I had a small reminder of the power of natural consequences yesterday. Sophie, our middle-aged schnauzer, had quite the adventure with our other dog, Odin when they dug out of our backyard. Truth be known, I’m certain Sophie was the follower – as Odin is most definitely the digger. Sadly, at some point on their grand journey Sophie ran through a hitchhiker plant and showed up back at our house with never-ending pods stuck throughout her coat – a bonus, I’m certain, she never intended on getting.
When it comes to poor behavior, long-term natural and logical consequences are more effective than any we could impose. If you are rude to people, they don’t want to be around you. If you don’t do your “work”, you don’t get to “play”. If you do a sloppy job, you have to redo it. I wish I would have realized this when I was a younger parent. As my boys have gotten older, their behaviors have improved, but it has often taken life consequences to be the driving factor in the change. If you don’t get a job, you have no money. If you don’t get to work on time, you get fired. If you don’t do laundry, you have no clean clothes. Perhaps I shouldn’t have obsessed so much over the smaller immediate consequences I was trying to impose when my boys were younger. It seems karma has turned out to be the best teacher of all.
Sophie had a miserable night in her kennel prior to being taken to the groomer, but she is now back to her old self. I’m not sure that incident will deter her from leaving our backyard again, but I am certain it has reinforced the idea that our home is a safe and loving place to be. And for an animal lesson, I couldn’t ask for more than that.