Ok, so...thoughts - difficult child's, dogs, and husband's.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, May 10, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    For various and assundry reasons that do make sense, wee difficult child's in-home suggested to try a dog with difficult child.

    I've ignored this tidbit for over a year now and recently they talked me into trying it.

    So I emailed and looked and emailed and looked and found a couple of candidates. We brought one home on trial basis. She's a very nice dog, difficult child loves her and she loves him, but she's too much (difficult child admits). She's still too much puppy and I just don't have the time to train a dog that needs to learn everything. (I question this whole idea for that reason, anyway). And being a puppy that needs to be housebroke, she needs "immediate attention" at times that can't be left up to a 6 year old, difficult child or not.

    So that brings me to this morning. difficult child got up half asleep and went to the kitchen to get a drink then went back to bed. The dog, of course, got up and followed, which means she needs to go outside NOW. husband got up to do this, but instead of putting the dog out, sat on the edge of the bed and yelled to difficult child to take his dog outside. We all know what yelling at a difficult child does, so of course, the instant reaction was "NO!" In the however many minutes that husband argued with difficult child, the dog, of course, gave up and peed on the floor. husband, standing there watching, then yells at difficult child to come clean up the mess isntead of telling the dog no and getting her outside.

    Obviously, the puppy is not going to work. If we go with the dog idea, its going to have to be an older dog already trained. I already know this. I am already a bit skeptical about this whole idea, anyway, because I already feel like I have too much on my plate, but I'm willing to try this in good faith. But after this morning, husband is mad because difficult child "can't take care of a dog".

    I guess my theory is we'd already decided this wasn't the right dog because of her training needs, and while I agree difficult child didn't step up here, it was also presented in a "set up to fail" sort of way. And in the meantime, the dog lost out because no one would open the darn door...

    Input, please?

    I'll toss out another concern that sorta fits in here... husband routinely asks the kids to get things for him just so he doesn't have to get up and do. This bugs me, and difficult child, in particular, has tuned into this and frequently refuses. Last night, husband asked difficult child to go to the car and get his flashlight. difficult child said no, and husband engaged him. I beleive that's why difficult child was so quick with the wit with husband this morning, too. Do others do this? I think its not good to routinely ask your kids to fetch stuff for you just cause you don't want to get up and do it yourself. Its one thing if you're, say, going into the kitchen, anyway, and he asks you to grab something on your way, but that's not at all what's taking place.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good morning, Shari! Things sound interesting at your house right now!

    My thoughts- go to the local SPCA or other reputable shelter for "rescued" dogs. Tell them the situation and they can probably help find a dog that will fit comfortably in your family. They get them already house broken many times and will spay/neuter if not already done. There will be an adoption fee but it shouldn't be outrageously high and many costs- like shots, heartworm tests, etc., won't be necessary because it has already been done. The other advantage- you are helping save a dog that needs it and many times, these dogs end up more loyal and loving than one raised by you from "puppy" time. Oh, they should give you and the dog ample time together to make sure it is a good fit prior to finalizing any "adoption". Sometimes, it helps kids a lot to know they are helping to "rescue" and provide a good home to a dog/cat that needed to be loved and had no other home.

    The "fetching" situation- I found myself doing that with difficult child a lot- I think it was because no one else was here to ever help out. I know that isn't your situation, but the solution might help if you can find a way to get husband to think about it. I look at it like this- if I want difficult child to always clean up his own mess, I have to always clean up mine. on the other hand, if I want difficult child to help me clean up milk I just spilled or go get me something I need because I'm in the middle of something and need THAT right then, I should offer a hand to him when he's in the same situation. This approach has helped a lot in our home and has gotten him in better habits of helping out.
  3. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    even a dog who IS trained will still go on the floor if he cannot get outside -----
    I refused to allow any pets no matter who said they would take care of it unless I felt like I wanted to have the chore eventually fall to my shoulders-difficult child or not, did not matter, I KNOW my family---well, kind of, LOL. The kid I THOUGHT would be responsible for her pet turned out to be the most non pet responsible- and the kid I thought would be least turned out to be the most indulgent spoiling the animal to the extreme kind of kitty mommy I have ever ever seen-----reminds me of the charlie brown character that walked around carrying that cat 24-7?
    As for husband haveing a child be a go for-----fetching things? I intervene sometimes- if my husband is sending kids and being nasty when he could do it himself----key word is when he can do it himself-----especially if he is interrupting one of the kids - and my husband does it often. This is one of our biggest fights- when my husband interrupts a child doing schoolwork to go get him.......his cigs? NO! First off I do not want my kids touching them ever......2nd, the kid is doing homework? Nope. We did not have kids just so we would have someone to do our fetching. BUT sometimes I do permit husband to have kids fetch things for him, if he is unable to walk at the time--and he needs say- a drink of water?
    As for calling difficult child to let the dog out when dog is right there by husband? My opinion is since it seemed dog needed out RIGHT NOW, husband should have let dog out.....dog cannot learn and difficult child cannot learn after the accident has already occured. If dog is still a puppy, dogs bladder cannot wait around while husband and difficult child decide who is gonna let dog out.

    LOL when I saw subject line to your post, I was wondering if you were gonna rank dhs, difficult children and dogs? LOL. I think I am glad you didn't, becuz I was not sure at the moment just HOW I would rank mine, ROFL.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I think the idea that a difficult child -- especially one so young -- is going to be able to be responsible for caring for a dog is....ridiculous. Not even pcs can be counted on to be resonsible for caring for pets without constant prompting, nagging, and...well...fights.

    I like the idea of pets for difficult children because they benefit from the love and interaction they get from pets. But if you get a pet expecting that the child is going to do the caretaking, you've just added another trigger for blowups.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    husband and I have had this very STRONG agreement that we would NEVER EVER have a dog. Neither of us wants the responsibility. When difficult child started his problems late last summer - his yearning for a dog was amongst the issues. It got to the point where I really believed that he really did need a dog and I was almost ready to get one. However, husband still is an unmovable NO! This winter/spring, easy child decided she would buy a dog (she got a kitten last year but we would not allow it in the house so she kept it a friend's home before finally giving it away). I only agreed because I knew if it was hers, I can hold her responsible (a 17 yr old is old enough to be home to let it out whenever - she is done with school - and get its shots, ect.). husband is very upset but I really believe it has made a world of good for difficult child. So, husband has nothing to do with its care and I reluctantly take it out in the mornings (suppose to be difficult child's time but it is too early for him) and two lunch times per week when easy child is working and can't get home. I absolutley HATE it (even though the dog is very sweet and cute) but have decided it is part of what difficult child needs for his health. easy child needs to get home by curfew so she can take puppy out and difficult child has a "soulmate" to play with when no one else is available. Puppy will go with easy child when she moves out and then we may get difficult child a little bit bigger dog (I think he needs a medium size one to play with). The medium size dog will be an outside one.

    I absolutely have the added responsibility - but it is a mom thing to try to do what is best for your kids.

    No insight on husband using kids as "Go fors".
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree, 6 is way too young to expect a kid to be responsible for a dog. I would bring the dog back, and make sure the previous owners know that it is not that dog's fault, it's just not good timing for you.
    You were spot on in reg. to explaining and understanding the dynamics between your husband, difficult child and dog. The dog had to go and that whole scene could have been avoided. Sounds like you've got TWO g'sfg!
    Every now and then I have my kids get things for me, but it's usually if we're rushing or doing chores or the item I need is for a project difficult child is working on. I don't send them on little errands just so I can sit and watch TV.
    I hope that helps.
    Good luck.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Cats are much lower maintenance and give lots of affection and are very entertaining, too.

    I'm with Sara, if you get any animal with the expectation that any child, especially a difficult child, is going to be responsible for it, you're just setting yourself - and difficult child - up for failure.

    My difficult child is 13. We got our dog, Jewel, 2 years ago. I told her that Jewel was going to be her responsibility, but I also knew that it wouldn't last. I take her out 99.9% of the time. I feed her 98% of the time, easy child 1.5% of the time and difficult child only does it when told. Then she throws a fit because Jewel is super finicky and will not eat dry food - we've tried them all. She will only eat canned food which just grosses out difficult child. I'm also the one that plays with her, walks her, brushes her, etc.

    FWIW, easy child (who is 16) gets up hours before me on weekends. I would get up and he hadn't let Jewel out to potty, nor fed her. Jewel would usually wake me up to go potty. I went round and round with easy child about this - you know, how would you like it if you couldn't just go potty without someone letting you and they weren't letting you - and he finally got better about it. I mean, at 16 how hard is it to let the dog out? No way would I expect a 6 year old to do that. Not without lots of repetition and reinforcement. husband would have taught difficult child a great deal more by going with him to let the dog out and then showed him how to care for the dog than by sitting there yelling at him. I know when someone's yelling at me like that, I tend to dig in my heels, too.
  8. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    My husband was steadfast and firm from before we had pets- his answer? NO. He did NOT want any. He knew himself, he knew he was not going to pitch in with pets, even if his kids couldn't/wouldn't. I also knew my husband enough to know I would never be able to depend on him pitching in at all, no matter what, even in an emergency- he was NOT going to feed, water or let any pet out, period. Never.
    Soooooooooo.LOL...NOW when husband decides to accept the pleasure of haveing a pet, LOL- I yell at him and say HEY! WAIT a minute here buster! Those doggie tail wags, those kitty purrs? They are NOT YOURS! You EARN those- by helping when help is needed to provide for that furballs needs. Such as setting down water when I am at Ronald McDonald House with OUR son!

    Pets can often give unconditional love....they can teach responsiblity to some kids-----but not all kids learn or accept the lessons there for the learning, and not all pets are going to be easy-and all pets DO have needs, and someone is going to have to tend to the pets needs- even if it is NOT the person who origianlly wanted the pet in the first place. I am lucky, someone is home here and someone is awake here 24-7-365. Oldest difficult child and husband are insomniacs and or on a backwards schedule----me and husband do not work- son and oldest are homeschoooled. Oldest and husband have agoraphobia. Our house is tiny, dog can be let out very easily, our yard is fenced very well. Not even any stairs to use to let him out, we live in a ranch style house. All of those things helped make it very easy even for me even when I am flareing badly- to have pets. Probably our most intense pet care chore is changeing litterboxes. And that was eased becuz I use yesterdays news litter, now, and it makes no dust and is lighter than traditional litter.
    If I still worked? Doubtful we would have a dog at all. if me AND husband still worked? prolly would not have cats, either, cuz there would be so much time when noone wwas here at home. LOL and our last vacation? LOL (our ONLY vacation) several years ago? We took dog WITH us. LOL. which meant taking turns eating, while someone took a turn being outside with dog.

    Have to also keep in mind- pets can be like kids- and can have health issues, etc. And SOMEONE is gonna hafta step up and meet those needs, if they arise, too. (my dog had a defective lacrimal gland and turned out to need eyedrops, LOL- like my son- dog is now blind in that eye.....and one of our kitties had prolapsed rectum, and had to have special care for awhile, and when we had kitties declawed on front paws- one of the kitties suffered a permanant tendon injury in one of her frornt paws, thankfully she has accomodated herself very nicely, but......) Some pets get diabetes, asthma, arthritis.....all kinds of things.
    It is nice for a therapist to suggest a pet, BUT unless said therapist is going to come provide care if child doesn't......this decision is up to the parent(s) as too often thats where the care ultimately lands. It is not fair to a dependant critter to get caught in the war over who is going to take care of it. And in my house? care of anything/everythig falls to me- so it is me who makes the final decisions. And sometimes I do get a pleasant surprise. :)
    and hey, I would no more give up any of my critters than I would give up any of my kids or husband. LOL. Ummmmm...possible easier for me to consider giving up some of my human dependants? LOL, just kidding!
  9. Christy

    Christy New Member

    We got our dog when difficult child was 6 years old. He's was a lot of work as a puppy but he is also a pal to difficult child. difficult child liked feeding him and being a "dog owner" but we never expected him to be responsibie for the dog. We took on the responsibity because we thought a dog would be good for difficult child. He is but if you and husband do not have the time to put into raising a puppy then it's propbably wise to get an older dog if at all.

    Sometimes dogs can be difficult children as well. Our dog loves to antagonize difficult child, he thinkks he the world's biggest squeaky toy.
    He takes difficult children action figures to his crate and chews on them. I find myself hiding them so difficult child won't get mad at the dumb dog! But we all love him so we put up with it.

  10. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    LOL, at the moment I cannot remember how old our son was when we got dog....BUT dog was a puppy, and thought son was his littermate or something. LOL. Dog and son would curl around each other to sleep- crawl all over each other, even nip at each other, the silly boys I called them. Got son a t shirt that said "the dog did it" too bad I could not find one for the dog that said "the kid did it" LOL.
    My son DOES NOW take care of some of dogs needs---but technically dog is mine. and while each of my kids is technically "owner" of one of our cats? I already told the kids, if-when they move out? their cat will probably NOT adjust well to leaving their own littermates and living alone while said child kitty owner human works or whatever. Soooooo..the kitties are staying HERE.

    We got VERY lucky----both with our youngest child and with our dog. Neither ever put things in their mouth or chewed anything. Whew! I had forgotten about that. Yes, some dogs will chew things up (my sisters dog ate her couch!) Our kitties love to take dogs toys and chew them........yeesh. and our kitties have a nasty fetish for electric cords- YIKES- dangerous! Especially cell phone charger cords! ($$$$) WHile we are working on this problem, and it IS dangerous.....and we ARE trying to teach the kitties better....I have also tried to make it clear to the kids----this happens. it happens when you have small children and it happens when you have pets. Small kids and pets are not maliciously trying to be naughty.......small children and pets simply are not aware of the danger or the cost. It is up to US to keep them safe and keep things out of their reach. So- lessons in being responsible abound with a pet. Whooooo boy am I grateful we were so lucky our dog never was a chewer. Nor is he a barker, YAY! Unless someone knocks on the door- and then husband gets mad at the dog- but- I remind husband thats normal behavior and if dog did NOT bark when someone was at door, or if someone entered without our permission and dog did not bark- husband himself would be the first one to be mad at dog if dog did NOT bark.
    One time dog did take one of sons toys, hid it in play, LOL-----was I mad at dog? Nope- told son well, keep it out of reach of dog. I also always told all my kids if they did not want any of our pets to take their things- do not use their things to play with the pets, or the pets might get confused and think the kids things were given to them (the pets) If you want to play with the pets with toys, use the pets toys. That way the pets know which toys they are to play with.

    Pets really are a true joy....and most ask for so little in return.....and they can and do teach kids so much......our pets are just more "kids" in our home. the biggest difference is our kids are not furry. :) (and no, I do not let the furry ones eat at the table, LOL)
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would check the humane society, or a dog rescue organization. An older dog will be trained to some extent. I'm glad you are able to "try them out". Goodness knows what your husband was thinking!

    We got Mandy about 10 months ago. She was still a puppy, but looked full grown. She had some training but needed a lot more. We recently learned that she likes the frisbee. It's such a simple thing to use to train her to sit and obey. Make her sit before you throw the frisbee. Associate sitting with a reward. So what does husband do? Hold the frisbee above his head, jerking it upward every time Mandy jumps. "husband, make her sit." "Oh, yeah. Sit Mandy". Mandy sits. Five minutes later, it's the exact same thing. "Make her sit." "Oh, yeah."

    Why can't they figure out that if it works you should keep doing it?
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I totally do not expect difficult child to take full responsibility for this dog. He likes to help feed and care for the 2 we have and play with them when they'll play, and has consistently. Knowing the bulk of the dog care will fall on my shoulders, and knowing difficult child isn't capable of training a dog is why I want an older dog that's still playful and fetches. He desperately wants a dog to sleep with him and love him, and my little dog is a typical little dog who's leery of all beings smaller than 4'6", and the other dog is a working dog, so...this dog's sole expectation in life will be to be difficult child's best buddy.

    We are only looking at shelters and pounds, and I emailed or wrote letters to several explaining the situation and that we were looking for a dog with a very specific personality - not a breed, gender, or size. Several have responded with some candidates. Miss Daisy (the dog we have now) was one of them. She's doing very well with housebreaking, but she's still very much a rambunctious puppy, more training than I think I want to take on. And difficult child really would like a dog to play fetch, and Miss Daisy just doesn't have that drive. Oh, she'll do it, and she could be trained to do it, but I think once she's past puppyhood, I dont think its a game she'll enjoy anymore, and that's not a good setup for difficult child or the dog. I do pray she finds a good home, tho, cause she is SO sweet.
    As for husband, I don't know what his problem is. He makes me so mad sometimes. I know he doesn't mean it, and dealing wtih difficult child day in and day out is, well...you all know how it is, but it doesn't help when you make matters worse in a very avoidable situation. How hard is it to open the door? Heck, I was on my way out of the bed to do it when he said he had it. Not sure what he had, but it wasn't this situation under control. LOL

    Hopefully next week we're going to try another candidate. Its an austalian shepherd mix named Flicka who is a fetching machine. My concern with he is that she may love fetching so much that she doesn't love anything else. LOL But everyone who has a potential dog has offered us the option to bring them home and try them out, which is wonderful. Except in the case of Miss Daisy, we all love her and no one wants to send her back! difficult child even gets teary eyed, but he knows he wants a dog who will play fetch. Gotta give him credit there.
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm a firm believer that unless a child hurts animals, pets are a great thing, especially pets of the furry type. The animal will give unconditional love, forgive anything, listen to the hurts and joys of childhood, be there when school is out and so on. I would never expect a child, especially not a 6 YO be truly responsible for the pet. At that age, their job is play with the critter.

    I do understand how much work a puppy is, especially if under 3 months old. Personally, I'd look for a pup between 6 and 9 months old -- still young enough to silly play with your son and not be "nippy" but old enough to have already been housebroken.

    Do make sure that the breed you get is compatible with your household -- you don't want a really stubborn dog (like a boxer or bull dog). Irish setters are beautiful but are pretty high maintenance because of their coats plus are very hard to train. Labs are great kid pets but they really don't grow up until they're about 7 or 8. Little dogs are cute but pretty fragile, so probably not a good fit for a little one. Mixed breeds are always a good choice. Strangely, standard poodles are good pets for kids -- they don't shed, are very intelligent and eager to please.

    As someone said earlier, no matter what the age of the dog, when they wake up, they have to GO and asking them to hold it is not fair to anyone, especially not the dog.

    As to your husband, I'd be telling him to get off his duff and start doing for himself. It is ridiculous that he expects the kids to wait on him -- they're children, not servants. To get into yelling matches with a 6 YO about letting the dog out is downright silly -- open the door, man, and let the pup OUT. You can discuss your son's responsibilities later. Right now, the dog needs you. Sorry, but your husband needs to grow up and if he won't then maybe you need to find a way to kick him the kiester to force him to grow up at least a little.

    Personally, I'm on your son's side. If my father had told me to go get him a flashlight and I was occupied doing something else, I think I would have made a snide remark or two and I was one of those kids who would do almost anything my father asked of me. And if my dad would have carried a grudge about it til the next day, I'm not sure what I would have done but something tells me it wouldn't have been pretty once I figured out I was being treated this way because of his bad behavior of the night before.

    I wish you luck. It sounds like your husband is causing far more problems than he's solving. Time for a serious discussion?
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    MB - when this next session of therapies gets started, I fully expecft husband to attend. He needs to hear this struff straight from the horse's mouth, and he needs to be present when they say "well how did last week go?"...it needs to be him telling them what he did and didn't do, not me telling them then coming home and telling him what he needs to do different. He's been trying. Still lots of work left to do. I don't talk to him when I'm mad, but we'll rehash this morning later on today.
  15. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    One thing I thought of....

    A high energy dog is going to need a lot of exercise and with our kids the newness tends to wear off quickly. Then you have a dog that's not getting enough exercise and, thus, gets himself into trouble (chewing, etc), and more frustration with difficult child...and yet one more animal for you to care for, Know what I mean??
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Poodles are good. I (we) have had lhasa apsos since difficult child was 5 yo. Ours are not as smart as the poodles I used to have and they are more yippy but they are the greatest with kids. Many dogs would have bitten difficult child's nose off- he has never hurt either of them, but when we first got one and difficult child was 5, he thought he could put his face near her bowl to get an up close look at her eating. He took as much training as she did!
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Are they more considering that a dog would be a therapy dog for your son? You might consider checking out some of the places that train dogs for working with people with issues. They are already well trained and socialized to do their jobs.

    If its not that, then I would look into a 2 or 3 year old dog who was good with kids. A boxer mix, rottie mix, lab mix...any of those should be large enough to handle kid play but loyal enough to climb into bed with him.
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    You know where we were looking before we found our that N had to start with a Puppy because of her Anxiety... (gone now, as far as animals!!!)
    Was the Federal Inmate Training Programs. Ours here in Spokane area was called F.I.D.O They train dogs from the pound or rescue shelter, but they spend extra time with them, teaching a bit more than the pound pup! We would have taken one but we could only find ones that were 6 months or older.
    We actually had found one that had been started as a Therapy dog and been given to them because of allergies, the dog bonded with the inmates who were mentally ill!
    They have you fill out what you are looking for and match you up, we went and met the inmates and saw how they trained them, it was pretty inspiring to watch.