Ben, Week Six: Happy 2017!

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Ben has been with us for six weeks, now, and in that time, he has made astounding progress. He has been meeting new people – including children – he has been doing an excellent job practicing impulse control and manners, he’s been looking to us for direction instead of making decisions on his own… All in all, he’s been doing a phenomenal job at learning how to be calm, gentle, submissive, and obedient.

This video was taken on New Year’s Eve.  Ben was challenged with a variety of situations in which he had to practice being calm and polite, and later – which is not on video – where he had to trust us to help him when he started to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all the excitement.

There came a point at supper when Jake became overwhelmed and started having a melt-down. For nearly twenty minutes, the poor child cried and yelled uncontrollably. Tanya tried to console him, but he was too overwhelmed, and without Lacey there to help him, Jake was unable to help himself. To our great surprise, Ben came to the rescue.

Ben came to the edge of the living room, stopped, and then watched Jake. In less than a minute, Jake went from a state of uncontrollable crying and yelling to sound asleep. Ben remained where he was until he sensed the change in Jake, and then he looked to me for permission to check on Jake to make sure he was okay. I walked him over to the couch Jake was on, Ben sniffed at him and watched for a few seconds to make sure Jake was okay, and then he walked away.

All of us – me, included – were stunned speechless. I still have no words to express the myriad of emotions that went through me to see that kind of behavior from a dog who, only six weeks ago, came to me in a red-zone state. I wish it could have been captured on video, but at the time, having someone run the camera was the furthest thing from my mind.

Ben has had a lot of interaction with children over the past several days. Because he’s been doing so well with them, I’m going to be trying to involve them more often. Helping him learn to accept and be respectful towards children will open a lot more doors for him in terms of finding him his forever home.

Ben has faced and overcome a massive barrier in his rehabilitation over this past weekend. He only had one incident in which he became reactive to an adult male, but even that incident was nowhere near as intense as it would have been six weeks ago. All in all, the progress Ben has made is nothing short of absolutely amazing.  Our next challenge is going to involve meeting Lacey, who is smaller than him.  The meeting will be strictly controlled, and because it’s been reported that he has issues with smaller dogs, Ben will be muzzled for Lacey’s protection. Stay tuned for that adventure….

Happy New Year, everyone. Enjoy your day, and remember to stay calm and lead on… 🙂

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