Actually I’m not bragging. It’s not a high bar when half the other dogs are more interested in smelling each other’s butt. Some attendees even allowed their pups to free-roam instead of being on a tight leash. I wondered how long they’d remain trained.
My hubby and I are attempting to train our puppy as parents are supposed to teach their children, paraphrasing Proverbs 22:3: “in the way he should go so when he is older he’ll still follow.” Not always easy.
Our “Mr. No-No” has certainly mastered the commands of sit, down, up, stay and wait. At least in public. At home it’s another story. How quickly he forgets “stay” as his pogo stick legs bounce up higher than our kitchen island trying to discover what’s for breakfast or dinner. “Relax,” I scowl. “It’s the same stuff you’ve eaten for 186 days already!!!” We then patiently place him about three feet away and make him stay and wait until we give him the release word to come. It’s called discipline. He’s learning quickly because he is food-oriented. Mmm – sounds like some of my former patients.
Even as adults, we act like children sometimes. We need to listen to our Master’s Voice. God’s instructions are here for a reason: to teach us self-discipline and to listen while waiting on Him.
Take food for example. How many times have we rewarded ourselves with treats? I washed the breakfast dishes, I deserve a donut! I walked a mile, now where’s that ice cream? I lost five pounds! Let’s celebrate with cookies! No!!! Bad human, bad human!
There are ways to reward our accomplishments other than in food rewards! We could indulge in a luxurious bubble bath, massages, movies, reading on the patio . . . Our pup enjoys a long walk, belly rubs or (endlessly) tossing a toy back and forth as much as any food treat.
Over-indulge in sugary or high-fat foods and our bodies rebel in intestinal upsets or severe debilitating illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes. Learning to control ourselves around food is liberating. We can enjoy anything in moderation, (1 Corinthians 10:23) without guilt.
“This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!” (Jeremiah 7:23) NLT
Our pup’s so grateful for the food I give him daily but he’d eat us out of house and home if boundaries weren’t set. Heavy isn’t healthy. He needs reasonable portion control as much as humans do. So I practice and teach self-discipline. God, for our own good, does the same with us.
The second reason he’s catching on quickly is that it gives him pleasure to please us. He loves to hear “Good Boy!!!” He gets lots of praise when he does the right thing.
Don’t we long to hear praise from God too? We realize our sweet pup can’t be perfect but his heart is in the right place. Certain infractions can be overlooked but a distinct act of rebellion gets an immediate time-out or quick swat.
As humans in the Hands of a Loving God, He realizes we can’t be perfect either. Our Lord understands temptation, weakness and human frailty. Intentional disobedience however, gets a direct reprimand! Just look at Adam and Eve, Saul, Ananias and Sapphira as examples. They knew what was right but intentionally disobeyed.
Don’t! 1 Peter 1:16 commands us “to be holy for I am Holy!” It’s wiser to obey our Master.