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Treat toddlers like dogs, expert says

September 29, 2008 |  2:15 pm

Boy_and_dog A British animal behavior expert says raising a toddler shouldn't be much different from training a dog.

Pat Moore, a behavior expert with the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, told the Telegraph newspaper that misbehaving toddlers should treated with the same techniques used to correct disobedient dogs.

"Neither puppies or toddlers can be expected to immediately know how to behave in certain situations and need clear, consistent guidance. The key is to use more simplified verbal communication and distinctive body language. The tone of voice is key along with your facial expressions," she told the Telegraph. "If you are giving a command, you don't need to yell and shout, but you should make sure your voice is firm and your meaning clear."

Moore advocates a philosophy of positive reinforcement, saying that rewarding good behavior is always better than punishing unruliness -- and that applies to youngsters as well as dogs.

But when it comes to what should be used as rewards, the comparison breaks down. For dogs, she recommends the occasional chew toy or treat. For toddlers: candy or a trip to the playground.

--Tony Barboza

Photo credit: Geraldine Wilkins / Los Angeles Times

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