Supporting Parents. Fostering Change.

Teach Your New Dog (I Mean Child) Old Tricks?

Your children may look at you kind of funny if every time they did what you asked you gave them a chunk of a chicken hot dog.

You:  “Jack, sit.”

(Jack sits.  You pop a chunk of chicken hot dog in his mouth)

You:  “Jack, open your book to Page 234.”

(Jack opens his book to page 234.  You pop the chunk of hot dog in his mouth)

You:  “Jack, complete the homework exercise on page 234.”

(Jack completes the exercise on page 234.  You – hotdog)

Aaaaaah if parenting were only that simple.

My family recently got a puppy. You’ll be surprised at how much overlap there is between dog training and parenting.

Ann Davis’s  (www.Rudy’ philosophy for training dogs, “Make training fun and happy and your dog will learn that responding to commands can be a great experience.”   Boomer, our five month old mastiff, most certainly agrees.

Here’s what Ann writes in her first doggie training handout:

“Take baby steps and only add more challenges when they are ready to handle them.”

It’s pretty much the same with kids.  They master goals one step at a time, and you are there to reward them for signs of progress,  (just maybe not with a tasty treat).  You praise effort and movement in the direction of success.  Kids let you know when they are ready to move on to the next goal because the skill is solidly in place for several weeks.

“Begin training in an area with no distractions.”

When we are in the yard at home with Boomer, he’s able to come when he’s called (especially when he knows there is a treat waiting for him).  Take him to the dog park and call to him?  Forget it. Even if we had a side of beef waiting for him, he would ignore us!

From parents, I hear, “She absolutely won’t do her homework. She’d much rather be on her iPad, her phone, the TV, her laptop…anything but homework!”

Ummmm….yeah…. who wouldn’t?

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