Discipline Needs to Begin Early

Discipline a puppy to learn disciplining of children

Discipline and puppies? Is there a lesson for parents? I spent Christmas in the home of one of my children. A grandson has a new German shepherd nine-week-old puppy. Although most of the duties are handled by my grandson, the entire family pitches in with the training efforts.  My daughter explained that there are two approaches to training dogs (much like two popular methods of training children). One is based on positive reinforcement only. The other method uses correction and making sure the puppy knows who’s in control. The entire family committed to being consistent in their expectations.

Checking the Boundaries

Buddy is constantly checking the boundaries. “Am I allowed to chew on this basket?” “Can I nip at the leg of my master?” “Do I really have to go outside to potty?” Buddy is much like a two-year-old child – full of energy and with endless ways to defy the rules.

Child Discipline Much Like Training a Puppy

I was struck by the similarities between training a puppy and training a child. The two major approaches are similar. Puppies and children constantly test the boundaries. Consistency is crucial for both, and everyone involved in the training should be committed to that consistency.

Consistency is Key

The biggest lesson I learned watching Buddy’s training was the importance (for puppies and children) of early training. Even with all his rambunctious youthfulness, I would rather be training a young pup than a grown dog. The destruction and the puddles are smaller when the one being trained is small!

“Cute” is Hard to Discipline

As you can tell from the picture, his cuteness makes it all the more difficult to enforce discipline. But, isn’t that exactly the way we often feel about our misbehaving children when they are small?

And the ears? We’re pretty sure that won’t be corrected by discipline. Only time will correct the one-up-and-one-down look.

Thanks, Buddy, for the lessons.

What about you? Have your experiences training a pet taught you anything about rearing children?




  1. says

    I love this article and your one about first-time obedience on the Hale Center Insider. I am a big proponent of first-time obedience and feel like it’s so important when teaching our children important values. It also paves the way for a peaceful, loving relationship with your child. You can read more about my writings on first-time obedience (and other parenting concerns) at http://www.ChildwiseChat.com. I have an eBook titled “Live In Harmony with First-Time Obedience” here: http://www.ChildwiseChat.come/eBook. I’d love to hear what you think!

  2. Carole Bell says

    Thank you, Maureen. You have a great website. I have read a lot of Ezzo’s books including the one on teens. The children I know who were raised by his methods have not only been well-mannered, but they have a calmness and peace that is striking.
    What I like about your website is that it provides a forum for parents to hear from each other while they are trying to learn all Ezzo teaches.
    One of my favorites from his books is couch time. I shared that with parents all the time in my counseling.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. You are ministering to lots of parents.

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