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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How do you teach a Toddler to be nice to animals?

Dear Readers,

I would like to solicit your advice on how to teach a Toddler to be gentle with pets. Any experience or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

We have three cats and one Cavalier King Charles.

The dog huddles in a corner near my feet or in the corner of his dog bed as the Toddler attempts to hug him, sit on him, pat him, pull on his ears and tail and the dog does nothing but attempt to escape. He's a very sweet dog and our chief concern here is the dog's safety.

Two of the cats have taken up permanent residence in the garage (one of which is possibly turning feral). Zorak, the oldest cat, refuses to give up house residence and puts up with the never ending stream of love from Toddler. He has a history of temperamental behavior with us but thus far has shown no aggression towards the Toddler. He will change locations but lately just seems to "put up with it". Our chief concern is the cat getting fed up and smacking the Toddler.

Here is a photo of Toddler laying her head on Zorak.

The question of how to discipline a Toddler needs answered. Repeatedly saying Gentle, Be Nice to Kitteh, Stop hitting Kitteh, HEY, Enough are met with a curious look and then action repeated.

Completely dismayed, and confused.

Again, any recommendations would be appreciated with the exception of recommendation to get rid of said pets because we feel it's important for Toddler to be nice to animals and they are part of our family.


With Bowl + Spoon said...

She will learn from experience...one good swat or nip will be a good lesson. We always had BIG dogs that could take the abuse kids give animals...kids just do that, I wouldn't write her off as a serial killer just yet :)

Grit said...

thank goodness this was one trial by toddler that i did not face! good luck!

Unknown said...

perhaps demonstrate by taking her little hands and and petting the cat with her and saying "gentle, gentle" with a smile. give her opportunities frequently for gentle petting w/ lots of positive props when she does. like the other commenter said, she will learn. babies and cats CAN live together in harmony!

(glad the sharpie post made you laugh. i wondered if it would be funny to anyone other than me!)