Monday, February 9, 2015

Parenthood – Week 89: Parent Training

Dogs don’t need to be trained, owners do.

There are services that take your dog away train them for you. Then there are instructors like the one that we had for Ollie who trained Diana and me how to raise Buffy into a happy and confident member of our family.

The bare minimum is getting your dog trained by someone else, but if you’re doing that then you are missing out on the most challenging but also the most meaningful part of dog ownership. However, everyone’s got their own path and for us, we wanted to be the ones to raise our puppy.

If you really wanted to and you had the means, you can get someone to pretty much raise your kid for you. Between nannies, and boarding schools you can have a kid without the child actively being in your life. Most people would say that this is not as good for the child as having a more active parent, however if the parent is disinterested, it may be best to let someone else handle raising the kid.

How did my puppy training help me know how to raise a kid? There’s a lot of little ideas. If you give a dog a direction multiple times and the dog doesn’t respond, don’t raise your voice; try to communicate in a different way. Aggression engenders more aggression and if you a hit a dog, eventually it’ll bite back. A dog only behaves a bad as you allow them too.

All of these points directly apply to kids. But more than these tidbits, there’s a paradigm that being trained to raise Buffy carried on to my experience as a dad with Ollie.

Dog training came easier to Diana. Buffy would pick up commands from her faster and was far more responsive to her during exercises. It was frustrating, but here’s the thing. Even if things weren’t going the way I wanted them to, Buffy was happy simply to have my attention. Once I started to focus on that, not trying to “teach her” but rather be with her, things started to click.

Being a parent or a dog owner is meaningful and powerful not only because of what you do for another but also how this experience changes you. When you teach a dog to sit you are teaching yourself how to express care, how to communicate, how to be present and how to love. In training your dog and parenting your child you are teaching yourself how to be a better human being. Great parenting requires this of you.

We are the ones who have to learn, not our dogs, not our children. We are the ones who have to change our behaviors, our actions, the way we talk, and the way we think about life itself, so that our dogs and our children can be raised right. Yes, the ones we raise have to do a lot of work, but at the end of the day, we are the ones who do the heavy lifting.

No comments:

Post a Comment