I’ve always been told that raising a dog is a good way to prepare for a baby but I never understood why… until recently.
I have a 6-month old Labrador and she’s probably taught me more about parenting than any book I’ve ever read (alas 1 or 2).
First, my dog is my responsibility. Always.
If she poops in the sitting room, it’s my fault because I forgot to take her out.
If she eats the cake, it’s my fault because I left the cake unattended on the table.
If she destroy my shoes, it’s my fault because I left the shoes near her in the first place.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s always my fault… and that’s a good thing.
I believe one should always take full responsibility for anything that happens in their life, but especially for things their children do because they are literally OUR responsibility and WE raised them.
Second, it’s much easier to teach my dog a trick by rewarding her when she does something right rather than punishing her when she does something wrong.
Growing up with a mother that wasn’t shy of using a wooden spoon to beat me, this learning has taken me the longest to truly understand.
We often resort to punishments, screaming & beating out of frustration. Incidentally, that’s also the sign we should stop and reflect instead.
When I’m frustrated my dog is not learning the new trick, I ask myself some questions:
- Is she tired?
- Did she understands what I asked correctly?
- Is there anything else she should know/learn before she does X?
- Is she in the right mood to learn X?
To reiterate the previous point: our dog and our child are OUR responsibility and if they fail it’s ultimately a fault on OUR side.
Instead of being angry at them and punishing them, we should take the time to understand if we did something wrong or if we should continue another day.