How dog training and writing for children are the same…

So just because my dog is Delta certified does not mean he is perfectly trained. Just between you and me…it’s not that hard to pass the therapy dog test! “Good enough for Delta” isn’t necessarily good enough for me. I’ve never been satisfied with “good enough” ANYTHING! (Ask my husband, my kids, or any editor I’ve ever worked with!)

I spent a couple hours with the head of my regional therapy dog group last week and I told her I was still struggling with attention/heeling skills. She suggested I hand feed my dog his meals on our walks…that that would teach him where I want him to be. WOW!!! What a difference a week has made! I can make two cups of dog food last over a 4 1/2 mile walk…and he is at my side most of the time now.

I am suddenly more interesting than: other dogs, joggers, birds, Canadian geese, goose poop, a dead mouse, a tree chipper, and some weird generator-like thing that seems to come on randomly when people walk past it on the trail.

Unfortunately, squirrels are still more interesting than I am. A new trail is potentially more interesting than I am. And the obedience class teachers who carry hot dogs in their Lowe’s tool aprons are WAY more interesting than I am. But I think I’m ready for obedience class AND the squirrels now. I went out and bought a package of HOT DOGS! I took them to the dog park yesterday and believe me, I was the most interesting thing in the whole park! (Ask any dog who was there.)

The secret to dog training (and writing for children) is you have to be THE MOST INTERESTING THING IN THE WORLD! If you want to get your dog’s attention, you have to be more interesting than a squirrel. And if you want to capture a child’s attention with your story, you have to be more interesting than the TV, a video game, or even another book.

Easier said than done…on both accounts. But not impossible…

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