How is training a dog like training a child?

Everywhere we go and take our sweet little dog Lucy, everyone is always commenting on how well behaved she is.  She is a very smart girl; I will admit I am a little biased.  However, the truth is, we have really focused on training her.  We have had 5 different dogs over our 38 year marriage and none of them were this well behaved.  We finally realized that we had to invest time into training a dog.   With Lucy, we read books, enlisted a dog trainer friend for advise, and really focused on her training.  At five years old, we still focus on her training.  We recently spent some time at the beach and would let her off her lease to practice getting her to stay by our side without going to other people or animals.

This got me to thinking about how we are as parents.  We bring home our infant and do the best we can.  Some parents ask other parents or read things on the internet, but too often parenting classes are only thought of if you are experiencing a problem.  Why is it that people will pay and invest time to take their dogs to be trained, but frown upon doing the same for their child?  We should not wait until their is a problem before we seek to “train” our children.  Consider participating in parenting workshops when they are available or Triple P sessions. Let’s focus on training our children by educating ourselves before a problem occurs.  Below are a few Triple P recommendations:

  • Spend Time With Your Child – put the phones down and get on the floor and play
  • Speak Nicely – remember that your children learn by your behavior
  • Chat and Listen Often – once again, put the phone down and talk with your child
  • Be Affectionate – all children need hugs and gentle touches
  • Use Descriptive Praise – remember you get more of what you pay attention to
  • Use Incidental Teaching  – when your child makes a mistake (misbehaves), use it as an opportunity to teach.
  • Get Involved in Your Child’s School – children want to now that you care enough to be involved

As 2019 rapidly approaches, consider resolving to focus and invest in being a better parent.  Being a parent is the most important job you will ever have!

Happy New Year!  Norma W. Honeycutt, Executive Director