Parenting Skills for Dog and Child

As my husband and I both approach the age of 40, we find ourselves in an interesting, and in our social circle dwindling, demographic of child-free couples. Most of our friends have joined the ranks of working couples juggling both kids and pets. We are often in awe of them as they multi-task the care, feeding, education, health, and happiness of canine, felines, along with their two-legged kids.

The relationship between parenting children and dogs seems, in some respects, quite similar. I find it fascinating that most of my clients and friends that had well behaved dogs coincidentally also have well behaved kids. Quite often, I can predict how my sessions will go with a client when I meet their children.

When I consult with young families struggling with new puppy/dog management issues, I try to help them tap into all the skills that they use in managing their kids. Structure and consistency are absolutely necessary, along with patience, patience, patience. Many times I've seen the lights go on in parents eyes once they understand that the puppy cannot figure it all out on their own and that they must give them guidance and support not unlike they would with their child.

At the same time, I encourage people to respect the distinct differences between raising a dog and a child. A dog is a wonderful addition to a family, but a dog is not a child with fur. A basic understanding of dog behavior and training is so helpful for every family and sets the stage for a successful life together.