Friday, 22 August 2008

Lessons in Dog Walking 2.

"WAIT!" bellowed a woman somewhere round the corner from where I was walking with the Little Dog.

"Well, you hurry up down on your side to match then!" yelled back a small boy, who suddenly appeared at the edge of the curb.

After a period of time, not very long, but obviously too long for an energetic young boy to wait, the woman of the previous bellow appeared level with him, but on the other side of the main road. She said, "OK, NOW you can cross" and as he ran across the side road I was walking down, she walked the same distance, much more slowly on the pavement on the opposite side of the main road, simultaneously shouting, "Don't run... Don't go any further... Stop!"

(Boy climbs on low wall at the park)

"Don't climb on the wall!"

"Yeah, DON'T! Get Down! Stop It!" shrieks a smaller child I hadn't noticed until now, standing with the woman.

It strikes me that there is an awful lot of unnecessary yelling going on here.

"Why not?" shouts the boy.

I try to pretend I'm not seeing / hearing any of this. The Little Dog is distracted by it, but with a few quiet words and a click of my fingers by her ear to get her attention, we safely and calmly cross the road with the Little Dog walking at heel, sometimes looking over her shoulder to see what all the commotion is about.

"Because I said you can't", shouts the woman, beginning to cross the main road so that she will be on the same side as the boy, "and quite frankly, I've had more than enough of you not doing what you are told! See, that poor little dog is better behaved than you are!"

Well, yes. But I'm not sure I'd call her a poor little dog. She is not the one being yelled at. And I suppose the Little Dog is at this point, slightly better behaved. BUT, I give her clear and calm instructions when to do / when not to do things, and she's not usually far enough away from me in the street that I have to yell these instructions. And I have her on her lead on main roads, so that even if she does want to run across a dangerous road, she can't.

Now, I'm not suggesting that keeping children on leads is a good idea. Actually it isn't. But giving them calm and sensible instructions before they do something is a good idea. And keeping them near you (holding their hand, perhaps?) on a main road seems like a good plan to me.

I wouldn't usually use the good behaviour of my Little Dog as a means to discuss good parenting. It really isn't a very sensible comparison in many ways. But this didn't start as my comparison; the yelling mother made it. And if she thinks it a valid comparison by which to teach her child something, then maybe it's sufficiently valid to teach her something too.

1 comment:

Supermum said...

Well said that dog walker.
Could it be that I had some influence here??
I do hope so.