When Mai was first born one of my biggest concerns was how our dog would be with a new baby in the house. Our pup is such a good boy & I never thought that he would intentionally hurt her, but being an energetic cattle dog, I feared that he might jump up on her or knock her over. Our worries were for nothing, Duke was fabulous with her. He was always aware of where the baby was & was gentle and cautious around her. As she grew older, he became protective of her, laying outside of her door as she slept & waiting for her to wake in the morning.
I was so worried about all of the things that Duke could do to her that it never occurred to me what she might do to him. From the time Mai could crawl she was invading his personal space. She loved giving him hugs and kisses. Once she began to walk, she would chase him through the house still trying to give those hugs. Soon she was dressing him in dish towels and trying to run him over with her big wheel. Worried that Duke would start getting angry with her, we had Mai take over the responsibility of feeding him so that he would he would see her as a provider and not just his tormentor.
Lately, her behavior has become more mean spirited than playful. Mai always thinks that Duke is trying to take her food and her toys. “Mai, Dukey isn’t doing anything wrong.”, but still she scolds the dog frequently and will hit him for no reason. I have explained to her that we all need to be nice to Dukey. He is a member of our family.
When she is fresh to him now, I tell her, “You need to say sorry to Duke.”
She shrugs her shoulder & throws her arms up in the air and says, “Mama. he no talk.”
“I know he doesn’t talk, but he understands you. Tell him sorry.”
“I sorry Dukey. I sorry I so mean.”
I realized that much of this behavior was learned. I catch myself yelling at the dog for various reasons now and think “Crap”, no wonder why she is always yelling at our poor pup. If it sounds bad coming from our sweet daughter’s lip than it must sound 3 times worse coming out of our mouths. You don’t realize sometimes how you act until someone puts a mirror in front of you in the form of your mini-me. We have been trying to watch our tone when addressing our furry baby now. We are sorry too Duke. We are sorry for being so mean.