Ben, Week Four Progress Report

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It’s hard to believe Ben has been with us for a month. Four weeks ago, he came into our home in a red-zone state. Today, he’s playful, he listens well, he’s understanding basic commands much better… He has his issues, yes – and a couple of them may never resolve – but overall, he’s been making phenomenal progress. He’s a much happier dog today than he was when he arrived. And he is so, so loving… and compassionate… and gentle when he needs to be…

Things are rather hectic around our house right now, and I haven’t had a chance to get more videos or photos of him working. I’ll try to rectify that over the next few days.

Ben is making excellent progress. He can now eat in the same room as Glimmer without having to be controlled by a leash. He is also showing excellent impulse control and patience: Glimmer is fed first. Ben salivates and shakes from over-excitement when she starts to eat, but he works very hard to control himself and go into a sit position without being asked. Then, he focuses on me and waits for permission to eat. A month ago, this behavior did not exist.

One of Ben’s bigger issues involves small children. I’ve been working on this with him by lowering myself to his level to approximate the height of a small child. So far, he’s been doing really well with the exercise. He gets very nervous and he does a lot of lip-licking and yawning, but so far, he’s handled the exercise fairly well. He hasn’t growled at me or even lifted a lip in warning. I’m going to continue with this exercise; it’s critical to his success as a family dog that he learns to be calm and quiet around small children, and that he learns to go to his safe place when he starts feeling nervous or anxious about them.

Ben is also showing tremendous improvement with the kennel. He still gets anxious when he’s put into it during the day, but the intensity of that has calmed down considerably. He’s progressed to the point where he can be kenneled for about 30 minutes – without a bone to chew on – without becoming so stressed that he loses control of his bladder or bowels. This is absolutely phenomenal. I’m continuing to work with him on this to help him associate the kennel with calm relaxation as well as safety when he’s feeling overwhelmed.

Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay calm and lead on…

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