The following letter was too good to pass up.
It appeared in a recent "DEAR ABBY" column, and illustrates
the similarity of training pets and children and the importance
of consistency and praise in handling both.

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Pet Peeved, Martinez, Calif., who complained because she has five cats and two dogs destroying her home. She works full-time, she's pregnant and worried about her baby's safety.

Abby, she's not the victim; she's part of the problem. I work full-time, have three cats, three dogs, four children and a husband. There's romping and chasing around, but none of them are destroying the house. I have found that people with unruly pets generally have unruly children. They didn't come that way, but their parents took the shortcut. Training both children and pets takes time, but the benefits are worth it.

Before I married, I took my dog to obedience class. I was told that it takes patience to teach a new behavior, consistency in what is expected, and most important -- reward the dog with praise for correct behavior.

Dog training also tauight me how to raise my children. While a child or pet is learning a new behavior or task, we repeat it many times. We never attempt to make corrections when we are stressed or short-tempered. Most children, pets, husbands and wives hear only what they are doing wrong. In our house, if someone makes a mistake, there is a quick correction followed by praise for what they are doing right.

It's important, Abby, to save the pets and children that are running wild, not just dispose of the pets and give up on the children.

(signed) Patience, Consistency and Praise, Minneapolis

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