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he wins this round

This afternoon while walking with me in the woods Rascal decided that he didn't, in fact, want to walk with me; he actually wanted to run the other way. Being a direct sort of dog, he scarcely entertained the thought before putting it into action. He used to do that sort of thing a lot as a puppy (you know, until he was four years old or so) but he's been better about it lately, so I just called after him a couple times and waited for him to come the right way. Nothing. So I had to go after him.

Of course, he was waiting just out of sight to see if I would come, and when he saw me he trotted right off again. Since it was right around sunset I decided that I'd avoid the battle of wills and just go his way, and we had a perfectly good walk. He even let me catch up to him eventually. But I have to admit I felt a little bad about it from a parenting standpoint. As a parent (puppy parenting counts too) I feel like I should be consistent in setting limits and, at least when the children are capable, let them handle sticking to those limits themselves. It's better for Rascal, that is, to know that I'm going to be walking my way and he can sniff where he wants for a while but will have to turn around in the end.

To worry too much about them, in other words, is to give kids (and puppies) too much power in a situation where they actually shouldn't have power. If Harvey and I are leaving the house, he needs to get his coat and boots on (oh, summer can't come soon enough!) and, while I'll obviously help him with dressing I don't want to chase him around with his winter gear or try and make him happy if he's not pleased with the getting ready. Since it's almost always the case that he actually wants to go out, it's enough to get myself ready and open the door to get him motivated.

Of course, I can go too far with that attitude. That's why we have Mama to hold up the other end of the balance, with the loving and the nurturing and whatnot. We make a good team. But this time I was all alone with Rassie, it was getting dark, and it was time for us to have dinner. Plus, he really wanted to go that way. Let the kids win a few is a good rule too.


I sense that ALL of your children are/will be damn fortunate to have you both! Well thought out and written Dan.

Aw, thanks! In a couple years we'll ask Harvey how fortunate he feels. As I understand from more experienced parents, the answer to that question changes from year to year...

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