I am the father to a 14 month old son, an only child, and he is pretty much how I would expect a toddler to be. He has an unquenchable curiosity, a need for play, occasional cuddles, intense desires to perform strange focused tasks, and a spectacular display of dramatics when he is throwing a tantrum.
Lately I am wondering if this one behavior is normal and how to get him to stop. He occasionally will just kind of wander around looking for something to do, and when he sees the dog he runs over and just starts to hurt him. He will smack the dog, grab his droopy lips or long Bassett Hound ears and pull on them, sometimes he even tries to step on him when he is laying on the floor. What makes this even more concerning is that he is enormous for his age so his size and strength don't match up with his emotional or mental maturity just yet. He registers 99% percentile in height and 90% in weight according to the pediatrician.
My dog is thankfully incredibly easy-going and extremely patient through all of this. He will sometimes squeal in pain but he never snaps or displays any aggressive behavior. He is starting to become scared of the toddler however and it breaks my heart.
Of course when I see it happen I physically prevent him and try to give him a firm NO! I don't think he mentally grasps the concept of NO just yet or if he does, he doesn't seem to have the impulse control to stop himself. When I stop him and tell him No he more or less seems annoyed. I have also tried positive reinforcement by teaching him how to pet and hug the dog. He will pet nicely and then give a nice big hug and he responds well to praise. He seems pleased with himself when I praise him for being nice, but then I can see his body start shaking like he is about to do something he has no control over and then he starts getting hyper and violent with the dog again.
He is a sweet boy but I am wondering if this random violent hitting behavior is normal in 14 month old boys? Is this a phase? Is this a sign that he might grow up to be a violent person? Also what techniques can I try to help teach him NO and to stop hurting the dog?