In this edition of ‘What Guide Dog Puppy Raising Taught Me About Raising Kids’, connection was a key thing our fourth pup thrived on.

This wonderful pup’s name was Keith, and he was a compassionate black Labrador who loved to spend time with us. Keith was full of personality and loved to work and just be a companion to anyone who would spend time with him.

An interesting fact about Keith is he was from the “Z” litter, so he should have had a name starting with the letter Z. The cost of Keith’s training however was fully covered by a very generous donor. In that case, the donor gets to give the pup a name, so he chose Keith in memory of his friend, who also loved dogs, but sadly had passed away.

Lesson 5 — Establish a Connection

One of the keys in puppy training is learning the individual nature of the pup so you can know how to work with it.

Keith was a very affectionate pup and enjoyed just being with you. The other thing about the Labrador breed is that they love their food. In fact, they will do almost anything for food. We use this to our advantage in training.

One of the things that the pups are taught is “check-in”.

“Check-in” is where the pups will regularly try to make eye contact with you to ensure they are doing the right thing and to get affirmation. It is interesting how our 8-year-old pet Lab, who was the 2nd pup we raised, still does check-in on his daily walk with me. A simple quick glance, he then gets a pat on the head, and we continue on our way.

How do we then establish a connection with our kids? Here are some ideas from Focus on the Family about some simple things we can do:

1. Get down on their level

Kids spend a lot of time on the floor playing, so we should get down with them. Play with them.

As your kids get older join them in watching their favourite appropriate movies or playing a board game together.

2. Make sure you have Family Time

Do things together as a family but be authentic about it. Don’t think that just because you are in the same place together and in close proximity, that creates a connection. If you go out as a family together to a sporting event or to a museum, talk about what you are seeing. Create stimulating conversation that needs more than a Yes/No answer.

3. Do things together

Whether it be a project such as doing some gardening, or whether you share a common interest such as photography, or a sport, spend time doing it.

When my kids were younger, they were all into competitive swimming. That meant some very early mornings sitting by the pool. After a while, I started swimming in the lane next to the kids to get fit as well, until one day all the kids in the squad convinced me that it was a great idea for me to join the squad and train with them. That created some great talking points and shared memories with my kids, that we could discuss on our trips back home from the pool.

4. Don’t take life too seriously

Be like a kid sometimes with your kids. Don’t be afraid to do a silly dance or sing a silly song with them. Make sure however that you don’t embarrass them in front of their friends.

5. Pray

God knows exactly what our kids need and when. Spend time praying for your kids and ask God to reveal things about them. It is amazing how much prayer can transform the lives of not only your kids, but also you and your relationship together.

So why don’t you go ahead and be purposeful about creating some great connections with your kids? If you do, there will be a lasting relationship between each of you that will transcend the ages.


Photo by Gustavo Fring.

About the Author: Jeff Boundy

Jeff Boundy has been married to Christine for over 40 years and they have three wonderful adult children. Soon after his salvation in 1990, he became a lay preacher and got involved in Children’s Ministry (serving on the NSW Uniting Church Synod Task force for Children’s Ministry). In 2003, they connected with Randy and Lisa Wilson in Colorado Springs (Generations of Light Ministries), who conducted an annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. Over the decades, Jeff Boundy has been actively involved in men’s ministry and assisted in youth ministry in the churches he has attended. Jeff is passionate for men to take their rightful place as servant leaders for their families, setting the example of how God is a father to us. He believes the family unit is the cornerstone of society and strong families create strong communities. He says, “When a father's love is tangible within a family, the kids grow up feeling loved and not searching for love in other places. We all have this same desire to be loved and when we ourselves experience the pure love of God, we men can model this same unconditional love to our wife and kids. All children of this world deserve to fulfil their God-given destiny, and the best foundation for that is through a strong family unit with a loving dad at the head.”

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