Ben, Week 5: Progress Report
Happy Boxing Day! It’s hard to believe that in just five days and one minute, we’ll be starting a brand new year…
Ben has been doing an awesome job with all the food distractions he’s had to deal with over this past week. He’s put his feet on the counters a few times to get to the things that smell good to him, but not nearly as often as he used to. In fact, I’m finding that all I have to do is give him a stern look and clear my throat a little, and he immediately puts his feet on the floor.
We are still working on stopping him from jumping on us and at us when he gets really excited. However, he’s been showing a lot of improvement. He’s been responding really well to the marking phrase, “be calm”, so we’re going to continue using it.
Ben is still invading personal space, but he is starting to show some improvement in that area, too. For example, in the kitchen, he tends to get underfoot. The second he gets too close, we point backwards while walking towards him and tell him “go”. We’ve reached the point with him that we only have to do this a few times before he finally stays out of the way. It’s a vast improvement from how he was when he first came to us nearly six weeks ago.
Where Ben’s eating habits are concerned, I am very happy to report that the rate at which he eats has significantly decreased. He is no longer wolfing his food – and he is doing a phenomenal job of waiting his turn at meal times. Glimmer is always fed first – which was very difficult for Ben to deal with when he first came to us. Now, nearly six weeks later, he feels secure enough that he automatically goes into a sit position and waits – without being asked – for the signal to go ahead and eat. It really is quite amazing to see how far forward he’s progressed.
Where play time is concerned, Ben is still getting very mouthy with us, and we still have to control how much we play with him. He gets so excited with toys that his prey drive takes over and he growls and snaps at us. This is an ongoing issue that only time and consistent instruction and correction will resolve. But, we’re getting there: When he first came to us, we couldn’t use toys for play for more than about a minute before he would growl and snap at us. Now, we can go for about 5 minutes before his body language shows that his prey drive is taking over. The second we see that shift, we stop the play – which effectively ends the exercise on a positive note – and start using calming techniques that help him come out of the glazed-eyes state he gets into when he’s too excited.
We haven’t had much opportunity to work on the walk. The weather has been really bad, lately, and the booties we got for Ben keep sliding off. He’s really good about wearing them; they just aren’t good at staying on his feet. We don’t have a treadmill [we can’t afford one], so I have to wait for the snow to melt and the ground to warm up a bit before I can get him out for a good walk.
Ben is turning into a most amazing boy. He is loving and sweet, he is surprisingly compassionate, he’s becoming a secure, confident boy… We really do love him, and we know that when the right forever family is found for him, he’s going to make his new family very, very happy.
Have a wonderful day, everyone, and remember: Stay calm, and lead on…