What the Dog Taught Me

what-the-dog-taught-me

In the beginning, I wondered who would be potty trained first.  As if that was actually a real question?

Of course the dog would train first.  Dogs are easy.

Children & Husbands are the ones who need a shock collar.

Kidding!

I’ve never actually considered using a shock collar… it’s just a funny notion to think of my husband jetting a jolt.

I first compared ‘training my toddler’ to ‘training a dog‘ the afternoon my two year took an accidental swim in the lake.  She refused to listen as I advised she step away from the water’s edge. Instead she charged forward, lost her footing & slipped into the dark water.  Within an instant, the look of shock on her plump, baby face disapeared beneath the surface.

That moment lives in my mind, frozen still in my memory. While the moments after are a blur of emotions that left me feeling empty & full of guilt. Once we were safely home in a warm bath, I hid my tears.

But Pete would never do something like that!

We added Pete to our family just after Emmaline turned two.  He was just an adorable ball of fluff that rapidly grew into a 70 pound hulk of a dog! We chose the Austrailian Shepard breed because they are well known for being intelligent, attentive dogs that are protective of their family. Originally bred as cattle dogs, these loyal companions thrive when given a job within a household.

australian-shepard-puppy

Things I’ve learned from Pete-the-dog:

  •  Plenty of great life lessons can be build around caring for a pet. For instance,  Pick up your toys or the dog will eat them is a great motivator for clean floors!
  •  Dogs make great playmates.  They don’t talk back and silence is golden.
  •  Cleaning up spills is WAAAY faster with a live-in vacuum cleaner. This was a revelation the first time Em dropped an entire bowl of sticky macaroni on the floor.
  • Emmaline enjoys locking Pete in his crate & reading to him.  I hope she remembers this as fondly as I do when she’s older. It’s pretty cute but I don’t have a great photo of it yet.
  • The dog would do anything to protect Emmaline. His natural instinct is to ‘heard livestock‘ so we taught him to ‘find the baby‘. We let her run & send Pete to go catch her.  They can play this game for hours.
  •  A smart dog is relatively easy to train but you must always remember ‘YOU ARE THE BOSS’ or you might find them taking advantage of you. This rule definitely applies to children as well!
  • Developing an ‘Alpha Voice’ is important for getting your dog AND children to listen to your commands. I practiced on the dog & it got easier with the kid!
  •  Don’t teach your dog to chase the ‘orange cat’ that pees on the bushes. Now he gets fired up anytime a cat creeps through the backyard.  Often it’s in the middle of the night & his bark jolts me from my sleep. I guess that’s karma.
  •  Pete is convinced the mailman, UPS & FedEx drivers are all plotting against us.

coppertone-baby-with-pupaussie-dog

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