Seeing red

I know I shouldn’t be this angry, but I am. My little dog last week developed a very nasty habit: if we leave the kitchen for a minute, she jumps on the table to get the food. I discovered today that a ten year old neighbor taught her to do this. Instead, of apologizing when I confronted him, he gave me a convoluted rationale about dogs that are new learning new things. I was too angry to say anything. When I’m that mad, silence is always the best option.

I’m generally fed up with this kid. The rule is no shoes in the house, but he can’t seem to grasp it (and I have the sand on the carpet to prove it). He also has no sense of privacy and, even as I’m hollering at him to stay out of a room, he’ll just walk into it. I suspect he has mild Asperger’s. I’ve said that from the day I met him — although social, there’s something wrong with his affect — but I’m becoming increasingly certain that I’m right.

So, I know I shouldn’t be mad, because he’s just a kid and I think he has a mild neurological deficit, but I’m still mad, because I now have a dog who jumps on my kitchen table and steals food. Calm me down someone. I’ll take a nice “there, there,” or some practical information about how to deal with a boy who is an important part of the neighborhood social set and who, although a little “off,” is basically a nice little guy who just happens to ignor any boundaries (and who has now taught my dog to ignore an important boundary).

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  • Max Creel


    Chill a bit. Animals are animals… and yes, some are children… LOL I have four children. Trust me; I know how things can be.

    Remind the dog and the 10 YO who is King in your house. It will be easier on the dog than the kid. Remind the kid that he is in YOUR house. Rules apply!

    Love your site! I have been a fan of your site for a few weeks now and I also have it on my news feed. Keep up the great work!

    Just don’t let you life go to the dogs!! LMAO.

  • Don Quixote

    Hi Max, and welcome to the Bookwormroom. BW, I only had one visiting child disobey the house rules as my kids were growing up and I called his parents and made them take him home (he had been scheduled for a sleep-over). The problem never happened again.

  • Ymarsakar

    Detrain the dog.

    If this 10 year old doesn’t get any punishment for his misbehavior, then it doesn’t matter what syndrome he has or does not have. No punishment means no obedience.

    As for the dog, do try to reverse the pavlovian system the kid used to train the dog. She’ll be okay, it isn’t permanent. Once you put enough work into it, your dog will be yours again. Just make sure nobody steals her again for some brainwashing.

  • Danny Lemieux

    We have a perfectly behaved Golden Retriever. Of course, they are easy to train and eager to please. Still, when he was a puppy, we put Tabasco sauce on his mouth whenever he ate, bit or chewed something he wasn’t supposed to do. He learned quickly. Unfortunately, some other dogs learn to like it, so you have to go to bitter tastes. A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Sound’s like YM is right – you have some “un-training” to do. Oh, with regard to the kid: that’s just normal brain chemistry malfunction. That continues until they are somewhere into the 20s. Do what you must be realize that it’s like putting fingers into the dike – you’ll never get all the leaks.

  • Bookworm

    What irks me is that I did have a perfectly trained dog — a really submissive little animal. This kid taught her a very inappropriate new trick. I think all I’ll have to do is yell at her when I catch her in the act, but I don’t like to do it. In a larger way of viewing things, this sweet little pup doesn’t deserve to be yelled at for having the wits to learn a new trick!

  • Ymarsakar

    You got mad cause you care about your dog, Bookworm ; ) If you didn’t care about her, it wouldn’t faze you, just another messy situation.

    You can’t get angry at the dog, and you can’t get angry at the other kid for I don’t know, many reasons I suppose. So your emotions are caught in a sort of feedback system, which is why it gets higher and higher on the distress meter.

    You could solve the problem, that isn’t the problem, but as you said, if you solve the problem for yelling at your dog, it wouldn’t be fair to the dog, so this then feeds back into your anger at the original problem. So it is looping.

    Instead, of apologizing when I confronted him, he gave me a convoluted rationale about dogs that are new learning new things.

    When you went to the kid, it started looping when you thought about his responses. Then when you thought about fixing your dog, it started looping again. Without an outlet, anger tends to saturate the spirit too much.


    I’m a dog lover, so I’m not suggesting this to be mean to your pooch. Boobytrap the table: put a bunch of mouse traps on the table.

  • Greg

    Bookworm looses it over a 10-year-old neighbor who magically and irrevocably trained Bookworm’s small dog to leap upon the dinningroom table whenever Bookworm’s back is turned … Neither the child’s training of the dog nor the dog’s new behavior happens in a vacuum. I wonder why the child and the dog are expressing such aggression towards Bookworm? [Best part of the story, I can’t help pointing this out … Bookworm’s convinced that the child is somewhat autistic (!!). Like, uhm, you’ve got an unsupervised autistic child wandering around your house? With enough time on his hands to train your dog? And you don’t have enough of a relationship with the child’s parents that you can learn from them the nature of his behavioral condition? Man, Lady, you need to take an interest in the stuff going on in your house.]

  • Al

    BW, I would be five seconds past a nuclear meltdown if anyone trained my puppy to jump on the the dinner table for a snack. Age immaterial. Ten years old? Let’s see, 3rd or 4th grade? In school they are supposed to follow the rules and sit at their desks and raise their hands. There certainly is a discipline problem here which could be consistant with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. ASD does not preclude the ability to train a willing, happy puppy. Feed any puppy and they will do anything. And as far as your supposed need to be more interested in your environment, your self control in a situation which approches personal injury further proves your intelligence, observational ability, and a comprehension of short term, and long term effects.
    The puppy can be retrained, I’m sure you’ve talked to the parents, (like to know how that went) and it will make a great story at you 10 year old neighbor’s wedding party.
    Yesterday, I came home to find our puppy had broken through the fence. Our neighbor found him in the front yard. He returned the pup to the back yard and wired the hole in the fence shut. I owe him a case of beer. Neighbors are good to have.

  • George Bruce

    Who compels you to allow this urchin in your home?

  • Ymarsakar

    Probably friend of her son/daughter.

  • Bookworm

    George: the urchin is a mostly nice kid, with some boundary issues, who is part of a very tight and happy group of neighborhood kids. Although he irritates me at times — and angered me this time — I’d needlessly be cutting of both my kids and me from a lovely neighborhood environment if I were to vent about this anywhere but on my blog.

  • Ymarsakar

    Bookworm, why do I get the message that your body language is a bit inconsistent with your words? ; )

    Did you hear Tonya Reiman on O’Reilly show today? She was reading right through people’s body languages. Need a couple of her when you are interrogating people, for sure.

  • Connect the Dots 2006


    For the dog, I highly recommend Cesar Milan’s “The Dog Whisperer” show on the National Geographic Network. I’ve had dogs all my life, and I learned so much from watching the show. (His catch phrase: “I train people, I re-habilitate dogs.”

    Once you learn some of his dog control techniques, they might actually work on the kid, too.

  • Ymarsakar

    Bookworm’s quite a fan of the Dog Whisperer. Or was that Neo? I forget.

  • Mrs. Happy Housewife

    “Blest With Sons” ( has a son with Asperger Syndrome. She might have some advice on how to deal with the boy.