Ben, Week 14

img_0072  Ben has been with us 14 weeks today. He has been making steady progress forward in virtually every area since he first arrived. He still has a few issues that we’re working on resolving, but overall, Ben has made a nearly complete and total recovery.  Below are the lists of improvements he’s made or is continuing to make, and challenges we are still working on resolving.

Improvements

Walks nicely on leash
Comes when called
Eats more slowly
Knows basic commands and practices most of them on command
Waits for permission to eat
Learning to give space by going to the mat
Goes to the mat more often without being told to
** Learning to allow other dogs to play with toys and receive affection or attention

Challenges

Still rushes the door when people enter the house
Still drives other dogs away from food cupboard and kitchen area at meal times
Still mouthing and jumping at us when corrected for behavior noted directly above
** Still tends to force his way in when other dogs are receiving attention or affection
Still exhibiting anxiety when kenneled so that we can leave the house

Week 14 Observations

Ben is making excellent progress to varying degrees in all areas, but he is still struggling with some concepts such as sharing and giving space. I realize that this behavior is borne of excitement – he just wants to be part of things and he loves meeting new people. But based on his ongoing struggle to understand some concepts, it is my opinion that Ben’s ability to learn is somewhat impaired. Whether this is due to having been so badly abused earlier in his life is unknown. The point is that, in many ways, Ben seems to be a case of “arrested development”, so the effort to help him “get” basic concepts is greater and requires more frequent instruction, patience, consistency, and reinforcement than other dogs require.

Having said that, it must also be said that despite the learning challenges he has, Ben is a very loving, affectionate dog with a puppy-like zeal for life and a comical streak in him that never fails to make us laugh. He is very playful, he loves to run and jump in the snow – he prongs like an antelope when he plays in deep snow – he loves playing chase and fetch with the ball, and so much more. Challenges aside, Ben is truly a joy to have around.

Ben’s education will continue for as long as he is with me. When the right forever home is found for him, I will work with his adopters to help them learn how to continue that process with him.

Happy 14th week, Ben. We sure do love you….

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