I’m watching the Dog Whisperer and I have to say, this show really gives me hope as a parent. Do you know why? At the beginning of the program, they show these dogs with all these issues – barking, biting, misbehavior of all types. These dogs just seem so out of control and completely hopeless, you wonder how Cesar is ever going to be able to get them under control. But sure enough, Cesar comes on the scene and with a few simple techniques, the dog just turns around and starts behaving totally differently, literally in minutes.
How the Dog Whisperer is like a very good parent
Yes, I know this is Hollywood and they script the show. I’m sure they don’t show the failures, or the ones that don’t fit the pattern of the show. I’m not that naïve, but you can tell that there is an element of truth in his methods. And obviously, he gets results with these dogs in a LOT of cases. That’s why he’s famous.
It goes without saying that kids are a lot more complicated than dogs. But it’s been shown time and time again that some very simple techniques work for both people and animals. I view my pets as the equivalent of about a 2 or 3 year-old toddler and “parent” them accordingly. And I hope I was an equally good parent to my sons as they were growing up.
The key seems to be respect, discipline, a genuine caring, setting boundaries and a sense of purpose or accomplishment. When I watch shows like Wife Swap and Nanny 911 – it’s really interesting to see how the kids respond totally differently to someone with a different philosophy and a completely different parenting approach.
“The key seems to be respect, discipline, a genuine caring, and a sense of purpose or accomplishment.”
One of my favorite books is called “Influencer – the Power to Change Anything” (read it – it’s great!). They talk about a real place called Delancy Street in San Francisco that has taken thousands of hard-core prisoners and reformed them completely using some very simple techniques centered around trust, purpose, and accountability. Now these people are running productive businesses in the community and living completely changed lives.
You just wonder if they took some of these kids that are in trouble, in juvenile hall or whatever and approached sort of like a kid whisperer and gave them that respect and responsibility, and had the expectation that they could do the right thing and could make the positive changes, I think you’d see a big difference in them in a short time.
So, if you have a kid who is showing some problem behaviors, how can you approach them differently to get a different response? How can you stop butting heads with them and get a dialogue going? I dunno – maybe you need to go and watch some episodes of the Dog Whisperer and see how you can apply them to your parenting techniques.
Our kids are so precious to us and we want so badly to give them a good life, I think you want to just keep trying until you find what works, and if listening to a dog trainer is the way to go, don’t be too proud to try it. Anything that might make a difference to a troubled kid or a struggling family is well worth trying.