Archive for January, 2021

Struggles with Zachary

Posted January 28, 2021 By kmarrs

While this is a sweet photo between a girl and her dog, I wish it were the full story.

Ziggy is turning aggressive. He spends the bulk of his time as sweet as can be, but every now and then it’s like a switch has flipped and we can’t find the trigger, whatever it may be.

He started obedience training this week. I’ve paid for 4 private sessions so we can put our best effort into helping him be his best self. Hopefully we see progress, because if he continues to be aggressive I have to put the safety of my kids first. I love this dog and he helps Sammy feel safe and secure, but my kids are a bigger priority.

On the lighter side, while playing fetch with a ball doesn’t seem to be working, because he won’t return the ball, we’ve discovered that he’ll happily wear himself out chasing a lazer pointer so long as there are regular treats to catch for his effort. I’m hoping the exercise works to calm him. That would be nice.

We also learned he is good with other dogs, so the dog park will eventually be an option.

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Zachary

Posted January 21, 2021 By kmarrs

Meet Zachary! He’s high strung and mouthy but he’ll settle in. Need to train him out of chewing on people as a sign of affection. But it is affection and not aggression. So we’ll work with him.

So Zachy is a year old pretty much exactly. And whomever he lived with before did like zero training during the crucial training time.

He likes to chew on hands and arms to play and I need to break him of that. We’re responding like a hurt dog would, crying out in pain and going limp in the arm and it sometimes works. We’re also distracting with his favorite toy. But with the idea that he needs to play with people, we’re also teaching him fetch as a safe outlet for play with humans and a release of energy.

He is a chewer in general. We’ll work on that next. For now certain bedrooms are off limits and Sammy’s lovies are living on the top bunk.

He’s also having accidents inside. Of both types. He’s being taken out every 3 hours almost around the clock but we need to step it up to every hour or 2 as long as someone is awake. We’ll also start dispensing treats and praise when he goes outside. And shame him when he has an accident inside.

Then of course we’ll work on basic commands. I think I’m going to enroll him in obedience school. I was planning to train him at home, but I think we might need help. The catch is everything is closed because of covid. So we’ll work with him in the meantime and see what happens. I’d just really like him to learn leash manners and recall so the 9yo can walk him solo. That is a ways off but it’s a goal for the future.

We took on a challenge of a dog with special needs and I had an idea of that going into it. He’s a good dog and he means well, he just had bad humans before. I refuse to fault him for that even as I strive to correct him and train him. He’ll be a fine ESA dog with some work. He’s already made Sammy happier. So the future is bright.

I figure most the people in this house have special needs of one type or another. We all need a little extra help and love. So I have love and patience for a good dog that needs extra care. It’ll pay off in the end.

It’s like… ok…

My 13yo chews to stim. He used to chew on charging cords cuz good stim texture. Drove me crazy. But I discovered stim chews necklaces and keep him supplied (his current one is shaped like a sloth. Sloths are his current Special Interest.) and as a result he’s stopped chewing charging cords.

So I’m going to directly compare to the dog that chews. We’ll teach him not to chew humans and other things and we’ll keep him supplied in his favorite chew toy, and it’ll work out.

Both autistic kids and poorly trained dogs, while not generally comparable, do require extra patience and consideration as to how you can meet their needs safely. In this, there is no difference.

Please know 2 things.

1. I would not trade my 13yo for anything.

2. Unless this dog becomes aggressive and my kids are in danger, I will lovingly teach him better habits. And would not trade him for anything.

I love with my whole heart and unconditionally.

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Serotonin Boost

Posted January 14, 2021 By kmarrs

Sammy is majorly obsessed with snails. Just really seriously obsessed with snails. She is a Weird Girl with a capital W and I love that for her. Also, I have a local friend who breeds snails, among other things. So for a very small amount of money I was able to hook Sammy up with a couple of snails and an enclosure. Sammy had a serotonin boost this week that’s for sure!

(I gave them too much food. I’m still learning how much they eat. Don’t @ me with how much food is in there. When it starts to go bad I’ll pull what’s left out and give them fresh food but less.)

There are 3 of them in there. 2 adults and an adolescent. They are good little buggers. I’m rather fond of them myself.

Sammy spent the first couple of days terrified she’d do something wrong and kill them. Especially when they stopped moving long enough to sleep. But she’s mostly worked through that anxiety now and is really enjoying having them.

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