Parenting style (HLD 311)

28 Jan 2021

There was a beautiful post a friend shared on Facebook a little while ago about parenting, and it synced perfectly in my mind with something we had noticed about our dog, so I thought I’d bore you all with the topic.

The post was lovely – taking you through the stages of parenting from lack of sleep when your children are babies, through toddlers not staying in their beds, to getting children to school, school lunches, school clothes, sports, homework, washing clothes, joys of Christmas, and chaos in your house, through to the time they are older and your house feels vaguely empty. If went on to suggest that you ask yourselves questions like – did I teach them the right lessons, read them enough books, spend enough time playing with them, let them know how much you really love them???

I hope I haven’t already lost my friends who don’t have children, because this post is not actually about parenting children, but about parenting pets.

When you parent a young animal, there are lessons they must learn. Sometimes it seems like they will never be understood. There is toilet training, there are manners to be learned, there are socialisation lessons, there is obedience training. There may be agility training, and even party tricks. There are basically lessons on how to be a member of the family, both local and global. Very similar to parenting a human.

The first two years of your pets’ life are full of learning, and as a parent it’s your job to make sure those lessons are learned.

But there comes a time in the life of your pet (and I’m primarily speaking from the dog point of view, but I have parented a wide variety of pets so I speak with some authority on the subject 🤣) when a level of trust becomes evident.

Like a human child, your pet child can be allowed a little leeway. When walking in an off lead area at the park, our dog often walks a fair distance from us. We are obviously not cool enough to introduce to her friends sometimes, which reminds me a lot of the human children. But like the human equivalent, she needs to know that we are there when required. She will maintain eye contact, unless there is something that needs a good sniffing.

Like all humans regardless of age, there will come a time in the life of your pet when a reminder is needed of lessons you learned, but have possibly forgotten. For a dog, a bit of recall training might be needed to remind the animal that they are not, in actual fact, totally free to go wherever and do whatever they want. This lesson is often needed with humans as well, but much more psychology is needed in the interpretation.

There will most likely need to be some correction of behaviours, in both human and pet. This is done in both species first verbally, and maybe by the withholding of treats and privileges. Your pet will not answer back as much as the human offspring, but the expression in the eyes in both is very similar.

The ultimate outcome in both human and pet children, is someone you can happily spend time with, who knows how you live your life and how they fit into your world, and is happy in your company.

And who doesn’t poop on the carpet.

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