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Unread 03-16-2013, 09:44 AM   #1
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Default A boy who thinks he is a dog

I am trying to understand my step-nephew. I don't think he is on the "spectrum" but he has some odd behavior that mystifies me and perhaps someone can give me a clue.

He is 6 years old, in first grade. He often acts like he is a dog. It is more intense than pretending, he acts like he really wants to be a dog. It is NOT cute.

When he meets a new adult he he literally barks and pants like a puppy. He does not give up acting like a dog for an hour or more. His parents have given up asking him to not do this. He insists on buying dog treats and eats them for snacks. He also eats ants.

He seems very uncomfortable with other children and not know how to play with them. He does play nicely with his younger sister. They both dress up in girl clothes, even putting on makeup and nail polish, and play with dolls. (All his parents are sort of ok with this cross dressing.) He ignores the other family children for the most part. The other 3 kids are younger and all seem like average kids.

All the parents involved are good people. In spite of broken marriages they all get along and even go on multi-family camping trips. The main thing is the dog stuff. I think the boy has some serious issues. I am not trying to interfere with his parents, but would like to have some understanding in order to make my relationship with him more helpful.
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Unread 03-16-2013, 06:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

I have come across this before in a post.

I am curious if this dog behaviour occurs during school hours or just in the privacy of home.

If the child behaves this way only in the privacy of home and not in public, then he can control the behaviour.

When he dresses in the opposite gender clothing and does makeup and nail polish, does he continue with the dog behaviour. Or are these two separate patterns of behaviour?

Does your nephew ever explain why he is acting like a dog? If an actual dog was in the household, I wonder what your nephew do?

A person with schizophrenia felt that she was treated like a dog, so she would act like a dog. There were two incidences in that person's life that she acted like a dog for extended periods of time. I have not come up with much more, just a performance artist who acted like a dog for his art.
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Unread 03-16-2013, 08:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

two thoughts...please don't take these the wrong way, i am just trying to look at all the options of what may be going on in his head
first thought ...some fettishes develop in childhood, there is a group of people who choose to be treated like dogs, there is even dog shaped hoods that they wear. look up puppy fettish

thought two...As your nephew also likes to cross dress i wonder if this is due to him feeling he was born in the wrong body, some children know they were from a very young age and often go on to opt for gender reassignment in later life.

thought three ...if your nephew does feel he is in the wrong body, he may feel that he is being treated wrong or bad, because he is being treated as a boy when he feels he is not a boy, he may not be able to explain this yet especially as it will still be very confusing and 'wierd' to himself, so acting as a dog may be his way of distracting his parents/others from treating him as a boy.

like i said these are just thoughts and i may be well off the mark, but i do know that children as young as two can know they are in the wrong body, i had a 2 year old in preschool who insisted on wearing the girls dresses whenever he could, he used mums perfume every day and refused to play cars or construction but opted to play dolls or mummies and daddies (always being the mummy). this child is now a teenager and is living as a girl, taking hormones to give him breasts and make him more feminine before he has reassignment surgery for his 18th birthday!
another child, a girl, refused to wear dresses or skirts, played rugby, was made to do ballet eventhough she hated it, preferred the bikes to the prams etc and is now a fully reassigned male. both knew by the age of three that something was not right with them eventhough they could not say what.
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Unread 03-16-2013, 08:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

Is there a pet dog there?
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Unread 03-17-2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

Maybe he was taken too early from his last life where he was a dog. There are a lot of people out there who believe they are not fully human. I myself nurtured a cat self for a while but it wasn't as intense as what you describe.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 07:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by optimize990h View Post
I have come across this before in a post.

I am curious if this dog behaviour occurs during school hours or just in the privacy of home.
I don't know about school. What I recall is it is mostly when there is an encounter with adults in a public place. His dad is fairly well known by his profession and often encounters people who know him and want to chat. Nephew then goes into the dog mode. His dad is clearly embarrassed and frustrated.

Quote:
If the child behaves this way only in the privacy of home and not in public, then he can control the behaviour.

When he dresses in the opposite gender clothing and does makeup and nail polish, does he continue with the dog behaviour. Or are these two separate patterns of behaviour?
Good questions! My recollection is the dog stuff is in public and the cross dressing is at home play with his 2 year younger sister.
Quote:
Does your nephew ever explain why he is acting like a dog? If an actual dog was in the household, I wonder what your nephew do?

A person with schizophrenia felt that she was treated like a dog, so she would act like a dog. There were two incidences in that person's life that she acted like a dog for extended periods of time. I have not come up with much more, just a performance artist who acted like a dog for his art.
There are no dogs in his homes, but there are many in the neighborhood that he plays with in what seems to be an ordinary way.

I have not asked him why he behaves like a dog; don't know quite how I could. It looks, from my eyes, like he is trying to magically change into a dog, and/or a girl by behaving in these ways. It's sounds silly, but it is clearly over-the-top behavior.

In thinking some more about this little guy, I recalled why I put this post in this forum. He is very socially awkward with his peers. He really only gets along with his sister.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

I'd ask the kid straight out why he acts like a dog.
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Unread 03-18-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Permanent Pajamas View Post
I'd ask the kid straight out why he acts like a dog.
That gets answered with a bark.
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Unread 03-18-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: A boy who thinks he is a dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvinneakt View Post
That gets answered with a bark.
Even if he's not acting like a dog at that point of time?

Also though, to me this doesn't seem to terribly weird I used to think I was part cat and was totally convinced and would even try acting like one a lot. but that obsession has mellowed out some now I just like cats and I still meow at them and such which some people may find strange but cats like the attention.

As for the others stuff, he might just be curious about how girls dress or maybe he feels more feminine...or that he's in the wrong gendered body which can happen to.
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