Monastic Mom

Walking the dog — getting a new leash on life.

We have a dog — a large dog.  He's always been a rambunctious, overly excitable, hard to handle, obedience school flunkee dog. Smile Top it off with the fact that I'm not really a dog person.  It's been a bad mix from the beginning.  My ex-husband wanted the kids to have a dog and promised to help care for it.Laughing  Still a dog should be walked more than once or twice a week when Dad comes to visit.  But I've resented the task because it has been more of dog dragging person than walk. Smile The kids don't have the strength to control him at all.  And if he runs free without any guidance, he just goes wild and gets into all sorts of trouble.

Obedience school recommended a choke collar — something that really goes against my grain.  But I tried it.  The fact that he was being half choked, did nothing to slow him down.  Seemed the harder I pulled back the harder he pulled forward.  We tried all the training routines of trying to turn around when he pulls one way.  Nothing worked.  Someone told me that they have new choke collars with studs to bite into the dog — no way will I try that inhumane treatment.   But then my cousin came to visit me and told me of a collar called a "Gentle Leader"  fits around the snout and back of the head.   The dog pulls forward, the head gets turned gently sideways (You never jerk on the leash, just hold firmly.) and since a dog follows his nose...    Within minutes the dog is walking gently beside me. I can now hold the leash with one finger and walk the dog.  Wow, incredible!  Even better, now the kids can walk the dog! Smile The brochure that comes with the leash tells how it works with the nature of the dog. Regular dog collars feed into a dog's natural tendency to pull against it.  (Think of sled dogs.)  

So what does all this have to do with parenting?  Well, think about it....

When your child (particularly teen) wants to pull forward away from you, is your parenting style a choke collar or a "Gentle Leader"?  How can we work with the natural tendancies of our children to guide gently and not choke or let them run wild?  

© 1996-2013 Family Dharma Connections