Say there’s a party — like now …Maggie, my next-door neighbor, made a circle in the yard. The barrier was festooned with colorful balloons and streamers. People talked and toasted with glasses of beer or drugged punch in groups.

The punch I was holding had no alcohol in it. It was a baby shower for me. Maggie went on, Suddenly, the gate swings open. An angry person barges in, flails his arms, shouts, and stomps. What happens then? Maggie stroked Dandelion, a 4-month-old gray terrier mix who sat by her side.

What happens is the energy in the room changes — all the positivity radiating from the people, she motioned again at my family, friends, and neighbors. The energy shifts, and becomes negative, just like that. Her voice sank to a whisper as she snapped her fingers. All beings match each other’s energy. If you put out negativity, expect negativity back, and vice versa. She chuckled and grinned. I did, too.

Dandelion’s focus was broken when a squirrel ran by. He made low barks. Maggie knelt down and gently whispered,  ” Shhhhh, shhhhh” Dandelion sat down after relaxing, waggling his tail and walking two circles.

Maggie sat up upright. “That’s why you can’t yell at a barking dog. The louder you bark, the louder he’ll bark. If you want a dog to be calm, start with yourself.”

Years later, I tried her approach on my kid during a tantrum, and it worked, much to my amazement.

It Was Supposed To Be Guidance On Dog Training

Maggie helps shelter pets find their forever homes by fostering them. I saw them on a walk the day Dandelion arrived at Maggie. Dandelion was irritable, petulant, and tense. He was unadoptable, according to the shelter workers. Maggie agreed to take up the task.

Dandelion was serene and relaxed on that summer afternoon, quietly absorbing the landscape. When someone arrived to greet him, he’d get up and enjoy the attention, but he never jumped on or humped someone — in stark contrast to my own dog, who was looking out the kitchen window mournfully.

I used Maggie’s method with my puppy with tremendous success, but I compartmentalized it for years as a “og-rearing”  strategy.

I Used The Method On My Kid, And It Worked

At the grocery store, I found myself losing tolerance for my rambunctious 2-year-old. It was all down to me. She persisted in walking, and despite my better judgment, I forced her out of the cart. She ran to the end of the aisle, stopped in front of a pyramid of single-serving rice bags, and ripped out the three nearest to her from the bottom.

Hundreds of packets rained down on my daughter’s head since the three pouches were critical to the pyramid’s structural stability. She was overjoyed by the richness and made a snow angel.

“What are you doing?” I cried as I tipped the cart over and grabbed her by the elbow. In a fit of rage, she threw a fit. It infuriated me even more. “And now you want to make things even worse?” I wondered. Maggie’s words reappeared, almost miraculously.

I realized I was wasting my time barking at my daughter and expecting her to settle down. I picked her up, sat her on my lap, and wrapped my arms around her. I expressed regret and pledged to do better.

She melted into my chest like butter. We sat for a bit on the floor, then smiled at the sea of green all around us and made snow angels together. Then another miracle occurred: she offered to assist me in cleaning up.