Dog training is the new parenting: we knew that!

dog obedience picMy mom just read me an article from today’s New York Times. Apparently parents are beginning to recognize and heed the wisdom of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. Cesar says, “Be confident and assertive around your dog. Be consistent.”

Like, yeah. Children like structure. Dogs do too.

“Remember the Susan Conant murder mysteries about dogs?” my mom asked. “Conant’s heroine, Holly Winter, used to joke that Harvard was an inferior obedience school.”

Well, of course I don’t remember. My mom keeps forgetting that I can’t read.

As a dog, though, I have to say we’re pretty flexible. When Cathy adopted her First Dog, the saintly Keesha, she read that dogs need routine. So she took Keesha out morning and evening. Somehow Keesha managed to communicate the need for a noon walk.

Eventually Cathy caught on. (She was a lifetime cat owner, so Keesha gave her a break.) She realized that dogs don’t tell time. So when she comes home and we’ve been in our crate, we want to go out. When she goes out, we need to get that last walk before we retreat into our crates. I myself might need as many as five walks a day.

That’s dog training. Cathy is now a well-trained owner.

OK, to be fair, Cathy the mom has a lot of rules for me. When I’m on her bed, I to stay on my cushion. In the living room I have my spot. And we have rules for walking on leash, like “No pulling when we see a squirrel.” We’re still negotiating on that one.

My mom added her own commentary to this article. She watched a youtube video about prisoners who train dogs. One of the prisoners (who, she says, is wiser than the most legal systems in the world) pointed out the obvious.

“With dogs,” she said, “we show them what to do. We try to avoid correction in the first place, rather than wait till they do something wrong and then punish them. And when a dog misbehaves, a wise owner looks for physical health problems first. Why, asked this inmate, don’t we do the same for people?”

Like, duh. Humans aren’t always the superior species. I’m off for a new nap. While I’m sleeping away my Sunday, maybe you could leave a comment below?

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