If you decide to get a dog, you definitely should consider obedience training. Either find a good school or read a book and tackle it yourself. Dogs, especially the large guys, are so much more fun if they mind.

Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer of National Geographic TV fame and author of several best selling books, is an expert on dog behavior. He’s like SuperNanny for dogs. He says the disobedient dog is not the problem. The dog owner is the problem. It seems we humans tend to let the dogs rule us. We invite dogs into our homes so they join an already existing system. Over time, though, to avoid conflict we tend to let the dog set the rules and it becomes a privilege to live in our own home.

Now that I think about it, that’s the same thing SuperNanny tells parents on her program. Maybe Cesar and SuperNanny have coffee and talk about their shows.

Cesar advocates calm assertiveness with a dog. Yelling, screaming, and stomping aren’t necessary if the owner calmly asserts authority. It’s fascinating to watch dogs make an about face when owners implement his advice.

When I was watching this transformation during one of the training sessions it suddenly occurred to me; if this calm assertiveness thing is good with dogs and kids why wouldn’t it be for life?

Some days drag me around like a big dog I’m trying to take on a walk. I get distracted and jerked here, agree to extra commitments and trip over there, procrastinate and turn around to go in the opposite direction and by six p.m. end up stewing in frustration.

I think I’m going to try a little calm assertiveness, take charge, and not let the day boss me around. If SuperNanny makes it work with someone else’s three year old and Cesar helps a dog understand it, surely I can do this with my day. Yelling, screaming and stomping aren’t necessary and don’t do any good anyway.

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