Some Days Are Just Crazy Like That!
My sixteen month old daughter woke up this morning like a race horse coming out of the gate. She is full of energy and is giving her all to her tasks of the moment, which seem to include finding every way possible to get into mischief. From the moment she woke up, I could see that we were all in for quite a wild ride.
Since some days with kids are just crazy like that, and we also live with four wonderful dogs, I have to have a plan. I want to be prepared to keep everyone safe, happy, and comfortably entertained. Keeping in mind a key component to training, I want to focus on the behaviors I do want and not spend my day focused on correcting undesirable or unsafe behaviors with the dogs or with the baby. I want the dogs and the baby to continue to have positive associations with one another.
On a day like today, when the baby has wild and crazy notions of taking over the household, I try to make smart choices for all of us. Therefore, my dogs are happily and safely working on stuffed KONGS behind a baby gate, away from mischievous minds. The dogs can see us, hear us, and be with us, without being in the line of fire. My daughter does not have a chance to practice unwanted or unsafe behaviors with the dogs, nor they with her.
Our dogs are not just “like” family. They are our family. I look after their well-being, both mentally and physically, probably better than I do my own. They are incorporated into every aspect of our daily lives, including sleeping, watching TV, walks, play, vacations, etc. My daughter interacts with our dogs on a daily basis. Every interaction is highly supervised and managed to keep everyone safe and happy, with positive feelings flowing both ways.
While she is a very smart, happy, and well behaved little girl (for the most part), I cannot expect my 16 month old to be the perfect child. Her behavior is going to be wild and crazy at times. That’s part of being a toddler. Her interactions with our dogs are not always going to be positive, but I can do things to make sure that we continue down a happy road as a “mixed” family of two and four legged animals.
I want dogs and human to live happily and safely together in our house, so I make a choice every day to manage behavior the best way possible for us. I don’t want to constantly correct undesirable behaviors. I want to focus on the positive behaviors, because I know that where I put my energy and attention is what I accentuate. So, when some days are just crazy like that, I choose to give the dogs a fun, safe place to be with their KONGS, and my daughter gets to be a toddler without ruining the beautiful relationships we work so hard to build.
Written by Laura Clawson, Educator with Family Paws Parent Education (FPPE) and Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT)
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