I can't say he doesn't understand what he is doing. He is too smart for that explanation. Every time my husband or I say the word "scream" while discussing what to do about it, Goen gives off a quick screech. So I know he knows what the word means, and I know he knows I don't like it. The question is how to stop it, and then how to help him find other ways to let me know how he feels. A late-night Google search resulted in an article on AskDrSears.com that had a few helpful ideas I want to try:
- Modeling a softer voice
- Using sign language to cue a quiet voice
- Creating a mental match: screaming + outside = okay
I think the first one would work well, although I don't like their use of the term "nice voice" since this might create the association that screaming is a "mean voice." The obvious sign to use for the second is the finger-to-lips "shhh" gesture, but I think this one would work better in conjunction with another technique rather than alone. The third one intrigues me. When I mentioned it to David his first response was to worry that going outside every time Goen screams would be interpreted as a reward for screaming, but, as with everything, it depends on how it is done and how it is framed. From the article, it seems that the best thing to do is to keep the shift to outdoors short and then transition back inside where you mention that indoor voices must be used.
I'm going to try using all of these ideas over the next week (month?). I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities. And I hope they work, or I may just have to buy one of those ear plug dispensers they install in factories with lots of employees and lots of noise. Oh, please don't let it come to that!