The worst thing about taking care of two extra dogs is the puppy, Lily. When I remember she’s a puppy, I take time for training. It’s the same for children, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens, and teens. Adjust my expectations for their age and take time for training.
Lily had the annoying habit of rushing through an open door. The other two dogs followed her exuberance and created chaos every time the front door opened. UGH!
I took the time to train Lily.
1. I had a plan. Before I opened the door, I told her to “hold it” and used a hand signal. Dogs understand the idea, Act, don’t Yak. [Source: Dr. Sam Goldstein.]
2. When she tried to rush out the door, I used a firm voice, said “Hold it!” or “No!” quickly closed the door and brought her back to wait beside the door. This took a few repetitions. I praised her when she did it right.
3. I followed the door routine for several days,. Sometimes she or I forgot and I repeated step two. Lily showed her intelligence by learning quickly. I showed my intelligence by being consistent.
As you can see in “after” Lily has gained some self-control and listens to me, which carries over to other areas and establishes me as Alpha.
Training also benefits children and teenagers.
1. Anticipate difficult situations and craft a positive parenting plan. For older children, use a family meeting to talk about the problem and solutions. For younger children, act, don’t yak, before getting angry. Following this one step can eliminate about 90 percent of all conflicts with younger children.
2. When the youngster forgets the training, remind him/her and use a related-respectful-reasonable [Source: Dr. Jane Nelsen] consequence in the moment. When the child does it right, use encouragement, not praise.
3. For best results, all adults at home consistently enforce the new training. It’s good to have an adult Alpha at home.
This week, pick one behavior issue in your home and take time for training. The younger the child, and the more consistent you are, the sooner they will learn.
Be prepared with a plan and Act don’t Yak.