Gardening can be good for the soul according to research reported by the Boston Globe today. Scientists figured out that digging in the dirt, planting seeds, weeding and even watering a jade plant is good for young and old patients in a hospital.
Archive for the ‘dogs’ category
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.
The only reason I’m a dog owner is because my children wanted a dog.
What would you say when your daughter, 14, calls you at work, where you’re working under a regular weekly deadline as the editor of a newspaper. Your second dog has just died after nine years with the family — if only she could have hung on three more years.
Your daughter’s three older siblings have left home. Your daughter is home along after school. Your daughter asks in a very small voice, (very unlike other voices she uses with her mother), softly, with vulnerability, like she’s 7 years old again, “Dad says if you say “yes” we can get another dog.”
If you’re a good mother and not a dog lover, just a dog tolerator, what’s your answer?
Gonzo came to live with us eight years ago. The daughter left home four years ago. So you know who takes care of the dog. Dad! I’m her stepmother. I do what looks good and feels good and what I feel like doing because she belongs to dad and daughter.
One really good reason to have a dog is because of the cute, funny and stupid things they do. Even when my children were spitting mad at me, I could always change the atmosphere by saying, “Do you know what Boomer/Sophie/Gonzo did today?”
Even now that they’ve moved out and onto a better place, my “children” love to hear what Gonzo did today.
When Cindy started stretching, Gonzo plunked herself right between Cindy’s legs. Gonzo and Cindy adore each other. Cindy — my excellent friend and massage therapist — even gave Gonzo a massage.
I’m a dog owner by default. Two dogs ago, I yielded to the urgent wishes of my four children and husband to add a dog into our cacophony, confusion and camaraderie.
Our three dogs have brought more gifts, laughter, wisdom and family unity than I could ever have imagined. They have been well-worth the investment and energy.
Gonzo’s door trick never fails to get a laugh from visitors on our porch. Usually she comes and goes through the screen door with little fanfare while we’re eating or kibitzing on the porch.
When a guest catches sight of her opening the door, they interrupt the conversation and exclaim, “Did the dog just open the door?!” Translated, “Did I just see what I thought I saw?”
Gonzo figured out how to open the door out of necessity. We didn’t interrupt what we were doing when she wanted to come in to let her in. We gave her the time and space to figure it out for herself. When she did, we congratulated her.
After the house is buckled closed for eight months of cold weather and we re-open the porch, Gonzo needs a few days to remember she knows how to get in and out of the door independently.
We have empowered our dog.
More young people could benefit from such an opportunity to think for themselves, solve problems, do homework [or not] and experience the natural and logical consequences of their decisions.