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I’ve had 3 dogs as an adult: the latest one a gorgeous, sweet GoldenDoodle that learns new commands very quickly.  She’s still only a year old, a little rambunctious, but otherwise well behaved.   We’ve taught her to sit, lay down, fetch, and drop a ball on command.  All good behavior.

Unfortunately I’ve also inadvertently taught her that its ok to jump up on people when they walk in the door.  It all started innocently.  I was so excited to see her when I got home from work and I loved the attention she gave back.  So now no matter who it is, she rears up and almost hugs you while she says hi.

The whole dog training thing got me to thinking though.  We, as women, train others how to treat us.  My kids have learned to use humor to lighten a mood.  They have learned that I will ask them to brush teeth or put their cereal bowl away, so they don’t do it until I ask.  (Ugh!)

And I realized the other day that I trained both my X and my current husband how to treat me too.

I’m a bit of a neat freak.  Sure like any normal person I go through periods where my house is a wreck.  I have my blind spots, like my bathroom sink is almost never tidy.  But for the majority of the rest of the house I have high standards.  No clutter, no dirt, everything in its place.

Dishes should not rest in the sink, they should be in the dishwasher. Cloths should not be on floors, they should be in the laundry basket or if unused hung up. If you use something, when you are done put it away. Like the hiker moto: “Leave it as you found it”, one should remove all soda cans, trash, and extra items from the car at the conclusion of each journey.

While, I can honestly say that my X had no idea what he was getting into.  My husband entered our relationship fully aware of these quirks. I told him exactly how frustrated I was that I couldn’t keep up my house and my life with my slobby X. He knew it was super important to me. Still, here I sit 3 years into the relationship with my husband and I realize: I did it. I ‘trained’ him the same way I ‘trained’ everyone else in my life. (For the record, husband is way way better than X!)

They have been trained that if they won’t stay organized and tidy, then I will do it for them.

I will come home from long day at work and go straight to the sink to move the full days worth of dirty dishes to the dishwasher. I will pick up stranded towels and closet floors littered with cloths. I will grab the 4 or 5 cans and water bottles from the car to put them in the recycle bin. I will do all the laundry. I will straighten the house. I will cook. I will shop. I will work full time and I will end the day feeling drained and burdened.

So I’m gonna try something new.  Instead of letting my dog hug me when I arrive, I’m going to encourage her to stay down with treats and a firm command. And I’m going to do the same for everyone else in my life.  Wish me luck because just like dog training, its training for me as much as for everyone else.

Tell me, how do you do it?  How do you train your family to be independent and live up to your standards or have you thrown in the towel?


One thought on “Sit. Stay. Go Fetch.

  1. nicoledgillen

    Well, after I stopped cooking for the lazy kids, and stopped cleaning up after them, they started to wonder what was up. Then, I made sure their FAVORITE shirt/pants were dirty on the day they wanted them. And, the icing on the cake was when I decided to hide all of their favorite trinkets (that are normally left strewn about the house). After a solid week of torture, they relented and started participating in household duties.

    Yes, solid parenting. That’s me. Get them moving through guilt and pain. Yes!


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