Ben, Week 15

Ben has been with us 15 weeks today. He’s made excellent progress in most areas, and he’s still working on other areas. Greeting at the door is one area he’s still struggling with; despite how well he’s been doing with the “place” exercises, when people come over, he gets so excited to greet them and smell them that he forgets everything he’s learned and he rushes them. We are continuing to work on this.

I was told that Ben cannot be around small animals – which includes small dogs. To date, I haven’t really seen for myself why that is, but I accepted the information and thus, I have not tested Ben.  When we were at the vet the other night, an opportunity arose in which I could.  A gentleman came in with a pack of five (maybe six – it was hard to tell) small Pekingese dogs. Two of them were highly reactive and started barking and growling at us. One of them was lunging at the leash trying to get to us. Ben’s response was to stand calmly and quietly beside me. He didn’t even lift his lip. He kept his tail down and his body relaxed, and his ears were alert but back to show the other dog he wasn’t interested in fighting. He even looked to me for direction, and I rewarded that behavior with verbal praise and touch.  When the man walked his pack past us to leave the clinic, his dogs lunged, barked, and growled at us… and Ben just remained calm and quiet beside me and watched them leave the building. I was very pleased with Ben and rewarded him accordingly.

Because of the current situation (see this posting), working Ben is proving to be very challenging. I can’t work him in the house because Violet loves to participate in those exercises, and it’s too cold outside right now for him to do anything other than potty. But, while the search for a safe placement for him continues, I am continuing to try to find ways to alleviate the stress he’s carrying.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Ben is a very special case, with very specific demands and needs, and we are doing everything we can to help him move towards a more balanced state of being.

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