Teaching Obedience

This is our last week before Kitten turns 1 year old.  We’re desperately trying to get those teeth through (who are we kidding.  Like we can do anything about it!), which have been annoying her for the past day or so.  We’re also furiously working on obedience, because this girl child is now tall enough to reach the counter (not things off the counter, just the counter itself), the door knobs and the gas range dials.  I know that she can’t light the stove, but she sure could turn the gas on and walk away.  Please tell me – why don’t the stove manufacturors make it a little harder to turn the stove on?  I would prefer it if I had to push a button and turn the dial to get the gas to come on.  Oh well.

Obedience is hard for us.  We’re not very good at being diligent.  And I’m not good at training/discipline for a child Kitten’s age.  She understands a slap on the hand, but is there something different we can do?  Telling her “no” doesn’t seem to be working (and I’m not interested in that being the dominant form of communication between us), she knows what it means, and will shake her head “no no no” while touching the object she’s not allowed to.  I don’t know if it’s possible that she’s reinforcing herself (touching Mama’s vase is a no-no), but it’s not like she touches the object, shakes her head no, and moves on, she keeps playing with it.  The only thing that she doesn’t get into are my books.  We have two large Ikea bookcases – and my books fill both cases, from ceiling to floor.  She used to pull my books out, but doesn’t do it any more, she looks, and will touch them, but mostly uses them to walk along that wall in our home.  This is acceptable to me – I don’t care if she touches the books, as long as she doesn’t pull them out, or rip the covers (there was one that was falling apart that she made worse). 

I don’t know.  She needs a consequence that will deter her enough not to continue the behaviour.  She doesn’t grasp the meaning of a “time out”, and even if she did, the only places that I could put her for an effective time out are her high chair or her crib – and I don’t want to associate either of those items with punishment. 

Does anyone have any experience they want to share on something that works with babies of this age?  I want to lay groundwork for obedience when she is older – I’m not looking for absolute perfection at this age, I just want to know that when I tell her to stop running towards the street that she will listen to me.  I do want to start now, so when she becomes 2 or 3, she won’t suddenly have a new set of rules or whatever.   

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