Dogs and kids:
- respond much better to praise for doing the right thing than to punishment for doing something wrong. The trainer that we're working with taught us to say "yes" every time he does something right, and I'm amazed at how he responds to that, even when I don't have a treat. He also gets praise as soon as he self-corrects any misbehavior.
- need to trust you all of the time and have fun around you much of the time. We've had our puppy for just about a month now, and we're starting to see that he trusts us and is excited to see us even more than other people he meets. I'm excited to see how our relationship builds over the course of the next year and beyond.
- thrive on a predictable, consistent routine. Just like my kids remind me when I forget that it's time for recess, my dog reminds me when it's time to go for a walk.
- learn best when you chunk big tasks into smaller tasks. Often, they need some think time to process an instruction. (I can see that he's thinking, "Sit... I know I've heard that before... What does it mean? Oh, yeah!" Pestering him by saying "Sit... sit... sit... sit!" only stresses him out.) They need to practice lots of repetitions before they master a skill. And then they need immediate feedback.
- can get themselves into lots of trouble when they're bored. You should see my living room floor right now.
- sometimes ask to go to the bathroom just because they're bored. It can be hard to tell whether or not they really need to go, but it's best to just let them go if there's any doubt.
- will do anything for food. Period. Enough said.