19 month old won't stop hitting our dog
Hi all: Help! I have a very intelligent and physically advanced 19 month old who will go find our family dog and hit him when I or my husband give him a "no" answer to something he wants. We have tried a number of different responses since the time when he first started doing this to our dog (about 2 months ago). We started out telling him "that hurts the doggie, we have to take care of him -- PLEASE be gentle to him!" We can always tell when he is about to go off and hit our dog and so we started prefaced what was about to happen by telling him "I'm sorry that I can't give you the telephone (scissors, etc.) to play with but that is not a toy . . . . I see you are about to hit the doggie and if you do, I will give you a timeout." He would always then hit the dog and we would place him in his playpen for 1-2 minutes as a consequence, while also telling him about how he's hurting the dog, that we have to take care of him and that we have to be gentle to him. That went on for about a month with no change in behavior. Then we decided to try spanking always giving the above warning, saying that if you hit the doggie, I will pull down your pants and spank your fannie. He would always hit our dog (generally about 3 "hard" hits before we could remove him from the dog) and we would then look at him, take him aside and gently tell him that it makes us sad to spank him and then pull down his pants, take him over our knee and give him 3 or 4 quick spanks directly on the fanny. My husband and I are genuinely, thoroughly heartbroken to have gone that route and anytime we've had to do it my husband and I turn to eachother in tears at the end of the day when talking with eachother about it. This approach, after a few weeks, still has not changed anything. Today I did everything above, but stopped the spanking and instead said something like "I see you are thinking of going and hitting our doggie -- instead, you should tickle him and give him hugs and kisses (he loves to hug and kiss the dog under normal circumstances)! This did not seem to deter him from going ahead and hitting our dog! What does everyone suggest?