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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.

Our dog Joe wants Cesar to come visit, especially if he brings TREATS!


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.

Here are some other parenting posts you might enjoy:

Highly Effective Strategies for your Disorganized or ADHD Child

4 Tips to Help Adult Kids Manage Their Money

Our Teens are Exhausted How to Get Them More Sleep

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11 Comments on The Dog Whisperer gives me Hope for Parenting

    • I hear ya. Dog training is not one of my strengths. We’ve had a couple of good ones, but most of them have been nightmares! I need to study Cesar if we ever get another dog.

  1. Adrian,

    You are funny comparing training a dog and parenting but not to far from the truth. Not engaging when a teen wants to engage and argue is a good one! As a friend said don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole, it works. State your intentions and appropriate wants, and leave. It is amazing what their conscious does when left to think.

    Insanity = Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!!!

    Love this post.

  2. Found you through SITS and poked around a bit- LOVED this post, as both a dog owner and a parent, I think you are on to something. I also think that Nanny 911 (or Caesar) can work because they look at the problem through a fresh set of eyes. In life in general, that can help to gain insight to any problem as well!

  3. Sometimes we find parenting inspiration from unlikely sources….it’s good to be open to new ideas and why not consider those from Cesar?

    Over from SITS!

  4. Cesar is amazing! And I think you are right about parenting being similar in many ways…I am going to check out that book!

  5. Great post! It is true – he is amazing with dogs. I think the key to remember is to be patient & consistent. I stopped by from the SITS.
    Have a great Saturday!
    Joanne

  6. that is a great post…and very true. Often I have to stop and think how I am going to go about parenting or disciplining my son to make it truly effective. what do I expect of him.

    Happy Saturday!

  7. Wonderful parallel. I think you’re absolutely correct. And we need to be willing to change things up and try something new for each child, sometimes each situation. Parenting is definitely not one size fits all.

    Stopping by from SITS. Have a lovely weekend.

  8. I love this article. So many parents struggle with their kids (shows like nanny 911 are indicative if something likely of likely epidemic proportions in America). I think parents often struggle so much to be liked and loved that they forget to mentor and discipline.

    In that way, Cesar teaches us what is important: love, respect, and boundaries supported by a healthy dose of communication (which perfectly aligns with accountability and with continuing to grow love and respect while clarifying those boundaries). Absolutely amazing post. 🙂

    Visiting from SITS.
    Heather @ Exalted Peacock

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