Want to raise a kid? Practice on a pooch

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Getting on Staten Island ferry the other morning I heard this girl’s mother telling her and her brother to get up off the floor about 15 times. Then she said “get up or I will punch your lights out.” The girl got up. The boy didn’t. So he got hit. But he didn’t get up. Instead he lay down on the floor crying.

little girl on ferry

I thought: This is very bad dog training.

Dogs are so resilient, but had she treated the wrong dog this way, a dangerous animal could’ve been easily created. And the desired behavior might not have even been trained (her methods only worked on one of the kids).

I’ve been accused of being someone who has a hammer and therefore thinks everything is a nail. But I can’t help but wonder if a bit of education about how to teach a dog using the most basic principles of positive reinforcement training could help a parent like this deal with a kid in a way that is less likely to produce an angry sociopath.

Dog trainers practice their skills by training chickens. Might parents be wise to practice their parenting skills on ultra-loving non-verbal creatures who will never grow up to shoot up strangers in public places? There’s more room for failure. And a lot of room for fun along the way.


One Response

  1. Johnice Reid

    November 11, 2013 4:42 pm

    I take offense to the use of "practice" as far too many dogs are experiments for homes where the lack of understanding in dog training is absent after house breaking if that! I would feel sooooo much better if the emphasis was placed on RESEARCH, observing training classes, and several sessions of pet sitting for a friend before adopting a dog. So many dogs are sent to shelters or abandoned because the commitment was not clearly understood.


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