Training Huxton has given me occasion to reflect on parenting. Unlike how I raise my kids, I really didn't question how I was going to train Hux. I just jumped in and did what felt right and effective, I worked with him the way I had seen my dad work with our dogs growing up. And I'm happy to say that he's doing awesome! He's not a perfect dog, but I think he's well on his way to becoming a very happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved member of the family. What more could I ask? In fact, that's about what I want for my kids too, and I realized that a lot of what I'm doing with the dog, I could and should be doing with my kids!
- I'm always excited to see Hux. I never want him to feel like he has to run away if he's been naughty. And when he's in danger I want to make sure it's easy to get him to run to me. Shouldn't this be my goal with the kids? To always speak in kind tones and show them how excited I am to be with them? To be a safe place, the first place they run when in danger?
- I remove temptation and create environments where he can succeed. I give him good alternatives to bad habits (Hux, shoes are not for you. Here, chew this bone. Good boy!)
- Instead of getting mad when he's naughty and yelling at him for bad behavior, I simply remove him from the situation. Too much biting or crazy barking and he has a little time out, but no one gets upset. I so need to remember this with my kids. I may not be able to change their behavior, but I can change their enviroment (i.e. by inviting them to visit their room if they're crazy at the dinner table, for example.)
- I spend time on relationship building. Lots and lots of play!
- I don't expect perfection, but we do a lot of practicing of things that I eventually want him to be pretty perfect on: walking nicely on a leash, taking a bath without freaking out, sitting politely when he meets people etc.