Learning from Layla: Understanding Expectations

Layla is learning “Quiet.”  You see, Layla has “found her voice.”  It only took 2 years after her rescue adoption for Layla to determine that we are to be vocally warned of every pine needle that

drops on our metal roof, any creature that walks near our property or a sound that goes “bump” in the night.

We worked and worked with her to have her understand the behavior around “Quiet.”  We were not making progress.  Nothing translated to her that said, “You BARK–we say QUIET.”  And then it happened.  That final straw thingy.  Yes, Layla began to BARK in the car at big trucks, small trucks, UPS trucks, motorhomes, dogs alongside the road, squirrels anywhere–you get the picture.  We could no longer enjoy a ride in the car with Layla.

Internet research time.  Gritting our teeth and feeling a little like failures, we capitulated to buying a hand-held ultra sonic sound (only dogs can hear) gizmo that we can use to teach Layla about “QUIET.”  Twice we used it in the car.  Layla BARKs–we say “Quiet”  when she immediately barked again we hit sonic boom button.  Layla retreated to her corner in the backseat and enjoyed the view from the side window–quietly.

Since that time, we have used the same sonic boom for “Quiet” in the house and out in the yard.  We always reinforce with “Quiet.”  We started this regime about 2 weeks ago.  Today, out in the yard, with significant stimulus, Layla began to bark.  I yelled “QUIET.”  Layla gave one more small bark and then stopped.  Then guess what?  She actually came back to me and looked for positive reinforcement–a pat and a “good girl” was enough for her to feel praised and contented.

I still wish I could teach Layla how to behave when she is berserk with stimuli, without resorting to a sonic boom, but it does seem humane and it does get her attention.  Our greatest challenge is interrupting her brain cells that have no other focus than “STIMULUS –HERE–NOW.”

So if we translate this information in how to get our children’s and adolescent’s attention when their STIMULUS is HERE and NOW–what do we use?  Depending upon the age, here’s the list:

  • pick child up and take to another area.
  • remove stimulus
  • Hold child/cuddle child/snuggle child/soothe child.
  • Offer additional stimulus–or diversion.
  • Begin to talk to child (don’t expect lessons to be achieved through verbal instruction until after the age of two, and usually more like 3 or older).
  • Interrupt stimulus and ask for quiet time, then discuss issue. (4 and above).
  • Verbal anticipation and expectation of 5 and above.  “I know you can make good choices at school.”
  • QUIET times start with four-year olds–1 minute/year of age.  By age 10, QUIET times stop with minutes of thinking, to be discussed at the end of the QUIET time, and begin with “You need some time to think about this.  Then come talk to me before you . . .”
  • Using Love and Logic:  “Looks like you have a problem, I’d be glad to offer you some suggestions, if you want them.”  (That’s the beginning of the sequence–I’ll post a whole note on how to use this sequence.)
  • By the time you have an adolescent of 16, QUIET times need to be adjusted to being with each other and talking about the hard choices in life.  These conversations need to be respectful and during non-crisis times.  Long car rides without electronics, a walk in the woods or at the beach or in the park–just the two of you.

Well, Layla has led us again into Layla Lessons for kids.  Hope you found something useful here–dogs or kids—

Be gentle with yourself and your children (2 and 4 footed ones).

 

 

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This entry was posted in adolescent, Articles, child, Layla, parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning from Layla: Understanding Expectations

  1. irishsignora says:

    I am printing your list, enlarging it, and using it to wallpaper my kitchen. Peace be with you. — Kelly

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