How Puppy Training Improved My Parenting
Just kidding, I have a pandemic puppy to complete my pandemic bingo after the pandemic divorce and making this whipped coffee . I’ve never had a puppy so I had to learn how to train her, an 8 month old rescue with some attachment issues . Meanwhile, I was going through a pandemic while raising two children after a divorce, so I also dealt with these attachment issues. I started noticing that some of the dog training advice was very similar to the human parenting advice I got from psychologists, parenting books and podcasts, and that maybe I could use the tricks I learned from dog training to also improve your skills. educating people (so to speak).
Similar to raising people, you can have a parenting style for your pet. Experts explain that the most effective way to raise your pet is “authoritative”, which means you have high expectations and high responsiveness. If your pet has something he shouldn’t have, you tell him to “quit it.” They don’t. You don’t let him go. You tell them to drop it until they drop it. Then you praise them. The next time you tell them to quit and they do it on the first try, you will give them a lot of joyful praise in return. You expect them to do what you say and respond to their actions.
On the other hand, “the canine parent must evaluate the situation when the dog crosses the border in order to find out why the dog behaved the way it did. Dog parents need to make sure the dog’s needs are being met or that their behavior is the result of something else,” says veterinarian Crile Bonk . So when my dog asks to go outside, she sniffs me. I used to ignore her if I was busy, but then she went to pee on the carpet. Instead, I immediately began taking her outside. She doesn’t pee on my carpet anymore. She expects me to take her out and responds accordingly. I respond to her expectations, and vice versa.
I started making small changes to my upbringing to better fit this simple strategy. When I say I “train” them, I don’t mean that I have a clicker or I say in a stupid voice: “Good boy!” My kids have more brains and vocabulary than my dog. I speak to them with respect and uphold the appropriate standards. That’s what I’m doing:
Increasing Positive Reinforcement
I thought I was a pretty positive parent. But when I increased positive reinforcement for both my fur and human children, I immediately saw a huge improvement in positive behavior. I felt like I was overly positive about my praise, but sometimes kids need to hear it, especially kids with ADHD or other neurodivergent conditions who are more likely to hear negative feedback .
Every time they clear the table, I say thank you. Every time they decide not to hit their sibling while driving, I notice how kind they are, though maybe I should take it for granted. When they go out of their way to be kind or helpful, I go out of my way to give them specific personal praise, not just, “Good job.”
Never let go
I know I just said that I would be more positive, but it’s also important to have boundaries and stick to them no matter what. So, if I said that we can’t watch the movie until the housework is done, but the kids refuse to do the housework, I have to be consistent.
It’s the same concept as with the dog: “Drop it, drop it, drop it.” If this is not done after a certain amount of time, then there must be an appropriate, related consequence to let them know that I will stick to my limits.
Okay, but then let go
According to National Geographic, dogs have a very short memory: two minutes . It is pointless to hold a grudge against a dog for pooping in the house all day, because he does not remember what he did wrong. If you notice them pooping, tell them no, put it away and move on.
The same with children. They may remember what they did, but holding a grudge doesn’t do anyone any good , as VeryWell Mind describes. Fix what went wrong and then move on. Sometimes, as Ted Lasso says, it’s better to have a memory of a goldfish for the sake of your mental health and the emotional well-being of your children.
Don’t get caught in the face of a barking dog
You would never do that, right? So why do we get in the face of children when they are very elevated? It’s a good way to get hit by a kid in my house. And while we never condone violence , to be honest, I can’t blame a spanking kid in any way. When some kids are very explosive and aroused in their tantrums, anxiety or breakdowns, they don’t need you right in front of them, literally or more generally.
Instead, I make sure they know I’m here, when they’re ready to be safe with their bodies, I make sure they’re in a safe place and we wait. Now is not the time to break out of gentle parenting and wonder together why your child is so angry. Just be with them until they come back to themselves .
Go to the dog park
We all have a good time visiting a real dog park at my place, but sometimes going outside , playing sports or changing our condition can reset the whole day for my family. Getting a chance to play together after a moment of stress is often all we need to take some space, catch our breath, and clean ourselves up.