Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

A dog for problem child.

(29 Posts)
kircubbin2000 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:32:00

9 year old twin living with widowed mum has problem behaviour. Can't share, has to be centre of attention,meltdowns,possibly a little bit autistic.
Would a dog help, something for him to love and care for? Only problem,brother wouldn't get a look in and 2 dogs might be hard to look after.

Charleygirl5 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:35:09

It would not be fair on the dog! The child is too young to take it out for a walk so it would be the mother. A definite no from me.

RosieLeah Mon 19-Aug-19 16:37:30

I doubt that a dog would help. It would probably be neglected, even mis-treated and poor old mum would have the job of taking care of it.

Unless he has a definite medical problem, he just needs the right handling. Indulging him will just make his behaviour worse.

Labaik Mon 19-Aug-19 16:38:18

I've heard of several people with children on the autistic spectrum getting a dog for the child and it did seem to help. Obviously as long as the needs of the dog were properly met. One dog programme on the tv featured such a case but I'm afraid I can't recall which programme it was.

SueDonim Mon 19-Aug-19 16:38:43

No. The last thing a stressed parent needs is an extra responsibility. Try getting help for the child from school and/or the doctor.

lemongrove Mon 19-Aug-19 16:41:51

kirkubbin
The short answer is YES!
My DGS has autism and a pet was recommended, they got a cat ( as being easier than a dog) although he would love a dog to take for walks.
He loves all animals ( most children do, but especially those on the spectrum.) He is gentle and caring with animals and relates to them ( they don’t need conversation and don’t judge)😃It made a big difference to him.

kircubbin2000 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:42:31

Help has been very hard to get,no official diagnosis and the appointments have a long wait.

Jane10 Mon 19-Aug-19 16:44:14

There is a charity that matches the right sort of dog to an individual child. I know several families with autistic children who have really benefited. I can't remember the name of the charity though. Old age!

lemongrove Mon 19-Aug-19 16:44:50

To be honest, it would help the OP if only posters with any experience of autism in the family ( and getting a pet) post comments on here.
Obviously the boy’s mother would have to like animals and be happy to have one in the house.

lemongrove Mon 19-Aug-19 16:46:32

That sounds an excellent idea Jane10

BlueBelle Mon 19-Aug-19 16:52:23

Its too big a gamble what if the lad didn’t like the dog or what if the brothers quarrelled over it what if he got angry with the dog (had a melt down) I think this needs a lot more thought for both the dog and the mother s sake
Are you the grandmother? Have you a dog? has the boy been around dogs? Has he said he wanted one? ? It’s unfair on the dog to be used in such an unknown situation
I would test the water with friends’ dogs or yours if you have one before even considering one of his own

BlueBelle Mon 19-Aug-19 16:54:19

lemongrove kircubbin says the boy may be a bit autistic I don’t think that should bar others from expressing their viewpoint

Nannarose Mon 19-Aug-19 16:56:43

I would begin by looking at local charities and groups for children with such problems. We have a teaching farm near us where the children come for experience, get used to the animals and parents / carers can quietly chat with experienced staff about getting a pet.

lemongrove Mon 19-Aug-19 17:03:42

kirkubbin yes, an official diagnosis is extremely hard to get which places an impossible burden on the family.
My DGS did get one, because his mother kept plugging away at the authorities, but you have to be single minded about it.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t done already, read up on the subject and contact the Autism Society.That will help you come to a conclusion about his behaviour.Good luck.🍀

Jane10 Mon 19-Aug-19 17:12:48

What helps a person with ASD works as well for any child - structure, predictability and calm.
The charity I was talking about was very, very careful to match child with dog. They had almost a library of all sorts of dogs in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. There were some lovely outcomes. Not as easy as just 'getting a dog' though!

Mossfarr Mon 19-Aug-19 17:18:06

Before actually getting a dog it might be worthwhile them becoming a 'friend' in a local dog charity - such as The Dogs Trust.
They often need help with exercising the dog in their care. It would an opportunity to for this child to interact with dogs whilst his family observe the effect on him.
It would avoid the possibility of having to rehome a dog if actually getting him his own dog did not work out.

kircubbin2000 Mon 19-Aug-19 17:42:45

I'm not keen myself as I agree Mum would do most of the work.I don't live near them so can't offer practical help.

Summerlove Mon 19-Aug-19 17:50:13

What a disaster waiting to happen
How unfair to the other child.

SueDonim Mon 19-Aug-19 17:50:41

I have several friends with autistic children. As one of them says, when you know one autistic child, you know one autistic child. Children with autism are as different as anyone else so what goes for one child doesn't necessarily go for another.

I know of someone who had to rehome her beloved dog after it became a target for her autistic child. It doesn't always work out well.

wildswan16 Mon 19-Aug-19 18:08:09

If a dog was brought in then it should be a "family" dog. Not, in this situation just for one particular twin.

A lot will depend on why the child is being a problem for his mum. None of us know that. It may be related to losing his father, or a hundred other reasons.

As long as the mother thinks a dog would be safe, and not maltreated in any way by the children, if the family want a dog - then get a dog.

Maybe they could start by getting a smaller animal which would be less work, but would teach the children how to care for a pet.

Feelingmyage55 Mon 19-Aug-19 18:08:56

Why jump to a dog? Start with a couple of hamsters - one each and see how it goes.

Feelingmyage55 Mon 19-Aug-19 18:09:48

Cross posted with wildswan.

MissAdventure Mon 19-Aug-19 18:15:52

I think the autism has no bearing on whether a child will love, be gentle and care for an animal.
Just like everyone else, some love animals, some are indifferent, and some are nervous.

GrannyGravy13 Mon 19-Aug-19 18:23:14

GS is on “The Spectrum” they got a dog and it has made a difference.

sodapop Mon 19-Aug-19 19:25:00

I agree with Mossfar try helping with the dogs at a rescue centre or visits to someone with a placid dog. I think it takes a while to get a support dog trained for a specific child.
Dogs can be a great help for children who have additional needs. I don't see why it should be necessary to get a dog for the other child as well.