Forget Fido: Parents apply ‘Dog Whisperer’ tips to kids

The New York Times has found parents who admit to getting parenting advice from the “Dog Whisperer.”

Parents are borrowing training techniques from dog whisperer Cesar Millan and applying them to child rearing.

Parents are borrowing training techniques from dog whisperer Cesar Millan and applying them to child rearing.

In a fun story, parents explain how they extract valuable parenting lessons from the dog training techniques of Cesar Millan, better known as the “Dog Whisperer.”

This story reflects the new media focus on how today’s modern parents went astray with their kids – trying to be their friends, investing too much in their success, protecting them from every slight rather than teaching them to learn from adversity. (See Time magazine’s cover story this week “The Case Against Over-Parenting.”)

Among the comments in the story:

Allison Pearson, author of the novel “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” which explored the stresses of modern motherhood, explained how parents would naturally envy the authority of dog trainers. “My generation got itself in a muddle about parenting,” she wrote by e-mail. “We thought that obedience was the enemy of love. We didn’t want the kids to be afraid of us, but after a while we found ourselves wondering: do we have to do what they say the whole time?”

“Unlike modern parents,” she added, “dog trainers don’t think discipline equals being mean. They understand that dogs are happiest when they know their position in the hierarchy.”

I do agree with one of Millan’s mantras: You have to be both assertive and calm when correcting a dog — or a child.

But I really learned the power of keeping your cool from Peggy Skillman, my oldest child’s kindergarten teacher and my first introduction to superior classroom management. All it took from Ms. Skillman was a gentle “Friends, ” and a finger to her lips and she could hush 22 kindergartners.

If you have the time between grocery shopping and traveling, read the Times story. It’s great.

9 comments Add your comment

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Get It Right

November 24th, 2009
4:35 pm

One of the best lessons that we can teach our children is to understand that there are consequences to your actions. We do our children no favors by sheltering them from disappontments and adversity. Work hard, try hard and you will value what you achieve. Do just enough to get by, blaming other for your misfortunes and you will never achieve anything.

TEACH through Love

November 24th, 2009
5:15 pm

Children do not need to be taught consequences. Consequences are a fact of life, they happen naturally. We do not need to impose arbitrary ones on children in order to gain their cooperation.

Parenting is about relationship. Behavior is a form of communication. All humans behave as a strategy to meet their needs

Parenting where children are not allowed to experience the ups and and downs of life, are given too little structure or are allowed to behave inappropriately without interception from a responsible adult is no better OR more effective than parenting that uses punishment, demands compliance through force, bribes or rewards or assigns arbitrary rules and “logical” consequences.

Parenting is about developing a relationship with your child. It is only through healing your past, finding connection, compassion and committing to the development of your child’s emotional intelligence that once can hope to influence a child and help him grow up to be a successful, confident adult who can form and maintain intimate relationships, deal with stress and overcome obstacles with grace and creative thinking.

Conscious parenting is not permissive, it is progressive and supported by the latest research in brain science and child development.



November 24th, 2009
6:33 pm

Weird… wasn’t this already done on South Park a few years ago?

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Susan Tordella

November 25th, 2009
9:45 am

RIGHT ON. Dogs, children and teens like clear boundaries and a clear Alpha. If they’re alpha, so much power is terrifying for a youngster.

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November 29th, 2009
9:13 pm

I’m surprised there weren’t more comments on this one. I agree with Susan Tordella.


November 30th, 2009
10:45 am

School employees are in desperate need of training to manage classroom behaviors with discipline tools that are effective and non-violent. Shockingly, Physical (Corporal) Punishment of Children in schools is legal and practiced where teachers and administrators hit children with WOODEN PADDLES to punish them, often causing severe deep bruising injuries and well as teaching a very poor lesson that physical violence is the acceptable way to solve problems. Research indicates that physical punishment of children causes anti-social behavior and lowers their IQ’s due to the stress of fear and distrust of those entrusted with their care and education. All Children must have EQUAL access to safe and healthy learning environments and the discipline principles of the “Dog Whisperer” employ being calm, in control of yourself and intelligent in directing the subject to desired behaviors. It’s all about teaching, not punishment. U.S. lawmakers and education policy makers must require teacher/school administrator training that is effective and non-violent and ABOLISH Physical (Corporal) Punishment of All Children in All Schools.