Dustin is constantly messing with our animals. He is particularly obsessed with the dogs. Yesterday, I was upstairs doing a project in the bathroom and I sent him downstairs for something. The dogs were in the hall because they prefer to be by me when he is around since he torments them. When he came back up the steps, my back was turned. My quiet dog, who never barks and is particularly mellow let out a very alarming couple of barks. It was the kind of barking you expect when someone is breaking into your house. I whipped around to see Dustin cowering at the door to the bathroom.
I asked him if that shocked him. He said yes. I asked why Cayenne was barking like that and he said he was coming up the stairs making an angry face. when I asked him to make it for me I realized why she was barking. He was bearing his teeth to her and looking pretty menacing. The bark alarmed me because I could hear the fear in her "voice". While I don't think she would ever hurt him, I know she felt threatened and was telling me about it.
We have talked a lot of times about the dogs and why we don't mess with them. We have explained that dogs cannot tell you to leave them alone, so they bite. We have tried and tried to get through to Dustin. It has not worked. He is constantly calling them to him and holding them even when they are done. He hits and swats at them as they walk by. He swings his feet under the table and kicks them. He grabs their tails. I don't think he is trying to hurt them, I just think he likes the sense of control he gets. He has to be constantly watched around the dogs as well as the cat and the birds. Yesterday I had an idea.
I took him downstairs and googled images of dog bites. I showed him what could happen if he is bitten by a dog who is provoked. He was visibly shaken. Later he did try to grab the smaller dog, Wiki. I asked him if he wanted to see pictures and he said, "That's only for big dogs" so I googled small dog bites and he learned that even small dogs can do quite a bit of damage.
He did not touch an animals the rest of the day. He did not even call one over to him in his chair. That my friends is PROGRESS!
Will it hold through to today? Who knows? Perhaps the visual will last for awhile and he will remember there are consequences to his actions.