I mentioned yesterday that I think of Silas’s reactions on a 1-5 scale. I haven’t talked about it here–it’s an idea that’s just crystallized lately–so I thought I would elaborate a bit. These are my criteria:
- Notices something and alerts, but doesn’t bark.
- Barks once or twice, but is easy to redirect. Or, he just huffs and puffs, instead of actually barking with volume.
- More persistent barking, but moderately easy to redirect.
- Continuous barking, has to be physically removed from the situation.
- Hysterical barking/howling. Difficult to console or distract even after the barking is done. Often with prolonged whimpering/whining/sobbing sounds.
Level 5s are mercifully rare. I hate it. Mostly I see this with the cat howling in the middle of the night.
Level 4 is our regular “bad” reaction, as opposed to the nuclear meltdown of Level 5. Level 4 means there’s a cat on the garage roof. (The workers on the garage roof last week were somewhere between 4 & 5.) Sometimes the doorbell gets a level 4, if Silas is having a rough day. The landscapers can get pretty close to level 4 if I don’t manage the situation properly. If the cat only meows, instead of yowling, we may stay at 4 instead of escalating.
Some of our neighborhood noises are still a Level 3. With the medication, most of them have drifted downwards. If someone is screaming or laughing really loudly, we’ll get this. The doorbell is mostly a 3. Dogs barking on the sidewalk are a 3 sometimes. Squirrels are a 3 if they’re particularly tantalizing.
Level 1 and 2 are pretty random and variable, insofar as what might get a little bark on a bad day will get no bark at all on a good day. This category is mostly things like the wind blowing tree branches. Loud birds. Well-behaved-but-not-silent people on the sidewalk. “Scary” objects, like clothes hanging in a weird place. Dogs barking outside who for whatever mysterious reason don’t merit a Level 3. I often don’t even know what this stuff is, since I do not have Silas’s supersonic hearing.
The biggest difference in Silas post-medication is the frequency of all these. Pre-medication we could easily hit fifteen separate incidents on a bad day. Yesterday? Two, and one was the doorbell.
Do you have a scale? How is it different from mine?