Monday, June 13, 2011

I may be on to something . . .

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.


GB's Mom said...

What good thinking! Visuals frequently work better with our kids.

:)De said...

good idea!

Ten Beautiful Years said...

During our "Ten Beautiful Years" I really thought RAD had "healed halleluiah." Our RAD daughter seemed well regulated (And I really believe she was during that time)...

However, "red flags" started going up after she returned from her only college semester out of state...

One big red flag was that she began frequently talking about how much fun it was to make babies cry.

The first time or two she mentioned it we really thought she was just joking... but as she'd go on, she'd talk about "little kids, ESPECIALLY the ones who can't talk" and how she LOVED to make scary faces at them to make them cry... any time their parents looked away etc.

She couldn't believe we all didn't find the "harmless fun" in that pastime.

We couldn't believe she REALLY thought that was a cool thing to do.

It is so easy for me to tally her red flags in hindsight... after her meltdown!

The foster family she was with for 3 months before joining our family had LOTS of pets... of ALL kinds including two HUGE great danes.

We had dogs, but she always said she didn't like them... and appeared to leave them alone.

I have a HS grad pic of her and I encouraged her to pose with our dog... it was comical how far away she insisted on staying for the photo.

Later her friends asked her to dog sit... she said "sure I LOVE dogs!" They explained two of their dog menagerie would want to sleep in bed with her... "Great! No problem! I'll sleep with the dogs!"

I suggested she be upright with these people about the fact she doesn't like dogs, that she doesn't even like to pet our dog... God knows what story she told them...

RAD gives her the uncanny ability to become all things to all people... for them she was a dog lover, and dog sitter extraordinaire!