What have your pets taught you about parenting?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by InsaneCdn, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This has been an on-going discussion for some time in real life, thought I'd throw it out here also.

    Pets in some ways are a bit like difficult children - some more so than others. But with pets, we have more limited methods of communication.

    In having success with the pets, it has affected our parenting style...

    One story:
    The dog trainer drilled into our brains that you have to catch them doing what you want them to do, and then reward it quickly.

    Ahhh... <mini light-bulb moment>
    How often do we take for granted the little things difficult child does right? and only focus on what is wrong? If that approach doesn't work for dogs... it probably doesn't work for kids either.

    <dog trainier was right... and it helps with kids too>

    What's your story?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well this won't be popluar here because my dogs aren't difficult children like my son.....but sometimes, it's more effective to show affection and love to my dogs than to discipline them. I often wonder how well it would have worked if I'd tried this with my son more....but then, I have little lap dogs, not big dogs, and my dogs don't ever have to grow up and live ITRW!!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmm. This may be hard for me. I parent my dogs the way I did my kids. lol Seemed to work ok for both sets for the most part.

    Although in some ways Betsy can be classified as a difficult child due to the fact when she was a pup and young dog I was a full time student with no spare time to train her properly. She has most manners down, but a few she's stubborn about. Like jumping up for attention.......and it IS for attention. She is a mega love dog and would be glued to me 24/7 if given the chance. If she'd stop being difficult child jealous over Molly that would be possible.

    I don't look at animals as "animals". They're just different types of people to me. (It's been established that I'm a tad weird) I mean I'm the lady that had a long conversation with Mrs Raccoon explaining to her she could enjoy my trash as long as she didn't make a mess of it. So far, she never has.

    I talk to them like people. If they can't understand me, they've as yet to let on. Same way I talk to kids......even babies. I don't talk at them, I talk to them.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Does it tell you anything that I referred to toilet training as housebreaking? I'm much more used to being around animals.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I hate to admit this but I think I'm a lot more patient and tolerant now with my dogs than I ever was with my kids! Of course, when the kids were little, I was in a much worse place - in a horrible marriage, constant money problems, stress levels off the charts.

    Now the kids are grown, I'm on my own and getting by financially, I don't have to worry about work anymore ... I'm just a grandma in a house with four dogs! I'm another one that talks to the dogs like they were people. I say "please" and "thank you" and occasionally, "I'm sorry" if it's called for. We have regular conversations and they love to be talked to. And they are very eager to please (in sharp contrast to the way the kids usually were). But for the most part, I've learned that they are who they are and I'm not going to change that. What I can change is the way I react to it. Nothing drastic, no horribly bad totally unacceptable behaviors, more just annoying things. For instance, Katy has her beloved red ball and the minute I leave the room she will climb up on the back of the sofa and play with it. It's usually nasty and spitty and she goobers up the sofa and even the wall with it! For five years I've tried to make her stop doing that ... she does it anyway. I could get mad at her and yell at her and get myself all upset, but she will do it anyway! So now when I catch her up there I just tell her to get down and she does! And then I tell her "thank you"! And as soon as I leave the room, she will get up there again! And Freebie, my big dog, is going to bark every time a leaf falls off a tree in the yard. And she does NOT like strangers and will bark and bark and bark... For twelve years I've tried to make her stop and she won't. Her behaviors are out of fear and probably come from when she was dumped and abandoned as a puppy. It's so ingrained in her, there's no way she will change. It's part of who she is. So I just make allowances for her and get on with it. It's sort of like the serenity prayer ... change what you can, accept what you can't change, and know the difference between the two. I wish I had known that when the kids were little!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  6. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    The dogs have taught me that my children's diapers were a lot more appetizing than their poop. My H is in charge of the dogs' toileting and he lets them go all over the house. When these dogs die, there will be NO more because he can't be bothered to put them on a leash and walk them. And before anyone gets their dander up, I did not want dogs in the first place and H swore he would take care of the poop part. I refuse to walk them because it is not part of my deal. I don't enjoy spending time with them and they scare me. When I'm home alone, I either cage them or lock myself in my room. What having dogs has taught me is that I was a wimp and an idiot to agree to them. on the other hand, I LOVE my cat!
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My dander isn't up. Untrained, un managed dogs are difficult at best to be around, let alone live with. Made worse by the fact you didn't really want them in the first place. The pooing in the house with husband not taking them out to go would be a listing to give them up for adoption with scheduled pick up time to be when he's not at home. That I couldn't handle and I adore dogs.

    Nichole adopted a kitten from the pound once. Sweetest cat in the world. But we got him at maybe 3-4wks as the pound was full of sick cats and they wanted him adopted out before he got sick. He never used the litter box. Instead he chose every corner in the house. Now I put up with it only long enough that he was old enough and the weather was nice for him to be weaned to the outside. Then he became a full time outside cat. Sweet or not, my house is not a toilet. Heck, I have issues with the litter box and Bruce always goes in it no matter what. (he will be my last indoor cat)

    What is it with dogs and diapers anyway? Molly never did it, ever. But I've had dogs that were determined to go after them every darn time.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    There's no comparison, really. My dog is surely the most well-behaved on the planet. I have never heard her bark, she comes the second I call her, she hesitates on the doorstep waiting until I call her before she will come in the house after a walk, she will not touch anything she should not... She is endlessly patient with my son's sometimes overly rough play and always affectionate and eager to please. She was clearly beautifully trained by the previous owner. What has she taught me about parenting? That any idiot can love a easy child - it takes special mettle and distinction to love a difficult child :)
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    ]Having dogs reinforced for me that it's genetic/biological. We didn't parent our dogs differently (well, except for pcs pup) and I didn't parent the girls differently----until it became necessary!

    Sophie is our dog difficult child, Nala is our dog easy child, and Izzy a mix of both.

    Having pets also made me realize that perhaps I should've just had dogs (mine are the itty-bitty kind too)!
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I've never been a dog person. I've had cats all my life - one dog at age 9, then another when I got together with husband. Neither were "normal" dogs.

    Well trained.

    Honestly - a snuggle will cure a lot. Cats can be very demanding.

    Let's see... Make sure they have food, water and a clean toilet. Teach them to use said toilet properly. Show them the proper behavior and reward them often when they show it - praise in the right tone of voice is just as good as a treat. Love them.

    Dogs? Well, Bubbles thinks he's a cat, so...
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Having had two abused dogs, I've gone through a lot of obedience training. Despite that, I have to agree with-some others here that it is much easier to love and put up with-a dog than a difficult child. My expectations are WAY lower with-a dog or cat. They literally walk all over me (cats love to walk on me in bed).
    From the obedience trainer, I learned,
    Keep instructions simple. Don't yak away. Single words, simple commands, high praise.
    Don't repeat, "Sit, sit, sit, sit!" You're just teaching the dog to count. Say it once, make it happen.
    Show, don't tell. Use the words as reinforcements.
    Catch them doing something right. (That's the hardest, but I definitely had a few aha! moments with-my difficult child because of what I learned about this in obedience class. Also, it's so hard to praise them when you want to kick them into orbit.)
    Routine is very important.
    Hugs and praise count for a lot.
    If they can't interact with-other housepets, keep them apart, and introduce them a little bit, at intervals. Keep the food dishes in separate rooms. Then put them in the same room, but on opposite sides, and feed only while they are wearing leashes. Hold tight. Slowly, over days, move the dishes closer together. Do not feel like they have to play together. Sometimes, the dynamics just aren't there.

    I know that Dr. John Rosemond hates it when kids are compared to dogs, and training is compared, as well. Personally, I like it!
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...And yelling at a dog or cat doesn't have the effect of making them do what you want them to. In fact, they tend to run away...
  13. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Hound -

    At this stage, I couldn't give them away. They are 11 and 10 years old. Besides, I found out recently that mother in law years ago took H's dog to another county and abandoned it when he was in college. We had always thought the dog ran away. H is still upset and it was more than 30 years ago. As much as he annoys me, I couldn't give away the dogs. The sad/ironic thing is that H has incredible natural ability as a dog trainer. He's trained so many of our neighbors' dogs. It's just laziness or spite against me that makes him do this. He thinks that I will give in and start walking them but it hasn't happened yet. He still hasn't connected the fact that I no longer entertain other than family to the dogs.

    My cats however are perfect. They don't like petting and I don't like to pet them, just look at them.