My 4 year old granddaughter, loves animals of every description and has always been very empathetic towards them. She is especially fond of dogs, so following some advice about what breed to get, I bought her a Bichon Frise, whom she has named George. However, her reaction to him has been the opposite of what we expected. She’s heavy handed with him, won’t let him sleep and has even hurt him on a couple of occasions. We have explained to her that he is only a baby and that she needs to be gentle with him and let him have his rest, but this just isn’t sinking in.
She cannot tell us how she is feeling and has had to deal with a house move recently. Could George have become her outlet for showing us how she is feeling? Can anyone suggest some strategies to cope with this situation? On the whole she loves him and plays with him nicely, but her mood/behaviour can turn on a dime, with no warning whatsoever.
Any help would e gratefully received.
Lots of people get dogs for emotional reasons but while the dog is not able to defend itself, you need to keep it safe from her - it's not a toy. When the dog is older, they will find their own balance - if she oversteps the mark, the dog will either avoid her or bite her in self defence. She will soon figure it out then.
I agree with plastic, at 4 most children are a bit heavy handed and enthusiastic to play with puppies! Finding a balance is key,
Have you got an area the puppy can retreat to when your granddaughter gets to much like a separate room? This can work on several levels 1) puppy gets a break! And learns where to go when it's to much 2) granddaughter will start to associate her behaviour with the puppy not wanting to play.
Keep talking to her and Show her how to behave with the dog they will both learn a balance.
Baby gates are great - the dog can slip between the bars to safety and the child is stopped by the gate - the dog can take refuge in another room. - in the kitchen door is ideal - dog has access to food & water and safety, child is kept out of the dangers of the kitchen.