Friday, June 26, 2015

Everything I Know I Learned In Puppy School

Even though it's been three summers since our last class, I got another memory jog today about puppy school.  Turns out, I use it daily.

Only, not always on the dog.

We live next door to a dog trainer.  I mean, her agility classes are right next door.  So when my daughter was little (say, six) I would send her over to watch the classes.  Hey, it got her out of my hair and the trainer didn't mind one little bit (since she only had boys, the interested girl was a welcome change of pace).  The kid would then come home and attempt to agility train our antique flat coated retriever.  The dog was very patient with the kid's not so patient.

Fast forward a couple years when we got our first schnauzer.  We did the right thing by taking him to puppy school.  Here, we learned the standard commands that have carried me through parenthood and teacherhood (no that's not a word).

Let's start with the basic commands.

Sit.  Wanna know how many times I say that in a classroom?  Or the dinner table.  Even to the surly
Teenager? ("Sit, AT the dinner table.")  Give me a dollar for every time and I could retire to Roatan.  On the waterfront.

Stay.  This is one I use on the Teenager on a regular basis.  At a basketball game where she is in the band and we are in the audience and we have to meet up at the end of the game for transportation purposes.  Stay.  This one is used in conjunction with Sit in the classroom.

See.  Leave it.
Leave It.  More common than you think.  The next time your kid walks past the cookie jar, think about what you say to them.  Now replace it with "leave it".  See.

Come.  Okay, in public I don't use this one, but the premise is clear.  Occasionally I should use "come" rather than the standard "get your ass over here".  I wonder which one would get fewer glares?

Easy.  Ever try to give a cookie to a toddler?  Same thing as giving a dog a steak.  Or a teenager a $20 bill. When you would like to keep your hand, this is what you say.

Wait.  Over and over and over.  To teenagers and students.  And parents.

This one isn't a verbal command, but a standard none-the-less.  Consistency.  When you are walking with the dog, the dog is always on the left side.  Always.  And the dog is not permitted to cross in front of you or behind you or anywhere but the left side.  It's a consistent pattern that you both know and you are both comfortable with and it's routine.  Same with raising a kid.  When you walk into the store and the toddler walks out with nothing, they will not expect to walk out with anything next time.  Let the toddler have a candy bar once, and they will expect it the next time.  And the next.  And the next.  We had a phrase with our Strong Willed Toddler:  Do It Once, Do It Forever.

It's been three years since I've had to go to puppy school (although the schnauzer's "stay" is something that should probably be updated/implemented more often), but with the possibility of a new puppy looming, I'm a step ahead of the game.  I already know the commands.  Although ask any dog trainer and they will point-blank tell you:

"I'm not training the dog, I'm training you."


  1. I wish I had trained the hubby more during puppy class... Thanks for sharing with the Homestead Blog Hop!

  2. Ha! Funny how these can be used in so many areas of our lives... lol.

    Yes, consistency is key and the root of parenting success. Our children need to know what to expect from us... otherwise all those "commands" are useless.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely week.

  3. Okay, that is pretty much the funniest thing I have read all day!

  4. Well, since the bloomin' kid didn't come with an instructor, and the dog did, it's the best I can do.