We’ve learned that both of us have to practice at least three areas of discipline & socialization, all at the same time, to be able to do our best together!
Would you like to know how we train for our TRI-ARF-ALONGS? 🙂
Like we train for ALL of our adventures, activities & visits with our buddies:
- First, Benson & I have to master and continually reinforce basic commands, like heel, come, sit, stay, lay down, drop and many more.
- Second, we combine those basic commands with active play, drills & other activities to create positive behaviors. Benson & I create & study stringing commands, which eventually become building blocks of communication & interaction. We come up with new & more complex commands all the time, and practice multiple ways people might say or indicate through gesture those commands, so we can learn specialized skills. 1
- Finally, we take multiple breaks & always include periods of gentle, passive play–a very important third element. Gentle play for Benson (who is about 80 lbs now) includes many varied activities designed to relax and quiet-down. More importantly, to build in commands that allow others to indicate how they feel comfortable interacting with Benson and me. 2
1) Our active play includes: things like catch & fetch, find & retrieve, no-contact dancing & jumping, no-contact ‘shimmying’ up onto beds, chairs & designated areas for interaction, and “’Be easy!’ Tug! (of-war)” with ropes & ring toys. After a lot of practice, Benson is able to do many creative activities with other individuals under my supervision, and in demonstration with me—always under the supervision of a licensed doctor/therapist or other professional and myself.
For instance: Benson is learning how to pull or tug and lend resistance while another individual holds the other end of rings or ropes. Eventually, ‘Be Easy TUG!’ becomes a way to perform isometric or toning contractions with someone needing to rebuild muscle strength in a positive, comforting and motivating way. Playing this simple “game” can allow him, always under the supervision of a licensed doctor/therapist and myself, the potential to help someone with performing their physical therapy exercises.
2) Our passive play includes: no mouth/nose interaction, submissive postures like on his back belly up, and “no begging” meal companionship. We learn listening & practice calming manners, such as sitting for petting, brushing, reading, and performances! We practice staying quiet & attentive, but also being funny & goofy–laughing and just spending time together.
For example: Benson is learning how to respect how others indicate they want to be treated. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with mouths or face kisses (or can’t be touched for any reason) he has learned how to ‘kiss the air’ instead! He also practices lying beside someone being fed or eating a meal and behaving politely. He enjoys lots of quiet play, likes to read, watch TV, performances, and attend occasional worship services!