Those of you that know me will sometimes see me walking with my big beautiful dog around the local parks in Uttoxeter or Ashbourne.
This giant of a dog, who is highly trained also comes to some of my pre-school music groups and the toddlers (and parent’s too) watch in wonder at her size.
For me, I have total faith in her, simply because to get the best from her, I know I have to be gentle, to be kind, to reward and praise her when she does as she is told.
She watches intensely at me, waiting for the next command. She understands my body language, and sometimes I only have to stand up straight, or merely nod my head ever so slightly, and she knows straight away what I want her to do.
I try for the most part to be calm with her, and to be patient.
Something I noticed yesterday was a couple in the park with their dog and whilst sitting on a bench the owner was throwing the ball, and the dog was bring it back.
The owner asked the dog to sit, and when the dog refused, the owner shouted loudly at the dog to sit. This naturally frightened the animal.
I guess for me, I contemplated for a moment how training a dog, and training a toddler have things in common. Dogs look at our body language, so do babies and toddlers. Dogs respond best when they are trained by being treated gentle, get rewards and praise, and know from just a nod what you want them to do. Funnily enough, small children are just the same.
I know we can’t be perfect parents all the time, and sometimes our toddlers will drive us crazy, (even if they usually behave perfectly in my music groups) but maybe we need to take a step back sometimes and realise shouting is not the answer.