Saturday, 11 April 2009

On not rewarding bad behaviour.

Penny and I went to the Humane Society today for our follow up session after I’d adopted her.

It was a very useful hour.

Penny is a cool and gentle dog. But I asked about her one “bad habit” – i.e. jumping all over me when I return home after an absence.

I do not wish Penny to be a “jumper”.

The canine experts at the Humane Society told me that Penny’s behaviour is simply to gain attention, and that, even if I scold her , she is receiving the attention she desires.

So they advised me to ignore and walk away from this bad behaviour, and to tell her to lay down.

Then after a few minutes I should call her to myself.

Dammit – it works!


I wish that I had known this many years ago. So often I responded to “bad behaviour” on the part of parishioners by giving them attention.

So they learned that “acting out” was the key to my time, so they continued to “act out”.

I have learned that rewarding bad behaviour leads to many auto-perpetuating syndromes.

Clear behaviour boundaries lead to better relationships in families, communities, churches, and self discipline.

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