Children are like DOGS!

Sasi Kumar

Sasi Kumar

When I was a dog handler/trainer, there were many interesting ideas that I learned to bring up my child. This article shares success in dog training and application to teaching lessons to children.

Dog Training

Dog training at the face value is about discipline, accuracy and behaviours. We have a set of behaviours that we would like the dogs to do (Eg. Sit, Stand, Bark) and to teach them these behaviours, we need to use any of the three methods.

children are dogs 3

The Three Methods In Dog Training


The food method is the simplest and easiest way to train a dog, but of course is a very unhealthy method as every time the dog does a good action you will give a treat. Furthermore, the food method gives the dog the impression that as long as I want that treat, I would need to do what I am asked to do. This will be a very transactional relationship method, as the dog is only doing something because of the extrinsic reward.


The pain method is the least favourite but most effective. Dogs do have a choke chain where when a dog does not do a particular behaviour when told, the handler will pull the choke chain to inflict a quick sharp pain behind the dog’s ears. This is the exact pain we humans will have when someone pinches, or slaps us. Dogs remember this pain and will follow the handler commands in doing things proper. This method only adds fear to the dog. It is effective as the dog will definitely do the actions, but you can see a difference between a dog executing a move and one that does so due to fear.


The play method is when a dog executes a particular behaviour, you start to have a quick play with the dog with its favourite toy. The good thing about this method, unlike the food method will be that the dog stays healthy as the heart keeps pumping during play (like exercise). There is also a new concept of playing with the owner, so it is not extrinsic anymore, but the idea of love and care. If the dog does not perform, the dog does not get to play.

children are dogs


Many handlers still fail in being able to get the dogs to follow command. They might have been using one of the methods above but there is another practice that all handlers will need to follow – consistency. If they have decided to take up one type of method, they will need to stick with it as the dog has accustomed to that particular way. Methods can change, but the results take longer to show.

Bringing This To Children

Children are like dogs during their first few years. They do not understand what you are saying but they are very sensitive to the tonality of your voice. If you go with a high pitch with your child, even if you are scolding the child will smile. The opposite will be deep and loud voice, even if you are playing the child will cry. The child tends to recognise that high pitch voice excites them, and deep loud voice scares them. Similar when teaching children, the three same methods are applicable.

children are dogs

The Three Methods On Children

Food (Desires)

Every kid will have some sort of desire, like using mobile devices, watching their favourite cartoon on the television or having that particular sweet cold drink (that will give them flu of course). If we want to teach our kids something (Ex. Keeping back your toys), we will tell the kid – “Keep your toys, and I will allow you to watch cartoons”. What the kid does will be to put back all the toys to use the phone. Now, this is an unhealthy method as the kid does not pay attention in keeping back the toys and the rationale behind the concept of keeping back the toys. For them, it is about the extrinsic reward, which is getting what they want.

Pain (Fear)

Some parents inflict pain in the child to get something done. This is effective in a sense that things get done. But it is done out of fear, and there is no learning that happens in the process. The only thing the child remembers will be the pain that the particular behaviour brought on him. Worst, some children tend to follow that through thinking that this will be the way of life. If someone did something wrong in their lenses the person deserves the pain. This is how bullies are created.

Play (Attention)

 Play on the other side is about doing something together. If the kids does something well, there will be attention given to the kid with more play time (not alone, but together as a family). This will evoke a different kind of happiness in the child that overtime they will be longing to have more. This type of happiness out weights that of a video game, cartoon or even that cold sweet drink.

Consistency With Children

But it all boils down to consistency. Every child once born will go into the exploration phase. They are not sure what is right and what is wrong (Even we as adults are still figuring this out). So they tend to try everything. We being the adults and the parents tend to want to skew them towards a particular behaviour that we were taught or deem as normal. But some behaviour is bound to be taught. Some examples will be respecting the elders, responsibility for one’s own items, listening to people and being considerate by having high situation awareness. The consistency over here is to look out for teachable moments and to ensure the moments are well captured and educated every single time.

Children are like DOGS! Conclusion

So next time you are home, try to get the ball out even for thirty minutes and see the joy in them. No phones or television will be able to get that kind of happiness. The plus is, you will be exercising and they will have a good night’s sleep!

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