We potty train our children but do we train them to have manners or to walk or to talk, or do we teach them? Our elementary, middle or high schools don't have trainers they have teachers. 

The dictionary defines the word "train" as:

• To discipline and instruct, as in the performance of tasks or tricks.

• To develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction: to train an unruly boy.

• To give the discipline and instruction, drill, practice, etc., designed to impart proficiency or efficiency.

The dictionary defines the word teach as:

• To impart knowledge or skill; give instruction.

We understand that our children aren't born inherently knowing the rules that we have carved out for proper behavior in our homes and that they need our help figuring things out. In most cases we are patient with them as they stumble through this learning curve because we are well aware that this world is new to them.

Are our dogs any different?

We expect the wee little 8-week-old puppy or the 5-year-old dog we just rescued to know the rules of our home, or at least get it down within the first few weeks. With the best intentions we discipline our newly adopted pets for things they have never been taught. To their credit, our dogs often figure out what we're looking for in spite of our miss-communication and often misguided punishment. Dogs learn by trial and error or cause and effect, not by our words. If we learn to communicate to them in the way that they understand they'll adjust their own behavior to what we're wanting from them.

Our dogs bring unconditional love and joy into our lives; they are living examples on how to be truly happy. Let's respect them and help them learn what we would like from them through love and compassion, and be the good parents that they deserve.

Ahwatukee Foothills residents Brad and Tamara Jaffe founded Team Canine in 1999, using non-violent training and modern day psychology to train dogs. Visit their Web site at www.teamcanine.com for more information. Contact them at (602) 954-8353 or info@teamcanine.com.


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