*this piece was written in the summer of 2015 when i spent the month of august with my god dog, oliver. this is just one of our amazing experiences together.*
i saw something today that reminded me, once again, of the similarities between raising children and raising puppies/dogs.
ollie and i were sitting at a cafe’ by the artzuid, the local art walk, and noticed a little girl climbing all over one of the sculptures (oh, i’m glad the artist didn’t see it).
her dad rushed up and removed her immediately. he was dutch, and said something to her in their language. he wasn’t harsh. he was very calm. i think he said something like “off.” i did not hear the word “no.”
“no” is pretty universal, and i am certain i would have recognized it.
once he removed her and placed her on the ground (she was about five), she had a temper tantrum, flailing her arms about. but he stayed cool and calm and completely ignored her.
everyone did actually (she was with 5-6 other people). after about 20 seconds of this, she noticed something happening in the distance. fake rubber/foam blocks for the kids to throw around. they could even hit each other with them, without getting hurt. she darted over there and started playing a more appropriate game (redirecting herself).
a few minutes later, i saw her dad walk up to her and plant a huge kiss on her cheek. she then kissed him right back. she was not upset, angry, crying. she was calm and sweet, and it was quite lovely.
the climbing on the sculpture probably could have been prevented, if managed better (just like we manage puppies by keeping temptation out of their way). but once it happened, it would have been unfair to punish her for climbing up on the sculpture as i doubt she realized it was off limits.
she’s five, and it looked like a huge mickey mouse. if i was a kid i would think it was fair game.
i doubt her parents told her, “whatever you do, don’t jump on mickey.”
anyway, she learned, in a healthy way. nothing harsh. just calm and cool. for that, it sure looks like her relationship with her dad remains loving.
this is exactly how we need to handle our puppies/dogs.
ps i highly recommend visiting amsterdam. a great city for kids and dogs.