Monday, January 24, 2011

The Big Dog

The other day I was talking to Zane about leaving all of his small toys all over the floor and how he needed to pick them up and put them away.

"No," Zane tells me.

"Yes," I respond. "If you don't put your toys away, I will put them into 'time-out'." Zane HATES for his toys to be put into 'time-out'.

"No! I tell Big Dog!"

I almost laughed out loud.

We have quite a few dogs on our street; Zane knows most of them by name. There's Pepper, and Mojo, and Nikki, and Jade, to name a few. The dogs know Zane, who has no problem running up to these friendly pups and playing with them.

But we also live next door to two Rottweilers. They are relatively friendly, if high spirited. Personally, I don't think that they get enough exercise, but they aren't my dogs. Zane has never actually seen these dogs. He has no idea what they look like. He does, however, know what the male dog, sounds like. This dog seems to always be in the garage(to be fair, he is in the garage because he keeps breaking out of the backyard), and he barks at everything. Zane calls him The Big Dog.

Zane is 'scared' of The Big Dog. He will tell you that he's scared, but sometimes he will just start screaming. There are days when we have to carry Zane from the car to the door because The Big Dog barked and Zane is afraid to walk. There are times when we are inside our house and Zane comes running to us because The Big Dog barked, and he's very terrified. (We've explained that dogs don't know how to ring the doorbell and that The Big Dog doesn't have opposable thumbs to turn the doorknob to get inside, but this somehow is not as comforting as you might think.)

We don't know why Zane is afraid. I am not afraid of dogs and neither is Larry. Zane's been around a large dog; our Lab Sandy just passed away last year and Zane climbed on her like she was Everest. But who knows why any of us become afraid of anything? There are lots of people afraid of snakes who have never even encountered one, for instance. And I don't want Zane to throw caution to the wind and approach strange dogs, because that's not smart, either. The important thing is to deal with the fear in a positive way instead of just running from it.

We've been working on this anxiety of Zane's, talking with him about it, modeling good responses, and just generally reassuring him about The Big Dog. It seems that our efforts are working, since now Zane is going to tell The Big Dog if I put his toys in 'time-out'. Good. Zane will most certainly encounter many things that are scarier than The Big Dog, and I want him to be at least a little prepared to face them and not frozen with fear.


  1. I laughed so hard at this, what did you say to him when he said that? :D Jen

  2. I feigned surprise at the idea, but mostly because I was trying not to laugh!


    Nominated you for an award

  4. So funny. Kids come up with the most random connections sometimes, it cracks me up. Hope the fear doesn't last long.
    Stopping by from twitter.


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