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How We Teach & What We Expect: Toddler vs Puppy

Did you know that your dog's cognitive ability is somewhere in line with a 3 year old child?

And, this is information based on adult dogs... not puppies.

What are you doing for your 3 year old child to help them understand the world around them? To keep them safe? At any point in time do you scold your 3 year old because "they should know better"? Do you have expectations that a 3 year old child should behave a certain way?

For our human children, we tend to change our environments to keep them safe and out of trouble. Keep in mind that this is someone who is the same species as us, will soon learn our language and that we often do a much research as possible to make sure we are doing the right things to help this baby feel safe, help them learn, encourage them to try new things that will help them later in life. And more.

Now take a puppy...

When our young puppies ...

  • potty on the floor (because we missed them telling us they need to go or because we haven't paid very close attention to when they normally need to go),

  • grab a shoe (that we forgot to put away and out of reach),

  • chew items they shouldn't have (because we failed to provide an adequate option for our puppies sore gums),

  • nip at the kids (because we haven't taught our children how to properly interact with puppy or because we weren't supervising the interactions to see puppy getting overwhelmed)

When these things happen, puppy tends to get in trouble.

Puppy should know better.

We seek out training to change puppy's behavior, but don't take a moment to understand what we need to change.

So much of the problem behaviors that we see from our puppies are due to us not knowing better. And if we don't know better, then we can't do better.

Puppies, nor adult dogs, understand or language - our social "supposed to"s & "shoulds".

Yet this is what many pet owners expect.

Its an amazing journey to be able to share our lives with such wonderful creatures. But we owe it to them to learn more about how to make their worlds easier to learn in. We owe it to them to learn how to "speak dog" rather than expecting they learn the MUCH more complicated human ways.

Even so, our puppies and dogs study us. Intently.

They use the information they have to learn how to interact with us. But the information they get from us is in our behavior, is in our body language, not our words or our language


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