08-28-2012, 09:30 PM
Bad night 'round here. Dbf had a few things go wrong with his first project at his new job. I'm not impressed with his coping skills. Not.at.all. Dashed my confidence in him quite a bit. He needs a big old glass of BUCK UP DUDE.
08-28-2012, 09:34 PM
Me (39) DH (46) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12
08-28-2012, 09:35 PM
Sorry about that, Bridget. Hope it gets better soon.
08-28-2012, 09:38 PM
Thanks, Ladies. I had to banish him from my presence. I just can't even stomach him tonight and just asked him to go to bed. Luckily he listened to that.
08-28-2012, 09:39 PM
I missed all the debate today!
To answer your questions, the homework we have is to read a book every day to our child(ren) and write it down, and if we read more than that, write down those as well.
Monday we had to fill out a little questionnaire on a picture of a train. Favorite food (pizza-DD, steak-DS), what I like to do (dance, sing, go to school--DD; play with Legos, build things, read books about how things work--DS), birthday, and name, and then the kids had the draw a picture of themselves in the train window.
Today they had to gather three objects that they felt connected to in some way, and put them in an enclosed paper bag to share with the class some day this week. The bag was labeled "Super star" and they would be the star. It was kind of like a show and tell thing, I suppose.
DS got a Lego truck he'd put together, a little Hotwheels car, and a book called "Wheels, Wings, and Motors."
DD didn't trust that anything she took would come back, so she didn't want to take anything she really liked. She grabbed a Little Person toy off the floor and said it represented her, since it was a "schoolgirl." Then she grabbed a piece of artwork she'd already completed, and said she could talk about how she liked to create art. Then she drew a whole bunch of lines of shapes -- 11 triangles, 10 squares, 9 circles, 6 diamonds, and cut them into strips and wrote the numbers down and said she would talk about how she likes numbers and shapes.
In the meantime, they're supposed to practice writing their names with the first letter uppercase and the rest of the letters lowercase (I had them do that six times yesterday) and learn their address (we practiced that, too) and tie shoelaces. I didn't try that. We only have one pair of shoes in the house that lace and they belong to DH and the last time I brought them out to practice tying shoes he got all upset and said he did not want to find his shoelaces all knotted.
I don't mind this homework. It's pretty fun, and it's an attempt to get the kids to know each other better. I am not appalled by it, and it seems like reading one book a night is counted in the 20 minutes. That's nothing. There are days that they get hours of bookreading. There are days that THEY read books to other kids. I just need to stay on top of it, and as always, it seems to be my responsibility.
I don't like most squash, either, but there are a few kinds and a few cooking styles that I appreciate.
I mostly agree with Suja. I do think the US is far behind in the global education market, but I think it's too late to try to catch up. When I went to Spain in 1985 as an exchange student, it was essentially agreed that I should just sit in class and watch and shouldn't even bother trying to learn or take tests, because I wouldn't be able to keep up. Looking back at my notes later on, I was learning college-level anatomy and art history in my junior year in high school. No wonder all of my friends were studying all the time.
I also think that it's worth urging kids into jobs that will pay the bills so they can afford to do the things they want to do. Following a job that you love is over-rated. What's more important (in my opinion) is to have a good home/work balance, to be able to go home without having work follow you too much, to have decent hours, to get the training for the job in a decent amount of time without astronomical student loans, and to have reasonable satisfaction and appreciation and stability in the job. Plus, any job or career can be more or less awful or wonderful depending on the exact work situation one is in, plus the attitude one has. DH and I have talked about how we both wound up in good jobs (that we like) without any sort of guidance whatsoever from our parents, and after messing around to some extent. We will want to give some light guidance but not crack the whip.
08-28-2012, 10:08 PM
Bridget, you're practically a saint in my book, one of the most patient people I know, and I can't even imagine what he must have done to try you like that. I really do hope that tomorrow is a better day for all of you, and DBF learns to deal with his work stress better.
Originally Posted by Bridget
08-28-2012, 11:06 PM
Bridget, I hope tomorrow is a better day!
08-29-2012, 05:38 AM
I often think of the "what ifs" in regards to my life and what I could have done if I were a little more motivated. I got my bachelors degree but could easily have gone on to graduate school, for a long time I planned on vet school. But then I look at where I am today : making 60k+ while using my biology degree, a great husband, two wonderful kids, own a home, etc and realize I that the choices I made have made me who I am. If I had gone to vet school at the time (11 years ago), I probably would be making around the same income I am now, but instead of paying off my student loans like I did last year, I'd still owe over 100k.
My husband is the worrier about money. I'm a firm believer in enjoying the day to day and that it will all work out in the end. He had a minor surgery on the 17th and he is SO stressed about how much the bill will be after insurance picks up their portion. He talks about it every.single.day. I've told him a million times that they can't charge interest on medical bills and that the hospital will work with whatever payment plan we can afford as long as he makes his payments. If it takes us 2 years to pay it off, so be it, but it isn't something to spend that much time stressing over.
I LOVE the skinnytaste website. I've tried so many recipes from there and they have all been great! The cajun chicken pasta and baked potato soup are some of my favorites!
08-29-2012, 06:51 AM
08-29-2012, 07:20 AM
Originally Posted by Gwenn
Yes, I know about it. I asked Ky if he wanted to go there but he said he didn't, he likes his current school, as I was thinking of putting him there for 5th-8th grade.
I think it is a wonderful school. I have been there and their building is like a scene out of Harry Potter. They have "houses" for the students and a big board showing how many points each house has and the teachers were over the top motivating.
I have heard that they nickel and dime you though, that all of their trips take substantial amounts of money from parents and a few parents I know who have kids go there, don't like that but they deal with it. Our school is actually going to follow their model of travelling to differen parts of the world. Our PTA is planning on doing a boatload of fundraising this year in an effort to send out kids to South America in 6th grade. At RCA all of the trips are based upon lessons they were learning. When we visited last year for a Lego Robotics seminar there, some of their students were our guides and the girl who was showing my group around was reading "The Origins of Life" by Darwin. She was in 6th grade. They were going to go to the Galapagos Islands in a couple months so were learning all they could about Darwin's life and life's work, which was inspiring.
I actually love the Ron Clark Academy. I like that there are no excuses there. They also do not take "the best and brightest" of kids. They have a mixture of kids from all grade levels and their admission policy seeks to take students that are below, at, and above grade level in equal amounts. For me, the successes there are proof that where someone comes from, does not necessarily mean that a child cannot learn, which is what I hear a lot of in discussions. Especially with other parents, the discussion about the achievement gap come up quite a bit and since I am not shy about discussing these things I can get into a lot of heated situations about it, that I won't really get into it here. But my main issue with schooling is for one - homework, when it is not needed and is not teaching a child anything additional, and low expectations. Not just from families, but from schools, especially in inner city communities, which I see often here in Atlanta. The schools in my neighborhood, that aren't Charter schools, are way below the middle class and affluent parts of town and I truly believe it is becaue of excuses on the part of many teachers, politicians, and the complacency that many parents and teachers have in subconsciously not believing that the children in their care can learn at the level that the middle class and affluent kids can learn at, which to me is bogus. I really get into a lot of arguments really with liberals around here and democrats, even though I have liberal leanings, I'm not a democrat and won't align myself with any political party and really I feel a lot of the democrats here in this area are what are holding back a lot of poor kids, especially poor black boys from learning at a high level. They make too many excuses for them and don't seem to truly believe that the boys can learn and it is frustrating and disheartening for me, especially since my son is no better or smarter IMO than other boys, it is just I expect him to know a certain amount, mostly due to myself being involved in a rigorous program in school. Even though I love Ky's school now, I still feel in a few areas, especially math, that they aren't challenging enough for him. Also in reading, which he excels at, as he reads at a 9th grade level, I feel he should always get better and learn more and not via homework but instead instruction. At RCA, there are many boys from my neighborhood who go there. They have a bus that will pick up kids. Their tuition is based on income and for those who are REALLY poor they get to go for free, but they do have to be involved in fund raising for trips and such. RCA has high expectations in academics and a few boys I know who went there in 5th grade only read at a 2nd grade level or worse and are now reading Darwin! And they are understanding it.
I think RCA should be a model really for other schools. I'm happy that our own principal is good friends with Mr. Clark and he refers to him often and is looking to make our school similar to that of RCA, except we are a public charter and have lower class sizes.
08-29-2012, 10:19 AM
08-29-2012, 11:11 AM
I did that recipe from that skinny web site of the summer veg and sausage and the kids devoured it. It was soooo good! I threw in some cherry tomatoes and carrot as well. The only thing that Travis didn't like was how the rosemary stuck to the potatoes, so he scraped that off. I'll definitely be making that again!
I went to visit the school I'm employed at now and got familiar with my classroom. The teacher is so enthusiastic; he's so cute how energized he still is with teaching. It makes me realize how many teachers I've worked with through the years who have become jaded with the career.
08-29-2012, 02:30 PM
I have no idea why, but the way you phrased it made me LOL.
Originally Posted by AmeriBrit
08-29-2012, 03:00 PM
I confess I'm going to start typing now without having completely formulated my thoughts. I only got the chance to scan the last few pages while simultaneously attending a meeting, but I think I caught the most salient points. I feel like we've had this debate in here before. And while I haven't particularly become a fan of academic stress on our kids since the last time I took a position on it, I have to say I'm glad I previously had this discussion with you, Suja, in the past because you've helped me see where some of my views merge with yours. I have never looked at the question in terms of global competition, but to your other point, I do think it's important to at least work hard enough to avoid financial stress, to give oneself a comfortable cushion in life (which is why I'm not a fan of spending beyond my means and getting into debt). Of course, everyone's definitions of "comfortable" are bound to vary, as are people's definitions of "stress". I personally, would be consumed with worry for me & my family if we were living from paycheck to paycheck; it'd get to the point where the worry would start to wear on my quality of life.
Anyway, back to the homework topic, I know there's the Stop Homework project and I am intrigued by some of their points. They cite studies that show students in other countries are assigned significantly less homework, but score way higher on standardized tests. That said, I can't say I'm 100% against it. As with all things, academic and otherwise, I think some degree of struggle is necessary before mastery comes. I think it's good to teach kids how to have a "beginner" mind and then experience firsthand what it's like to go from not knowing how to do something to becoming proficient at it. That's a real confidence builder. And homework is pretty useful tool for getting kids to synthesize everything they learned throughout the day, as long as it's not too excessive. But I don't have a school-aged kid, so I won't weigh in now on whether I think the homework Bodhi will bring home is excessive.
The most important values I'll emphasize with my kid(s) are self-reliance and happiness. Of course, I want B to be happy in his chosen career, but if he wants to become a harmonica player, and if that doesn't pay the bills, he's going to have to understand that he needs a practical skill and take on a supplementary career to make ends meet... enough to feel comfortable and again avoid debt/financial strain.
The twins' homework sounds cool, L!
I have to jump onto another call, but I'll be back.
Last edited by demigraf; 08-29-2012 at 03:27 PM.
08-29-2012, 03:49 PM
Bridget, I'm sorry you had a bad night. Hope your DBF stops feeling sorry for himself and tries harder.
Ash, that's cool that you got a positive vibe from the teacher you're going to work with. Where are the pics of you in your fascinator?
Suja, if you like hot sauce (I actually missed where we got started on that topic, only saw Katy's response), a client of DH's makes one. He lives in a town called El Sobrante, so the hot sauce is called Hell Sobrante, and it's so tangy and really good. The next time he gifts some to my DH, I'll pass some onto you if you like.
08-29-2012, 05:18 PM
Myles, Ash had posted some pics on FB. Not sure if you're friends there or not. She looked fabulous (of course).
Love hot sauce. I have a friend with an asbestos mouth, and I enjoy setting his mouth on fire. It takes a lot to get that reaction out of him, but when I do, it's so totally worth it. I'd love to try some of the Hell stuff, if it isn't too much trouble.
08-29-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks, Erin. I knew I would appreciate your comments because they are always so well thought out. Ron Clark actually came and gave a speech at our yearly "welcome back" meeting our first week back at work. I was very impressed with his enthusiasm, his energy, and his "make it happen" attitude and you can't possibly argue with the results he has gotten. I also completely know what you are getting at with low expectations, as we see it here most strongly with the Hispanic population that doesn't really expect to go to college or achieve academically overall. I don't see it so much in the black community because it's only 10% or so of our district, where as we are over 50% Hispanic, so there just isn't a community out there of the size you see in a city like Atlanta but I do get what you are saying. I totally believe you need to have high expectations and give kids opportunities to excel. I guess the one thing that got me, and got some of my other special ed friends, was what he said about teaching to the highest level of the class. He gave the example of a 5th grade class with one student working at the 8th grade level, and teaching at 8th grade level and expecting all the other kids to rise to that level. In his experience they did - and I think most kids who are just behind and haven't been challenged would rise to the occasion. I just have such a narrow perspective because I deal exclusively with the bottom 2% of the population down to kids who are completely nonverbal. I just don't think it's fair to take a kid who is struggling along at a 2nd grade level in a 5th grade class and expect them to go not 3 grade levels higher, but 6 - when honestly, we only expect the best and brightest kids to make 1 year's progress in a year, much less 3 or 6 years of progress. I'm not in any way saying he should teach to the lowest and have a class run at 2nd grade level in 5th - but can't you teach a 5th grade class at 5th grade and give the excelling students extra assignments to challenge them, while giving the struggling students extra assignments to bring them up to grade level? I hope that made sense. I think in the case of a child who has suffered from low academic expectations and unmotivated teachers, raising that expectation will make a huge difference . I think of a kid like J who I worked with years ago, who was born in South America with no middle or outer ears, and adopted out of an orphanage at age 6 with no language because he couldn't hear anything and nobody in the orphanage knew enough to teach him sign language, then taught to speak English after having reconstructive surgery and a surgically implanted hearing aid, and at 15 years old could speak and read English at the level of a 7 year old, raising expectations isn't enough. I had the pleasure of helping give him the 8th grade state-wide standardized testing and it was heartbreaking - but this is one of the nicest young men I have ever had the privilege to know and he loved cars - I'm sure he'll make a great mechanic someday with the right support and training. There is such a push to ensure that "all" kids are meeting the standards, with no expectation that for some kids, making any progress at all is amazing. So I have mixed feelings about the whole RCA thing, although on the whole they are definitely positive. I can't help but think it makes it easier that he takes children from a list of applicants, rather than dealing with whichever kids enroll through the public school system and having to deal with the kids he gets. We can't ensure we have an equal balance of high-achieving, on grade-level, and low-achieving kids and most of the time those high-achievers are few and far between and not available as peer models for our other students.
Originally Posted by Ky'sMom
Me (39) DH (46) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12
08-30-2012, 07:32 AM
I agree with you Mandy, that if kids have other sorts of disabilities that can prevent them from learning, especially in the case of the young man you mentioned, that they may need additional support and that expectations, by themselves will not be enough and can be detrimental. I also think the same would apply for an undiagnosed student with dislexia or a similar sort of reading or math disorder. I think the key is to see the whole child, not some standardized test standard, and provide the tools that the child needs. If provided, I just do not see how kids cannot excel, especially those who do not have any sort of learning or physical diagnosis that can prevent them from excelling in school.
I used to agree with you in regards to kids coming in at a different level and them being at a disadvantage due to that and felt that they would be good candidates for additional homework or other sorts of activities that can bring them up higher. But my experience with Ky's school has actually altered that view in that we had students in Ky's 3rd grade class who could not read at all and by the end of the year they all passed the 3rd grade reading test on the 3rd grade level. I do believe the class sizes make the difference, even though some studies show that larger class sizes are necessarily all that bad, but at Ky's school we had A LOT of kids who could not read or if they did, they read at a 1st or 2nd grade level in 3rd-4th grade and all of our students pass reading, on level, every year so I became a convert in regards to the tutorial method and individualized instruction, which is what goes on at our school.
We are a public charter, different than RCA, as we do have to accept whoever applies and gets in from the general population. The majority of our students come from poor families and receive free lunch, I think 90%. Our school is about 85% black as well but they perform better than a lot of the middle class schools in our district.
I think it is up to the individual school to ensure they have a good sampling of students on all levels. Even at Ky's old school, which was a traditional public school, they usually always had about 4 or 5 kids out of 20 who were above grade level. At his school now, everyone who comes into the school via the lottery, are visited by teachers and our principal and they are tested before school starts as well as their previous records are looked into to see where they would be best suited and to ensure that each class has a good mix of kids on different levels. Also some students who are poor in one area, like reading, may be better at another, like math. This is true for a lot of our students. We also serve the special education population as we have to being we are public school. Those students receive additional support via paraprofessionals and if a teacher believes it is warranted, they will speak to parents to have those children receive additional services at school paid for by the district. We actually have a large amount of special education students relative to other public schools. Over 20% of our school population has special needs. They do everything they can at school to get these kids the support they need and they are expected to do just as well as the other kids.
I know one of the girl's in Ky's class last year had ADD/ADHD, which her mother told me. She was one of the kids who had poor literacy before coming to our school and she is above average now in reading. I will be honest and say she is a trip, even though she is one of my favorite kids, very high energy! She had a crush on Ky though and kept bugging him a lot last year and so he doesn't like her all that much anymore lol! But her mom did say before coming to our school she had constant problems in traditional public school and that many of the teachers, though caring, didn't know what to do for her daughter and due to cuts in education, a lot of the funds needed for paraprofessionals at traditional schools were cut. They just wanted her to heavily medicate her child instead of finding other alternatives. This girl is very bright but you would not have known it when she first came. Her mom said she was labeled as a behavior problem and that is all they saw her as at previous schools. She is excelling now in practically every subject.
08-30-2012, 07:52 AM
All this school talk is perfect for my mindframe right now since I sort of consumed with these thoughts lately!
I did send the principal an email to let her know that I am available and willing to help with anything, including being involved in classrooms and hope that Sawyer could come with me. He loves to ride in the ergo so I could just carry him around on my back.
Things are better around here. I had a really serious talk with dbf about his behavior towards the children that was all because he was stressed about work. He tried just chalking it up to the fact that he doesn't handle stress well and that's that but I told him that he is strong enought and smart enough to overcome that and change it. If he's going to do this job he has to get used to some stress and I won't let him take it out on us. Especially since I have spent all my free time this week typing up, editing, creating templates, sending out emails...also to lessen his load and since I am better and quicker at that stuff than he is. I don't mind helping at all but in return he needs to suck it up and be nice.
The part that really got me seeing red was that he's always riding me about how the kdis don't have chores. So I bought one of those kitchen towers off craigslist and the kids have been eptying the dishwasher, clearing and rinsing their dishes. Instead of praising them, he yelled at Kai for wasting water and spraying some on the counter on accident. He said he'd rather do it himself than have them do it wrong. I was very disgusted! Kai was deflated.
Of course he had 3 drinks which made him totally unreasonable. Hence the banishing.
08-30-2012, 08:07 AM
Mama to Bobbie 20 ~ Jesi 18 ~ Syd 14 ~ Conner 6
I'm gonna be a Gramama! Jesi is due 11/22/13
08-30-2012, 08:13 AM
Ugh Bridget.....he is being a piece of work.
I would really try to get him to apologize to Kai for his behavior, if he hasn't already. I hope he realizes that he needs to be the adult and set a good example. Like I have told you before, your DBF really reminds me of my DH. He has been and sometimes still does and says idiotic things like that. He also doesn't deal well with stress, but usually when I remind him he is being mean over his stress, he'll go be by himself somewhere. He oftentimes will go to the park and drink a beer (which I keep telling him is against the law lol, open container and all. He seems to think the police won't know what it is if it is in a paper bag, as if they haven't seen that before...) and take Bruno with him, who is usually high energy and likes to run around the park. That will usually brighten his mood and if he's been an a$$ to any of us before that he will apologize and ask for forgiveness for his behavior. Luckily he doesn't get like this often anymore because he has gotten really good at dealing with stress. He's also mellowed out a lot and is not as over the top aggressive anymore, which used to get him into trouble at work. He will not ever back down from an argument in which he thinks he is right and he was known to argue with his supervisor, the head honcho at his office, co-workers, anyone basically and it took years of me telling him that that sort of behavior at work was uncalled for an unprofessional for it to finally sink in. He actually used to have "aggressiveness" put on his yearly work review which was crazy IMO. He is really mellow now by comparison.
Since I mentioned Bruno, I will give an update on him. He is doing MUCH better and has actually started up all his puppy-ish behavior that gets on my nerves. But I'm happy he is doing better even with his constant crying if DH leaves the house without him (he LOVES DH and whines/cries almost every time he leaves a room) his biting up of anything anyone leaves anywhere (he has devoured a cheap SpongeBob toy that Elle found as she wailed in cries and tears) and his constant bright eyes and tail wagging and trying to bound through the house like he weighs 10lbs LOL. He also loves to lick people, everywhere, hands, legs, arms, face, he will lick it. He is still kind of skinny, but looks like he has gained about 5lbs back as I can barely see his hip bones anymore and his belly looks a little thicker. DH was happy someone mentioned how big and scary he was yesterday on their walk. It is always funny to me that people think he looks scary because he is just a big ole puppy that if someone breaks in, he will lick the mess out of them lol! He also is VERY people and dog friendly and just loves to play. Mr. Hyde stayed in the house more than Bruno because Bruno will tear up a house if left unattended. Plus Mr. Hyde, even though he was a sweet dog and very gentle too, would bark if someone came up on the porch and he had what I call a "deep voice." Bruno has a whiny, puppy bark IMO in comparison so I don't even think he will scare anyone with a bark. But he is usually pretty big, he normally weighs about 80-85lbs and he is very stout and muscular. Because he was in such bad shape when he went to the vet they wanted to hold off on giving him the 2nd shot for heartworms until the end of this week, so he will be going on Monday for the second and Tuesday for the third heartworm shot and hopefully after this, we will be through with his treatment.
08-30-2012, 08:34 AM
08-30-2012, 11:30 AM
Despite DH's many shortcomings, he has never taken his frustrations out on Mira. I'm not sure what I'd do if he did. That must be hard for you to watch and deal with, Bridget.
Erin, I'm really happy to hear that Bruno has rebounded. I hope he pulls through the treatment in reasonably good shape. I'm pretty good with doggie body language, and rarely intimidated by dogs, especially larger ones. There are ones where I have a tougher time reading them, and where the breed tendencies make me cautious right off the bat (Presa, Chow Chow), but most of my dog trouble have come at the hands of little dogs. It is usually an owner issue, not a dog issue though, where the owner thinks it's awfully cute that fluffy is trying to eat my large dog, or humping/peeing on someone's leg.
I had a meeting this morning at Mira's school. Don't know if I said anything, but I found out last Wednesday, from the assistant in her class (I still haven't heard a thing from the school administration itself) that they are moving all the 2 1/2 year olds on up into a new pre-primary class, setup for the 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 year old set. I was upset that I had to find out this way, and given what happened over the summer where it was a constant battle getting her ready for school, unwilling to subject her to that. The meeting was with Katherine, her toddler teacher (that we both love), the new assistant in that room, the teacher in the new pre-primary room, and the new director of the school. It turns out that while they are initially starting the class at the 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 year old level, the plan is to keep the kids with the same teacher until they are ready for kindergarden, so no more transitions until she's 5 (YAY!). The ratio in the primary rooms is 1:10, but this will be 1:8 (YAY!), because there will be kids there that are under 3. We are going to take this as a gradual transition, the same way that we did when she entered the toddler room. My initial thinking was that she can go back to her toddler room and then be transitioned from there, but they did make a valid point that it might make the transition more difficult, since she does not bond with or trust new people easily, and having an 'out' might keep her from getting used to the new teacher. So, we're going to play this one by ear, and I'm kind of hoping that we won't have to go through a full week of transition like we did last time. One thing that the rest of the folks do not know is that the assistant in this class (who is transferring from Mira's toddler room, so she knows her well) is 2 1/2 months pregnant, and will be leaving some time in February/March. Hopefully, she would be well bonded to the teacher and won't have a meltdown. One thing I forgot to ask is if the teacher will be around in summer. If not, I might look for a school/program where the teacher is year round, and she won't have to go through more transitions. I stayed to chat with Katherine, and she told me that she has talked to the new teacher (who has no toddler training) about being available, approachable and making sure the kids get the warm fuzzies, so that has eased my mind a little bit. Just keeping my fingers crossed that this would be a lot easier than the summer has been.
08-30-2012, 11:38 AM
08-30-2012, 12:04 PM
Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarding. Some dogs just like to hear the sound of their own voice (Shelties, Beagles), and then it becomes extremely hard to break the habit, because it is more hard wired and sometimes, by squashing it, you're squashing some of the enjoyment they derive from life. For others, it's an 'Danger!' sort of alert thing or barking due to being scared, and of course, whatever they're barking at goes away, so of course they are likely to repeat it. IMO, it is beneficial to figure out which category your dog falls into, and react on the basis of that.
For the alert barkers (Pan is one; it was deafening to have a Great Dane barking in your ear every time a leaf moved, and we live surrounded by trees), it is important to let them know that you've got a handle on it. Basically, I would let her get out a woof or two and then say 'Thank you. I've got it. Quiet.'. You can train it by teaching the 'quiet' command (which involves teaching the 'speak' command first), then using it at appropriate times. The ones that are barking because of being scared, it is important to do more socialization, so not everything is new/scary/worth barking at. Work under their barking threshold, far enough away from whatever the scary object is that they aren't likely to bark, and work on closing the distance. Basically, sit outside with the dogs (or stand at the side walk or outside the grocery store or whatever would give them ample opportunity to bark), and reward them for appropriate behavior (for instance, they see a kid on a bike approaching, keep stuffing them with yummy treats as long as they are behaving). If they do start to bark, the stimulant is too close, so increase the distance and try again. Over time, they will come to regard whatever the scary thing was with OMG! YUMMY TREATS and therefore, less likely to react in a manner that won't get them yummy treats. While I prefer to work with R+ or P- (positive reinforcement or negative punishment), I am not averse to P+ (positive punishment). So, a well timed squirt of water, for instance, can interrupt the barking, and then you can introduce the positive reinforcement when they are being quiet.
I would work with one dog at a time, before trying them both out together. Once they each understand the rules separately, it becomes easier to manage them when they are together, and less likely to feed off each other.
Last edited by Suja; 08-30-2012 at 12:55 PM.
08-30-2012, 12:51 PM
Jennifer, you asked Suja for advice, but I can tell you what worked for us. We had (and still sometimes have) a barking issue with our dogs with relation to their guarding behavior. At our old house, we had the biggest problem with the fence. Our dogs would bark the ears off of anyone who came by, and they are LOUD. We tried a few things, but what seemed to work most was pennies in an old can of diet coke. We called it the "shake can". The problem with barking behavior is that much of it is instinctual, so it's difficult to disrupt the habit if you can't get the dog's attention and it's tough to grab their attention when their instinct is to behave like Tasmanian devils. And really with dogs, to break a bad behavior you have to catch them in the act; lecturing after the fact doesn't make the connection in their heads. So we waited for someone to come by the fence (our house was across from a school, so that didn't take long), and as soon as they started barking, we'd shake the can loudly to get their attention. Then once we had their attention, it was firm "No bark! Shush!". Once they got quiet, it was all love, strokes on the head, "Good shush." and all that. That taught them what it means to shush. They still go crazy in the house when the UPS guy drives by, but I don't much care for him either since he once tossed a box containing a camera over our fence, so I feel like they're just speaking for me. LOL. ;)
It's harder with 2 dogs, isn't it? I found that our dogs taught each other bad habits when they were still juveniles. Lulu was not a guarding-barker until we brought Cayo home. Cayo was not a digger until Lulu showed him how fun it was to dig a pit and wallow in the dirt. She also taught him to pull on the leash. The dogs still instinctively try to race each other when we all go for a walk together and have to be reminded to heel. When we first go out the gate, they pull like the dikkens. Then again, Cayo makes Lulu feel more bold. She'd never go swimming without him, but can't let him have all the fun splashing by himself.
I still try to give my dogs one-on-one time because they're each more relaxed when we're on our own and they feel like they get special attention.
I have to confess - I feel like I'm talking like I'm the dog-owner of the year right now. The truth is, when Bodhi was born and I was nursing him round the clock and obsessed with all things "baby", I badly neglected the dogs... for nearly 2 years. I almost never walked them (except when Cayo had his surgery, needed to be exercised, and DH was at work); walking/feeding them was left to DH. I practically ignored them, sometimes sending them away if they wanted to be patted. I really disappeared on them and I still feel pretty guilty about it. Thank goodness for their forgiving natures. They still seem to love me.
I have to remind myself not to do that to Bodhi if we have a second child.
Regarding the angry daddies topic, I'm sorry to hear about our DHs/DBFs' hot-headedness. My DH can be a grump too. Sometimes he asks B, "Why are you crying?", in a way that sounds like he's saying "WTH is wrong with you?!?" I think he sounds demeaning at times. And I feel like he sometimes physically disciplines Bodhi too forcefully. What I mean is that, when Bodhi isn't listening, he grabs him roughly and plops him down for a time-out, and when he speaks to him during the time-out, he has a true angry expression on his face. It scares Bodhi, who then can't learn why a behavior is wrong if the only message he gets is that it makes daddy mad. You can't focus on being the parent/grown-up/instructor if you're too pissed off to think about what's going through your kid's mind. DH has actually started to rehearse changing his anger into concern. I gave him an audiobook CD of "Screamfree Parenting", so he can hear from someone else why it helps to focus on his own emotional reactivity in the heat of a moment rather than B's. I don't agree with everything the book says -there are a few religious references that were completely unnecessary to make his point - but I like a lot of the points that the author makes.
You guys let me know if any of you'd like to get your hands on the "Screamfree" audiobook. I can make that happen. You could share it with your your respective angry daddies. DH drives a lot when he goes to his clients, and that's ideal time for listening to something, so an audiobook wasn't as tough to sell. He was definitely more receptive than if I'd put a paper book in his hands. I'm not perfect either, btw. I still scream, and then I end up having to apologize to Bodhi for losing control of myself. The other day he was pooping on the toiliet, and he was pushing so hard that he started peeing like a fountain out the front of him, getting it all over the floor. I yelled "Stop!". And when he wouldn't (because at that point, I thought he was entertaining himself), I yelled more angrily, "STOP!". Bodhi had this deer-in-headlights look on his face. I didn't realize until then that he simply couldn't stop himself at that moment, because he was preoccupied with eliminating out the other end of him. And maybe it was a little scary that he didn't have the bodily control to stop tinkling, since it looked like I was mad at him for something his body was doing. I felt really guilty. I wiped up his mess with a towel and while we he was still on the toilet, gave him a huge hug and said I was sorry for getting angry. I knew he didn't want to make a mess, but his pushing made his pee-pee come out too, and that I was proud of him for making a poop on the potty. I still feel crappy about the way I reacted, though.
Suja, that's really great that Mira's going to get to keep the same teacher from now on. Bodhi is a pretty flexible kid, but when the main teacher had to go out of the country for a month because her mother passed away, it badly affected him. He refused to nap at all and was driving the substitute teacher to drink. That was around the time we took him to see the naturopath for what we perceived were problems with attention, hyperactivity and night terrors, but after the fact, we learned from all the parents that all the kids were having problems with Miss Amelia being away. They just love her so much. I swear she has a way of hypnotizing the kids. She has a way of calming all the kids down and lulling them to sleep at nap time. It would be a huge transition if the school were to ever lose her. So I hope she gets to keep her same teacher during the summertime too.
Last edited by demigraf; 08-30-2012 at 04:41 PM.
08-30-2012, 12:53 PM
Ha, Suja, we posted at the same time! I like the way you let the dogs know you've got it under control.
Last edited by demigraf; 08-30-2012 at 01:09 PM.
08-30-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm gonna go make me some Shamrock Shake (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/201...hip-milkshake/). I was wondering whether to throw in some Tofu or not. Maybe I'll try half with and half without and see what happens.
OMG, that was GOOD! My child actually drank it. Both versions are great. I drank half and froze half for later.
Last edited by Suja; 08-30-2012 at 01:27 PM.
08-30-2012, 01:36 PM
Oh Cosmo definitely likes to hear the sound of her own voice. She will usually stop if we tell her to knock it off. Molly doesn't bark that much yet and we are trying to keep it that way. She is the alert barker so will do it if she hears or sees someone outside. On walks it is the worst. Walking is fairly new to her. I don't care so much is she alerts me to someone in our yard (or something in the case of the coyote one day). It's when there is someone in their yard 5 houses down that I don't need to know about. I could try a shake can outside in the front yard, not sure if I could keep it quiet on a walk though.
OH they definitely teach other! One reason we got a puppy was so Cosmo could help us train her. LOL Cosmo is a really pretty awesome dog (not the greatest leash walker but that was because we didn't do much of that and she's better now that she's 9 yrs old and a bit pudgy). Cosmo listens, knows tons of english and body language and can be trusted off leash in our yard (with us out or at least watching her out the patio door). Molly is smart and learns stuff she likes very quickly....but so glad that we have the electronic fence because when she gets that nose to the ground, it is iffy if she will even look at me when I call her. If she looks at me, she most likely will come when called unless the nose goes down again. There are a few other things too where we just keep being persistent. Molly is a stubborn little thing. I'm in the bathroom and pretty much everytime she will go up and lick Cosmo's face so it's a no leave Cosmo alone (mostly because I don't want her licking her eyes as Cosmo is a lot more prone to infection from the steroids). Than she sticks her face in the bathroom garbage. No get out of the garbage. She doens't take from it (only has twice since we have had her) but her face is always wanting in there. The other is the dishwasher. If dishes are dirty almost every single time I open it, she's there trying to lick a bowl or fork.
But on the other hand she's never destroyed anything of ours, doesn't dig (neither does Cosmo), and is very sweet and friendly. Molly is a little more independent....she loves attention but will go play on her own and is more comical. Cosmo is very attached to me and it's only been since we got the puppy that she will go and lay on her own (though in the same room as me). Outside Molly will be trying to catch a moth....Cosmo is either right next to me or at the patio door waiting to get back inside....she's my princess girl and likes inside a lot.
Mylah, I don't think that you would ever ignore Bodhi when the new baby comes. and now you have Bodhi to help make sure that the dogs get lots of attention.
Jennifer, 35, DH 36
08-30-2012, 04:47 PM
Quick question: Do/did your kid(s) have a "drop everything" phase (e.g. crayons rolling off the table, sippies full of milk knocked over, toys dropped out of hands while sitting in the car seat, accidental letting go of food that is on it's way to the mouth)? If so, at what age did they/will they grow out of it? Is it normal to just be inattentive & uncoordinated at this age? DH & I keep reminding Bodhi to pay attention, but things still just always end up on the floor that aren't meant to.