Great Expectations (A Dog Trainer’s Message)

Updated: Mar 2

Dear Kindergarten Teacher,


I am so excited that my son was able to get into your class! We’ve heard nothing but great things about you, so we are really hoping you can work your magic with our son. I’d like to tell you a little bit about him and our family.




1. Our son has never had any classroom-like structure because we did not send him to daycare. We thought about it, but we couldn’t decide on the right one, so we just skipped it all together. I bet you’ve probably heard that before. He did have a few play dates, but there are only so many hours in a day, you know? Hmm…in hindsight, I guess he really didn’t have that many. So he’ll definitely need some help socializing with other children. He’s never had to share, so I’d keep an eye on him when toys are around. Same with snacks. He gets pretty cranky if someone tries to take away his Goldfish. One time when I tried that he got aggressive and pulled my hair pretty hard. It really hurt!


2. He gets SUPER EXCITED about everything! So we definitely want you to teach him good manners. Right now he jumps up and down and sometimes runs around the room in circles; when that happens, it’s really hard to get him calmed down. And our son is big for his age, so sometimes he accidentally knocks people over. He doesn’t mean to, of course. He’s a very good boy…but still…I wish you good luck at recess!


3. He has zero focus. It’s the weirdest thing. Sometimes we’ll be walking along and he’ll be right next to me, until we see another child playing or even just standing close by, minding his own business. And then, our son will just run right over to that child, wanting to play! Why do you think that is? I mean, he’s already FIVE years old…that’s not too young to expect him to understand that I need him to stay right by me, is it?


4. Sometimes he’s not happy. I’ll give you some recent examples: we took him to a McDonald’s that he wasn’t used to. It was louder and more crowded than our usual one, but I still thought for sure he would run and play with those new kids. Can you believe he didn’t want to??


And we were out shopping the other day and someone came up to me and told me how adorable he was…and what did he do? He just hid behind my leg!


I told him he should be ashamed of himself and that when people compliment him he should smile politely and shake their hands, even if they are big or “scary looking.” He’s a big boy, and big boys shouldn’t get scared.



We don’t judge books by their cover, right? Between you and me, I think the whole “stranger danger” thing has gone a little too far!


Last week we went out of town and got caught in traffic, so we were about two hours late eating dinner. Would you believe that he got aggressive with me again by throwing a temper tantrum in the back seat and yelling at me? He just kept screaming that all he would eat was a Happy Meal from McDonald’s with the green toy because he already has all the other colors! Have you ever had a student this bad before? Did I tell you that our son was adopted? Must have been bad breeding.


I seriously considered dropping him off at a fire station or hospital since they have to take kids, no questions asked. You can understand, right? It’s just not safe to have a child who isn’t happy all the time.


These are the things we expect you to fix completely. If you can let us know what we need to do at home, we’ll try to do it. But we do work until 6:30 or 7:00 every night, so there’s not always a whole lot of time for stuff like that. The weekends are a little easier, so for sure we’ll get it done once a week. It’s better than nothing, right?


Oh, one more thing. Our son will only be in your class for two weeks.


Sincerely yours,

His parents


PS- If you have children (and frankly, even if you don’t), you know this is completely ridiculous. You would NEVER expect anything like this from your child or his teacher. It would not make any sense.


SO WHY WOULD IT MAKE SENSE FOR YOUR DOG?



Stop putting ridiculous expectations on your dog. Your dog is not perfect. Your dog has emotions and feels deeply. Your dog needs stimulation and attention. If you have sent your dog to training, you have to reinforce that training at home. Even when you do, your dog will make mistakes. Just like your children do. And if you don’t reinforce it often? Well, here’s an example. I listen to books on Audible. But if I go too long between books, I still have to Google “how to buy books on Audible” before every purchase! I simply forget the steps involved in ordering and downloading. I could list several other examples. If you’re honest, you could probably list some too. But you expect your dog to remember everything?


Did your child go from reading “Dick and Jane” books to Charles Dickens after two weeks? I doubt it. Did your child pick up potty training after two weeks, never to have an accident again? I know mine didn’t. Does your child feel comfortable in every social situation? Even my extroverted child is not comfortable everywhere. Would your child feel comfortable if you expected him to play with another child, despite glaring differences in their personalities? My athletic son would not want to play with a kid who only wants to stay inside and read all day.


And I accept those things as part of his personality.

If you have a special needs child did you ever consider not doing everything you could to make his life better, while accepting that his “normal” may look different from other children? Would you love him any less in that situation? Of course not.


SO WHY NOT GIVE YOUR DOG THE SAME LEVEL OF ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING?



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