It’s official. Buttercup is terrified of Wally Ben. Like, really and truly, tail-between-the-legs-running-for-cover-at-the-site-of-him, perhaps one day soon pee-on-the-floor afraid. It’s a shame, too, because she had just been warming up to him and his love and hugs and close talking. She was just starting to lay there when he sidled up, put his face in hers, turned around and leaned back into her chest in a weird, cute, backwards lean hug thing he decided was nice. She was starting to even like it a little, especially when he was walking around with a cracker in his hand and decided to give her love.

But a few days ago, he discovered her fearful nature. See, when I picked Buttercup out of the litter, it was because she was the quiet puppy cowering in the corner while the other ones were hyper-spastically pawing at my legs. I thought she’d be the gentle one of the bunch. And she is. But she’s also a wuss that tears across the room if a pillow drops from the couch in her near vicinity. She jumps over grates on the sidewalk. The other day she farted so loud, she jumped up, ran to the other side of the room, and cowered in fear for a few minutes.

That poot so loud it scared her made husband Wally laugh for several minutes. Wally Ben, though, thinks any time Buttercup cowers in fear is the funniest thing he’s ever seen. It started with his rider car, which he was casually pushing around the living room. Buttercup happened to notice, got freaked out, and ran in the other direction. I was in the kitchen and heard Wally Ben start laughing, so I peeked to check out what was up. He was then chasing Buttercup around, pushing the car in her general direction, and she was running for cover around furniture and more.

(Ellie spares herself of this trouble by laying there and pretending not to care. She doesn’t get picked on that way. She is a smart one.)

Buttercup, though, can’t take a hint. She is such a nervous scaredy-dog, she runs and runs in circles, past Wally, toward Wally, away from Wally, and every move she makes causes him to laugh a little harder and try chasing her even more. At first, this was hilarious to us. He laughed so hard that first night he fell on the ground laughing and couldn’t get back up long enough to stop. He just sat on all fours cracking up so hard we weren’t sure he was breathing.

The next day, though, when he wanted to play again, we felt the need to intervene on Buttercup’s behalf (so she doesn’t die of stress). He persists, though, and now has discovered that if he even just waves a sippy cup at her, which is much easier than lugging around his push car, she runs in fear. So he is brandishing whatever he can find nearby, chasing her and laughing, and he won’t stop.

We take the cup or toy or box away that he chases her with and he cries, then he finds something else five minutes later that is just as effective as a weapon. We tried replacing it with a dog toy, which is fine for him to shake at her because she understands that is fun. But he loses interest when he doesn’t see her tail between her legs, and he finds something she will be afraid of.

Any tips for punishing a 14 month old, or at least correcting this bad behavior? Do time outs work when they are this young? And if so, how do you go about getting him to sit for a time out?