Saturday, February 25, 2006

Training the Crumpet

Big A's mom (who was also a nursery school teacher for many moons) likes to say that the instructions in the pet-training manual Good Dog Bad Dog are pretty good for training kids, too.

Yesterday Big A noticed that the child care section in the local bookstore has a dog training book prominently displayed at the end of the bookcase. Perhaps her mom isn't the only one who thinks dog training and kid training go hand in hand.

With Crumpet looking on a bit nervously, Big A opened up How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend, by the Monks of New Skete. To paraphrase, the monks think that praising your pet shouldn't be seen as a reward, but as a normal, everyday part of your warm relationship with your dog. Okay, makes sense. Don't want to dole out praise to the Crumpet only to reward her for very good behavior.

The Monks: Treats should be given to reinforce the quick learning of good behaviors, not as incentive for all good behavior. Big A: Hmmm. This is like giving money to kids, right?

The Monks: To train your dog to sleep quietly in your room, you may have to tie the dog to the foot of your bed. Big A: Alas, this probably won't get the results desired with the Crumpet, who refuses to sleep in her bassinet and yells her head off every time Da Mao and Big A lay her down there. Perhaps it's time to move on to The Baby Whisperer Solves All Problems.

(Crumpet silently heaved a sigh of relief, then fell asleep. After all, she's not in her bassinet.)


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