As you may know, we said good-bye to our dog, Goldilox, last spring, after 14 dog-eriffic years. Her video tribute, in case you missed it, was full of tail-wagging/dog licking fun. We finally decided it was time to add another 4-legged love into our lives, and Zoe has quickly adapted to the keyboard clicking in my office.
Having a puppy after so many years has made me see the parallels between puppy training and parenting…and trust me, I’m giving myself this advice daily…It’s one thing when you can shout, “You’re grounded” or “time out” — but quite another when your wooden chair legs are being shredded…
1 – Be consistent. Think of the old science experiments – a rat in a maze. Intermittent rewards make that rat continue to come back and push the lever. Kids – and pups – are no different. Stay firm, and the whining and demanding will end – if your ears can take the trip! We learned the hard way that a cute 12-pound puppy is a great lap dog, but as she approaches 75 (quickly), not so lap appropriate!
2 – Praise goes a long way. It’s so easy to be critical, but practice positive, rewarding statements. As Zoe learns day by day that we’re doing cheers every time she pee’s on the grass, she’s finding the dining room floor less exciting. Think of how good you feel when you’re told you’ve done a good job. Our kids are no different…(and hopefully they don’t pee on the floor!)
3 – We thrive on routine. Think of how disruptive life is when you have no idea what’s around the next turn. Incorporate predictable routines into your lives, and kids will thrive.
4 – Take – and organize photos. This is something I’m ALWAYS behind on, but…I try to capture the moments and file in date order. As the kids grow – so fast – think about taking a picture in front of the same spot each year to show how they grow – maybe a door or chair?
5 – Kids and chores…work! It’s certainly easier to do the job ourselves at time, but it’s really important to get the kids involved with house responsibilities. The puppy’s only responsibilities right now are “dust-buster’ish” when crumbs fall, but the kids…they get to help with the dog!
Aw, heck, can’t resist sharing one more photo…isn’t she cute?!
What other parallels do you see between raising kids and raising puppies?