Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pet Manners and Perfectly Polite Piggy

Dear (very) patient Good Manners Devotees':

It has been an exciting time for your humble Good Manners Chronicler: I've added two new products to the Good Manners Kids Stuff website, launched the Good Manners Kids Stuff Press publishing company, and published one book (The Month of Zephram Mondays), with another due out by November 30th.

However, before all these things completely took over my non-day job life, I promised you we'd discuss pet manners. I am happy to say that now is the time!

Let me just visit my handy filing system (the piles of paper on the end table and chair next to where I sit) and locate the information.

Ah, here it is (surprisingly, that didn't take much time at all, which is great because I have to write and post this blog before dropping one Good Manners Daughter at a play date and the other at the mall; Good Manners Dad is at his big High School Rivalry Football game):

I had read this article online back in August (TheExaminer.Com -- Do manners really matter? by Samantha Royer, Denver Pet Behavior Examiner) and the author had gone to a trainer who insisted that teaching dogs to be polite would break their spirit. The author was appalled. She felt that your dog's manners (good or bad) were a reflection of your manners. That if you have certain rules in your home, they should be reinforced for both your two and four legged children.

Surprise, surprise: Good manners aren't just for people!

The bottom line: as hard as it is to believe, the behavior you think is cute may not be so cute to others (again, that means both your two and four legged children.) Dogs can learn tricks and to be obedient, but they can also learn what it means to be polite.

You need to take responsibility as a parent and be a "good" parent. A "good" parent doesn't only mean being good as opposed to bad. Being a "good" parent also means doing the hard stuff: using discipline judiciously, being consistent with your messages and reinforcing the rules.

Now, I know myself that consistency and reinforcing are not easy. But, if we can just get in the habit of it, it eventually gets easier. And in the meantime, all (kinds) of our children will learn what is acceptable and appropriate behavior, and how to get along with others!

Speaking of pets, which brings up animals, I wanted to tell you about one of our new products on the Good Manners Kids Stuff site (I admit, an awkward and sort of embarrassing segue, but I may as well take advantage of it!)

We've just added Perfectly Polite Piggy to our product line. It's a very cute Good Manners Savings Bank you can use as a fun and tangible way to reinforce the manners you want your children to learn.

Here's how it works: You and your child agree on what the behavior is (such as no burping at dinner, remembering to say "thank you" or sharing toys on a play date) and you determine the reward amount (a penny, nickel, dime -- even a quarter or dollar depending on the topic) and the goal (such as saving up for an ice cream cone, a toy, maybe a donation to a charity).

Your child will so proud as Perfectly Polite Piggy gets heavier and heavier with all of his or her good manners savings!

Before I end this post for the before-mentioned Good Manners Family transportation needs, you may have noticed the Amazon listing on my blog. I am proud to tell you that this is my first book. It is an early middle grade fantasy novel with a strong (and funny) message about not judging others who are different from you and about the difference you can make because you are different.

While it is for children, many adults have enjoyed the story as well. I hope you'll take a "look inside" at the Amazon listing, where you can get a glimpse of the flavor of the book and also read the synopsis.

Until I blog again (about 5th Grade Cotillion),