of - be that a cleaning or a trip to the ER. As there has not been a real "bite" at this point, Pugsley has not been 'banished' for protecting himself (and yes, Boo has been spoken to and told that the nips are a direct result of his actions).

As for his crate - it's in the living room, in view of everyone - hardly a banishing. It's a comfy spot for him, with blankets and chew toys, and safe from the kids.

And, if putting my child ahead of my dog makes me a bad person - then this is the wrong place for me to be spending time.

Second - a few of you are reading WAY too deeply into this, as if my son is constantly 'abusing' the dog. I realize I did not explain in enough detail, but I don't think I made it sound as if this is a constant happening. Yes, more than one single time, but hardly a case for SPCA.

Do any of you truly believe that anyone who was allowing an animal to be abused would be researching and looking for help from a pet community ?


Third - I had the kids hand-feed Pugsley this morning, that went over well, with no protection/aggression/nips. And the kids really enjoyed it. Except for the baby (who's only just 13 months old), they were getting Pugsley to "come", "sit" or "down" before giving him a piece of kibble. Pugsley got fed, the kids had fun, and I wished I'd had a video camera for it all.

Oh - and what did Pugsley do not long after his meal was over ? He banished himself to his crate for a nap !

Kashi
January 30th, 2008, 06:37 AM
I'm hoping you will find this link helpful in dealing with this. Every member of our family (as well as any visitors willing to participate) does it with all our rescued dogs on a regular basis.

http://www.sfspca.org/behavior/dog_library/FoodGuarding.pdf

Thank you - I saved that file, and I think I'll print it out for my husband to read too.

Love4himies
January 30th, 2008, 11:49 AM
Is there anyway you can work jointly with an Asperger counsellor and a dog trainer who specializes in working dogs, such as dogs that do institution visits, guide dogs, etc. I think by working together, they could come up with a training technique that would be best suited for your situation.

t.pettet
January 30th, 2008, 02:17 PM
I personally don't think children under the age of 10 should have small breed dogs and especially not children who are impaired.

want4rain
January 30th, 2008, 02:29 PM
i wouldnt call aspergers impaired. no more so than my absent minded flighty dreamer child is considered impaired.

-ash

Tommysmom
January 30th, 2008, 04:34 PM
They're definitely not 'impaired', just a wee bit different... my nephew was fixing his grandma's computer at the age of 10, I don't quite call that impaired:laughing:. They do have some issues, but they're not mentally challenged per se.

I don't really agree with the no small pets idea either... my TERRIER - that's right, TERRIER, the kind of dog that has the worst rap with kids! - is more patient with my nieces and nephews than he is with me or my husband. He has issues with being picked up and will snarl at me if he wants down, but my 5 year old niece has carried him all over her house and he just gives her kisses when she lets him go. Now, I know that not all jrt's are like that, but he certainly is. Different dogs have different temperaments and you do need to be careful to evaluate your own dog. My husband grew up with jrt's from the age of 5, and had nothing but good experiences.

happycats
January 30th, 2008, 04:52 PM
Small breed dogs and young children are not usually a good mix, someone is bound to get hurt.
I hope things get better, and Pugsley doesn't have to endure to much poking and prodding.

rainbow
January 30th, 2008, 06:24 PM
Glad to hear that the hand feeding session went well this morning. I think with a little time and training on both sides everything will work out well. :goodvibes:

Kashi
January 30th, 2008, 07:24 PM
IMPAIRED ???? :wall:

luckypenny
January 30th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Kashi, it sounds like you are already on the right track. Commitment is the most important step. I am confident everything will work out well :thumbs up.

normaldogperson
February 8th, 2008, 09:34 AM
Hello,
I just wanted to say to Kashi that I think that you are doing an excellent job of handling a tough situation. You are doing everything you can on both the puppies side and child's side to teach them how to treat each other. All you can do is all you can do and you are doing it! Don't get discouraged and don't listen to others who have replied for you to give up your dog or called your child impaired! Each will grow and learn from experiences as long as you continue to manage the situation with training and love! Some have given several solid suggestions and advice, so I just want to give you some encouragement and kudos for being such a great parent. May God bless your home, child and/or children, and your puppy too!

Kashi
February 8th, 2008, 03:27 PM
Wow - it's been over a week since I posted this thread already ! Time is FLYING around here.

We did completely hand-feed for a few days, then moved on to just a few pieces of kibble hand fed out of Pugsley's bowl.

We still see some toy and food possessiveness, but we're working on that with Pugsley.

Only one more 'nip' since I posted this, so I think we're making progress.

Ford Girl
February 8th, 2008, 03:53 PM
Thats a good update, it's going to take time, but you are working at it!! :thumbs up Food and toy agression can happen with any dog, even without provecation...Dazy's a resource guarder...we have leanrt to read her body launguage, it has helped alot!!

Hey, do the service dog type places have any tips on how to incorporate the training of both your son and dog? Build the relationship with each other?

Kashi
February 8th, 2008, 06:24 PM
I haven't looked into service training. Our budget is beyond limited for one, and I know that the current waiting time for a trained "autism" dog is 3 to 5 YEARS from the time an application is approved.

We will be looking into obedience training though.

As for our son's resource people - it was through one of them that we came up with the social stories, and she helped me refine it as well.

want4rain
February 8th, 2008, 06:38 PM
i had a little little chat with an Aspergers buddy of mine and she said exactly-

[QUOTE]The kid's probably being too submissive. Aspies are often gentle types. She should let the child feed the dog, holding it gently by the scruff until it quiets. The dog should not touch the food until the child gives the command. It's all body language. Don't even have the child put the food down until the dog quiets and sits. If the dog even thinks about getting snappy in any context Boo should pin it ever so gently to the ground by the scruff of its cute little neck. Dominance once established it'll be unlikely to challenge the child, and loving obedience training can continue as normal.

If anything his Aspie nature should make him more in tune with animals rather than less, and he will need a chance to establish his own understanding with the beast and assert his dominance gently.

Supervised, of course, but being careful not to interfere; it's between the child and the dog.[/QUOTE

if you would like to get into contact with her, PM your email addy to me and i will give her a shout. she is the mother to a 3yo little princess and is very earthy and.... well Scottish. :) i think you would love her to pieces. as an individual with Aspergers, im sure she would also, at the very least, have some good insight as to BEING Aspergers. id also like to say thought that she does not have a dog and is quite open to modifying her advice to different, more current methods of dog training.

i think you are doing an amazing thing for both your children and your pooch. im sure everyones lives will be more enriched for this experience.

-ashley

LavenderRott
February 8th, 2008, 07:19 PM
I have a REAL problem telling a 5 year old child to pin an aggitated 8 month old pup to the floor. The object is to a) teach the child to be nice to the dog and b) teach the dog not to bite the child.

I realized that I don't have Asperger's but I stand in my kitchen holding the food dishes in my hand and tell my dogs to sit. And there I stand until my dogs sit patiently. If they get jumpy or nervy - I turn away from them until they calm back down.

want4rain
February 8th, 2008, 07:46 PM
right, which is why i said she would probably be willing to be educated on a dog. :)

-ashley

Kashi
February 8th, 2008, 07:47 PM
While I appreciate the input, scruff shakes and pinning are NOT going to be something I am going to allow any of my children to do.

want4rain
February 8th, 2008, 07:59 PM
While I appreciate the input, scruff shakes and pinning are NOT going to be something I am going to allow any of my children to do.

exactly. perhaps you two could learn somethign from each other?

-ash

Writing4Fun
February 8th, 2008, 08:39 PM
Kashi, I just wanted to give you another :thumbs up for all you're doing here. Glad to hear your efforts are starting to pay off. Keep working with both of them. Pugsley will get it. He just needs a little training, like any other puppy! ;) My sister's dog used to steal the kids' boots right off their feet when they were outside playing in the snow! :eek: If he could learn the difference between right and wrong, so can Pugsley. :D

I think the suggestion of getting Boo to fill Puglsey's bowl and give the release to eat is a good idea. No scruff shaking, though. ;) Instead, maybe you can put his leash on and hold him in a sit-stay until Boo gives the release? Same should go with toys, too. Put them all out of reach, and let Boo be the one to give them to him when it's play time, again having Pugsley in a sit-stay until Boo says it's OK.

Kashi
February 15th, 2008, 07:47 PM
Wow - another week has already gone by !

The only 'nip' we've had in the past week was to ME ! Silly Pugs nipped my big toe last night, then backed off with a look of pure horror on his face (his toy was on the floor beside me). I took that as my cue to go have a bath :laughing:

Tommysmom
February 15th, 2008, 08:08 PM
:laughing::laughing: Isn't that always the way? You're so concerned about your son, you've done such a great job working with him and your pup, and yep - it's YOUR toe that gets munched! Poor toe! I do love that look they have when that happens though, eh... my Tommy looks horrified too... although it doesn't make him any more careful two seconds later when he gets me by accident again:rolleyes::laughing:.

Congratulations though, it certainly sounds as though you're making good progress getting Pugsley settled in with the family. I can't really say for sure, because I haven't really seen enough pictures of him... lots of Pugsley pictures would really help us to see how well he's doing...:whistle::D.

ryan
February 24th, 2008, 05:13 PM
hi, are you doing any packleader work with your dog. if not i would look it up on the web, lot of things you can do to raise your son in the pack:thumbs up

aslan
February 25th, 2008, 05:55 AM
I am sooo pleased to read that things are going better in your home. I am thoroughly disgusted with the comments calling your child impaired and the complete disreguard for reality from a couple of people. There isn't one household with a dog and child where a tail or ear hasn't been tugged or an eye poked. Minor disability or not. And to just say oh well get rid of the dog is beyond stupid. As in any home the pup needs to be taught who is dominant and the child needed to be taught what wasn't ok to do. As for calling the spca that is absolutely ridiculous. I will stop now before i really rant. Glad to hear things are going better.