...why the family dog and AG are cut from the same cloth.
This morning I've had an epiphany of sorts concerning potty training our three year old. When we got Samson five and a half years ago he was a squirmy little puppy. He's what my Dad lovingly refers to as a Heinz 114 since he's a mixed breed. Within a few months we realized that Samson would need some serious obedience training. He wasn't a bad dog, far from it, he was just a really smart dog. Well, we completed basic obedience class and the trainer approached us and told us that Samson really would benefit from some one on one training. We agreed and we began a series of one on one classes with Cindy. She told us that normally she doesn't use a shock collar because most dogs will do what you want with heaps of praise and treats. She said that there is a small percent that won't and you have to do something else to get their attention. Samson is a bull breed mix...meaning he's a mix of Pittbull, American bulldog, Boxer, and Shepherd. He's very intelligent. In Samson's case 3/5 of the time we could get him to do what we wanted but that other 2/5 of the time he wanted to do things his way. The shock collar was exactly what he needed and we use it only once in a blue moon these days. (Mostly when we travel...so that he can explore and then come when we call him without wondering too far.)
How does this relate to AG? Well, it dawned on me this morning that AG is just like Samson. Most children are happy with heaps of praise and treats when it comes to learning a new skill set. With AG it really doesn't seem to phase him. We've tried all sorts of reward systems M&Ms, small trinkets from the Dollar Store, Disney Movies, new toys, new puzzles, pebbles in a jar to earn a trip to Chuck E. Cheese and his favorite place in the world...Disney, telling him what a big boy he'll be and how he'll get to go to preschool, etc. Doesn't matter because he really could take it or leave it. He wants to do all of those things (preschool, Chuck E. Cheese, Disney) he just doesn't care that not pooping on the potty is keeping him from all of those things. We began potty training back in August and we are still working on it. He is completely potty trained as far as peeing goes but pooping is a different story. He's smart. He can do it and has done it. He just chooses not to. He's stubborn. It's a battle of wills.
Now, don't think for a second that I'm about to use Samson's collar to get AG to poop on the potty. I've been praying for months that I would figure out what the missing link is because I'm quickly approaching the end of my rope. I guess this morning I realized that it's fruitless to try and bribe/praise AG because that's not how we'll get his attention. Same way we couldn't get Samson to heel every single time on a loose leash. We had to find a unique way to get his attention and it appears we'll have to do the same with AG. This isn't to say that we won't lavish him with praise when he does it...it just means that we are going to have to figure out a different way to get him to want to do it. Praise and treats alone will not be enough for him just like it wasn't enough for Samson. I'm not really sure why this didn't dawn on me sooner but regardless I'm glad that it has.
Samson and AG...two peas in a pod. I guess it's back to the drawing board to figure out my new game plan. And that's okay. I feel better about all of this than I have in months...we'll see what happens.
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