Sunday, January 30, 2011

Must Love Dogs

I’m coming to the conclusion after being married for almost six loooong years (I know, still a novice really!) that men are like dogs.

Guys, before you put pen to paper and write me hate mail, please read on as I think you may be quite pleased with how this theory will turn out.

I do have a disclaimer before I begin.  I do not like dogs, as all my dear friends know well!  I WANT to like them, they are adorable to LOOK at but the actual presence of a dog (dog hair, barking, slobber, dog food to buy, kennels to clean and food bowls to fill) is just too darn annoying to me to actually enjoy the end result (loyal protector and best friend for life).  

So I am the first to admit I am no Cesar Millan when it comes to understanding dogs and training them but I have been around the furry little fellows enough to get some dog basics 101 that I think apply perfectly to men.

Dog Basic #1: If you want a dog to do something, it must be trained.

I’m learning when I want something from Bob, just TELLING him is not always enough.  I need to model it and then quietly show him again, giving him a good petting when he does get it.

Dog Basic #2: If the dog doesn’t get something, you don’t kick the snot out of it.  You just teach it the concept again.

Enough said.

Dog Basic #3: The dog will learn if it receives LOTS of rewards and petting.

I will freely SHOWER praise on my children for accomplishing little task we’re teaching them such as using the potty, clearing their plates and putting their laundry in the hamper.  As soon as that plate is put in the dishwasher or dirty clothes in the laundry, I am smooching their cute little faces and exclaiming, “I am so proud of you!  Good job, bud!  You bless your Mommy!  Thank you!”.

Yet when my spouse accomplishes a task I’ve been “reminding” (i.e., nagging) him about, such as replacing the doorbell batteries (hint, hint, Bob!) or cleaning his workshop area, he’s more likely to get a tiny smile upon completion and something along the lines of, “Well, I’m glad you got that done…finally.”

Little have I realized when I walk away after neglecting to give him the praise he would feel so blessed by, it’s like he’s a little puppy that stops wagging his tail and collapses into a dejected pile on the floor.  

There’s no doubt that puppy wouldn’t be very eager to do that task again when his master commands him to.

I think there are a lot of discouraged puppies out there.

Thus, I am attempting (so help me God) to implement some dog basics around this home.  Imagine with me this scenario the next time your man completes a job that you’ve been ever so sweetly (remember, we’re imagining!) reminding him about.  What if we said (with as a sincere a heart that we could muster), “OH BABY!!  You are amazing!  Look at how well you did this job (trash, cleaning, child care, etc.)!!  Its obvious you threw your heart into getting this done and it is so EXCELLENT!  I feel SO blessed by you.  Thank you!”  Now, if this were followed by a hug or kiss and (situation permitting) a little trip to the bedroom…I think you would have yourself a VERY happy and obedient puppy.  

And I bet that puppy would grow into a strong and happy dog that is eager to do whatever his master (that’s us, ladies!  Ha ha!) commands.

Okay, guys, how do you feel about that?  Are you okay with your wife using a little dog basic 101 training to motivate and reward you to accomplish tasks and maybe even change a little (just a little, we know you’re pretty darn close to perfect already)? 

There is a famous saying I have stuck to my refrigerator that says, “If you want your husband to grow into a man, love him like a little boy.”  I think after today, I will modify that to say, “If you want your husband to run with the big dogs, love him like a little puppy.”


  1. Our couples devo last week was talking about that very thing-HONORING your spouse. Also by honoring your spouse in this way you show your kids how to honor their parents. If mom treats dad like crap, kids think they can treat him the same way, etc. I guess James and Shirley Dobson know what they are talking about, eh?

  2. I would say, they've been around the block a time or two (:


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