First it was the business section. Now my hallowed Sunday New York Times has gone and sullied the front page of the STYLES section with more of that press that Mr. Milan, he of the Dog Whisperer fame, seems to garner — this time crediting him with Child Whispering!
To his credit Mr. Milan never does not formally or publicly opine about teaching child rearing — focusing on his dog training methods of discipline and his trinity of Exercise, Discipline and Affection equals happiness and the gist of the Business Section article a few weeks ago — keeps him plenty busy.
But he does admit that as a native of Mexico he adheres to a more traditional, hierarchical child-rearing philosophy. He’s quoted in the NY Times as saying, “for thousands of years, the elder has always been the pack leader, it’s never the child. In America, kids have too many options when they only need one: ‘Just do it because.'”
I wholeheartedly agree that there are many parallels to parenting children and dogs but there are also differences — on so many levels — starting with a more contemporary awareness of human development than just adhering to thousands of years of the traditional Mexican child rearing approach — and a more scientifically proven awareness of dog development. This is where to begin to parse out that both young, tween and teenage dogs and people really don’t want to be pushed on the neck, sshhhttted at or grounded without electronic privileges.
Children and pups do crave benevolent leadership in their caretakers — and clear clues on what to do and how to earn rewards. And when it can be learned and applied that either or both journeys can be a sparkly one.
I navigate between the flotsam and jetsam of 3 active daughters, 3 dogs and 3 cats. Every day I get to fulfill my bliss helping others learn how to navigate their own course in pet training. There is a chaotic but lilting harmony enhanced by the need to frequently wrangle dust bunnies that illustrates just how satisfying my own journey has been and continues to be. And while I could sure use some better discipline about getting more exercise, here at Camp A Better Pet we all get and give lots of affection.