Two days ago, I had one of those stop-in-your-tracks parenting experiences. Or, at least I applied it to parenting. But I digress.
On Tuesday, Patches got out. It was my fault, I hadn't fully closed the door when I ran inside to grab something, and the garage door was open, so the dog saw an opportunity and took it. He stood there for one second after I ran out after him, looked gleefully at me for allowing him this freedom, and then took off like a shot.
I was wearing slip-on sandals and am not fast anyway, and I soon lost sight of him. I realized that I had been calling his name up until that point with a tone of voice that clearly indicated he was being a Bad Dog, and it occurred to me that this might not be the best way to get him to run towards me, so I changed tactics. I softened my voice and made it sound like he was being a very, very good dog who might soon get a treat. It was my last chance.
No sooner did I change my tone, but around the corner came my dog, stepping high and looking like he was the cat who had found the canary. I snagged his collar, scooped him up, and told him what a good dog he was all the way back to the house.
It occurred to me that Maeve has moments like this, where she might know what she's doing is a bad idea, but she needs to hear a voice of welcome and praise instead of condemnation. At the very least, what they say is true, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
And I'm so glad my dog came home!