Do As I Say, Not As I Do

When we got our first Welsh Terrier in 1990, the breeder, who lived in Mankato, was dismayed to find out we were both psychologists, since psychologists, in her experience, were not good at being consistent and structured with their dogs. They allowed too many misbehaviors and were too concerned with the dogs’ feelings.

We now are on our fourth terrier, and I must admit the Mankato breeder has a point. I wonder why it took me 30 years to admit she was right. It has also made me realize that I have too high expectations for the parents I work with to be consistent and structured with their children, and that I can do a better job in helping them do that, rather than roll my eyes over their failed attempts at positive reinforcement. This training stuff is hard!

Terriers are all heart and intellect. Punishment doesn’t work with them. They also need clear rules and limits. Children are the same. One of the first things I noticed with our new dog was our inconsistent message to him about shoes. Husband has a pair of gardening shoes he dislikes, and has allowed our new puppy to chew, shake, and toss them. Now, we both are well trained in behavior theory, and know that it is impossible for our dog to discriminate between shoes we like and shoes we don’t like. This has led to Kyrill raiding our closets for any shoes he can find. All we can do is keep the closet doors shut and praise him when he drops the shoes he has stolen. It is hard to be positive in those situations, rather than angry.

It is often hard to explain to parents how important it is to praise their children where they are rather than punish them for what they fail to do. For example, if the most positive thing you can say to your child is “Thank you for not using the F word at breakfast” then that is where you are. It is hard for for me to praise the dog when he drops something I treasure, rather than yelling at him for stealing it in the first place.

This is the first dog we have had when we weren’t actively parenting children. I think that has made me more aware of what I am doing, rather than doing what was expedient to get things done at home. Live and learn, I guess. We all have feet of clay.

What do you preach but don’t practice? What is hard for you to admit? What new things do you want to learn?

24 thoughts on “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”

  1. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
    Admitting I’m a fat old guy.
    Birding photography so that I can record The Big Month (a Big Year is beyond my means)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    This questions lures True Confessions! My list is pretty long.

    I tell clients not to use devices before bedtime—I play a card game on my iPad for an hour before bed.
    Re: tomatoes—mulch them and trim the suckers. Sometimes I do not do this—the scandal!
    Hard to admit: And, some days I do not walk the dog or let her out enough.
    I do exercise, those. I am re-building my stamina. I am now up to 1/2 hour on the treadmill. I want to get to an hour of walking.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. OT
    Today is VEEP Day. Nixon resigned and Ford became the only person to hold the offices of President and Vice President without ever being elected.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I let the jerks, bullies, drunks, scammers, loudmouths, elective idiots get to me, like last night at game. Even if I don’t respond I get upset with myself for not letting it go. A group behind me got drunker louder and more foul mouthed. I politely asked a woman behind me not to bang on the seat next to me. Off went a man etc etc. I just left. But why did I have to leave? Why do the bullies win?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. For one, I spout all kinds of nutrition information that I rarely follow. I probably give all kinds of advice on stuff I have a limited knowledge about. So many things SEEM like a good idea; but I really should at least TRY them before telling others…

    It’s hard to admit the above.

    I’m signed up this fall for a class at Winona State’s Senior University called Philosophy of Religion. I’ve been fascinated by all the varying beliefs I’ve learned about, and probably should have taken a “World Religions” class before now… to that end I’ve just checked something out form the library.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I wish I knew more about the two humming birds in my garden tonight. They are reveling in the monarda and the cone flowers. I wish I knew where they cam from and where they are going.


  7. Pretty sure there are a bunch of those “preach/practice” things.

    Things I want to learn? I’m on day 820 in a row of my Italian lessons online. Slow going.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi-
    Working as election judge all day. 36% turn out and Dems got more total votes than GOP. So that’s a start.

    Oh, I wish my daughter would just do what I say!!

    Too tired for more. Brain dead.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. you gotta preach what’s right that’s the only way to make progress
    my kids are all better than i am
    i am responsible for that even if it’s only been made available by word not example
    i procrastinate
    work hard instead of smart
    sleep too little interact with my devices too much
    don’t put xs on my calendar for me
    hard to admit i’m slipping a bit
    i’m working on my patience i always say i must have lots of patience left i havnt used any of it today
    started duolingo chinese
    enjoying it need to get better at my to do list
    new franklin planner in my life
    hope it helps

    Liked by 1 person

  10. i see she died in 16
    that’s who i thought i was sending vs to but obviously her legacy studio was missing her as part of the driving force and closed up during the pandemic


  11. That’s so funny that your breeder told you long ago that psychologists wouldn’t make for good dog parents lol!! I chuckled out loud seriously on that one. It made me think about the different pre-marital and now marriage counselors I’ve had. I often wondered how well they were able to put their own advice into practice.

    In any case, you’re so correct about dogs and children. I was once chided by a sister of mine years ago when I compared having a dog to having a child – how many similarities there are and how much it truly seems to be the same. Parents hate when you compare their kids to dogs but it really is true! As you mentioned, consistency matters. They need clear boundaries and meaning has to be infused behind the words you teach them or they won’t get the message you’re trying to teach. So many lessons apply, I think. (This, of course, coming from someone who has no kids, only dogs lol).

    Thanks for sharing your perspective! Refreshing to read. And I’m sure we’re all guilty of many things we preach but don’t practice with regards to nutrition, fitness, sleep best practices and more. Knowledge isn’t the problem. Discipline is. Cheers!


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