She Says… A Dog is a Boy’s Best Friend

A dog may be a boy’s best friend, but OUR dog may not be Owen’s best friend for very much longer if he keeps treating him the way he has for the last few days.

Talk about playing rough. He’s practically mauling the poor dog.

We’ve been working really hard on gentle hands with Owen ever since his teacher told me he “loves his friends a little too hard” at school. (Read: he tends to hug other kids to the ground). Owen is one of the toughest little cookies I’ve ever seen. He is like a rubber ball and bounces right back when he falls down or hurts himself. This comes in very handy since he is also incredibly rambunctious and fearless and is constantly cracking his head on coffee tables (he currently has a black eye from doing this over the weekend) and walking into walls and tumbling off of things he’s climbed on. It’s less helpful when he’s being handsy with his friends on the playground and doesn’t realize he’s hurting them.

It’s not that he’s a mean kid or a bully. No, I’ve only very rarely seen Owen push or be forceful in a mean or aggressive way. He just loves so darn much that it knocks people over. Mr. Social wants to be all up in his friends’ business. All the time. He likes to sit on laps and hug and lean and cuddle and climb all over people. Over the last few days this rough play has come to a climax at home with Schnitzel.

I thought by now we had mastered the art of gently patting the dog (Owen will touch him so gently and say, “Niiiiiiice”). But lately those sweet, gentle pats have turned into smacks and then Owen will grab a handful of fur and climb right up on the dog like a mountain. I’ve even seen him try to stand on his back.

He giggles so uncontrollably and contagiously that it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to scold him.

And, usually the dog doesn’t even put up a fight (though he’s starting to get up and walk away, which is great, except then Owen rides him halfway across the room and then falls off, which is pretty dangerous since Schnitzel is the size of a small horse).

Oh, and the other thing? The other thing they’ve been doing together is making out. Owen will open his mouth and stick out his tongue and THE DOG LICKS IT. I remember my parents saying we did the same thing with our dog, and we turned out ok, but eww. Yuck. Trying my best to nip that one in the bud right away (but how many times a day can you say, “No tongue, Owen! Do not let the doggie lick your tongue! Hands ONLY.”).

Soon Owen will be mounting and licking his friends at daycare now too. Oy.

Any suggestions for how to curb this behavior? Or at least encourage being gentle? Of course I want him to have fun with the dog and I know he’s just exploring what his body can do, but someone is going to get hurt (him… or the dog… or the unsuspecting daycare friend who Owen decides to ride and lick…). Yesterday I started a sort of “time out” where he is separated from the dog when he starts playing rough, but so far he thinks that is the beginning to a hilarious game of hide-and-seek/tag as soon as the (very short and unsuccessful) time out ends. Not so effective.

*SIDE NOTE: Please excuse Owen’s strange outfit in these pictures. He came home from school and peed through his pants, so we opted for pajama pants instead of another pair of jeans. Someday he’ll kill me for posting these… and the naked bath pics…

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14 responses to “She Says… A Dog is a Boy’s Best Friend

  1. Kate, Your blog is in my google reader. And, I have to admit, as someone without kids I pretty much keep it in there just to see cute pictures of Owen. Today I am CRYING laughing at this post. I have zero advice to offer but just had to let you know that I was in a fit of giggles & tears from your fears about owen tackling classmates & the video of kissing schnitzel. Ahhh, thanks for bringing the funny to my Thursday.

  2. I have to shout “Stop making out with the damn dog!” at least daily. Ah, parenthood.

    When Faith is too rough with our dog, I just ask her “Do you love Peanut? Yes? Then be nice to her and give her a kiss” and then she just kisses the dog and then goes off to find something else to harass.

    Our dog won’t let Faith sit on her. She just stands up and knocks her off (and she doesn’t have fun fur to grab onto).

  3. You obviously have the most perfect dog for kids ever!!! Our’s was an energetic and crazy cocker spaniel….she lasted about ten months before we had to give her to family.

  4. Your dog is adorable and SO patient! My goodness. D. would love to have a dog (he’s obsessed) but he’s stuck with a big, fat cat instead. We’re constantly talking to D about “gentle pets” and no tail-pulling. The cat’s not a huge fan of the boy, but overall is quite patient with him. The best is when D. disciplines the cat for doing things that little boys aren’t allowed to do (like climb on tables). “Down!!!” Now I have to discipline both my “boys” consistently! :)

  5. Have you gotten to the point yet where Owen wants the dog to “share” his sippy cup? If you haven’t then you haven’t really lived yet. :)

  6. My only comment (since we don’t have a dog!) is about the outfit — as soon as I saw the pics, I knew exactly what had happened. Mother of a currently-being-potty-trained boy right here — that is the outfit of choice around here these days. :)

  7. My daughter does ALL of these things. Pulls dog hair, makes out with dogs, and tries to snatch the dogs’ whiskers. Unfortunately she’s only 7 months old and doesn’t understand NO!

  8. This almost makes me want to get a dog. Except I think it would be as much work as another kid. But Owen and his buddy…so priceless!

  9. Oh my….I love your blog because it can make me giggle even when I’m in the worst mood. Owen is just tooooooo cute for words :)

  10. so cute! And it reminds me so much of our son Henry – he’s all over the dog on a regular basis. Unfortunately, he also takes out his frustrations on Oscar (our dog) too. I’m constantly having to tell him to “be gentle” and “we don’t hit” and then “tell Oscar you’re sorry” which results in a minute long hug with poor little Oscar. :)

  11. This made me laugh!! I love kids with dogs too cute! My son LOVES our 3.5 lb Pom but I am not so sure she agrees that they are best friends! hahaha

  12. Random off topic question- can you please share where the yellow curtains are from??? I’ve been on the hunt for some with no luck so far!!

  13. @Michelle, They are from Ikea! Cheap and easy to hem (with the iron-on hem tape included in the package). I love the way they look with our gray walls, and the sunlight looks awesome coming through. :)

  14. I just came across this post and I had to let you know that it made me smile!! Your dog is so loving and patient. How wonderful!! they are going to be Bffs foreverA

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