Monday, May 25, 2015

Dog Therapy, Responsibility, and Life Learning

Two months ago, my two oldest children bought their own puppy after saving for quite awhile.  They chose the breed and the breeder. They did extensive research into breeds as well as what dogs need, differences in temperament, pros and cons.

They are in charge of feeding and walking him. They agreed upon a name: Thunder.

For the first month, Thunder slept in my son's bed while he adjusted to his new home.

My children are watching videos of Cesar Millan and dog training. They are learning the concept of being a "pack leader" and using calm and assertive discipline.

It is not all easy, but it is a great adventure in learning how to be responsible.

This was all their initiative. They are the ones who wanted a puppy badly enough.  Getting a new family member was not at the top of our priority lists, but given their persistence and seriousness, we decided to give them the opportunity to "earn" their shared pup, with the expectation that they would take care of him.

So far so good.  Fingers Crossed.  This is not to say, I do not help, or have to remind them to feed the dog.  I also have helped guide them with the crate training, and I give the dog walks too, especially the evening ones.

This dog was not meant to be an indulgence for them, however, but a teaching tool, a comfort, a friend, a responsibility.

My kids want to become breeders one day.  We are learning a great deal.

Cesar Millan's  calm assertive way of working with animals is also a great model for parenting as well, and my children are also learning and practicing this style of leadership now while they are young.

On so many levels this is a fantastic learning opportunity and a great catalyst for unschooling for them.


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