Dog training for KIDS

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Roz
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Dog training for KIDS

Postby Roz » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:31 pm

We have had our beautiful girl now for a couple of months and as she is just about to go in for her 16 week puppy check.

All is well and she is a bright, happy, healthy, mostly obedient girl.

The only issue we are really struggling with that is Dakota related is about the relationship between her and our high functioning Aspergers boy.

Normally I wouldn't spell that info out on a website but I think it is useful context and would love to hear from anyone else with kids on the spectrum who may have had similar issues.

Dakota and our boy LOVE each other. They are good mates and well to be honest as BAD as each other.

By that I mean that our boy encourages rather than discourages her bad behaviour. So for instance...the attached to ankles thing...he is terrible with it. Will say NO Dakota and stop but will laugh and flail his hands at her - which of course encourages her to jump up and nip at his hands.

Their most favourite game seems to be to wrestle on the ground together and this of course escalates until one of us big people steps in and sends them both to opposing corners of the room...which of course neither of them really take much notice of.

Our boy has scratches and bite marks on his hands because no amount of telling him to not let her bite him and not encourage her to bite him by putting his hands INTO her mouth seems to get through to him.  

He can also get a bit rough at times, so either it is as a result of their playfighting OR during transition times when he sometimes lashes out her with a flailing foot.  We are beside ourselves as we don't want either of them to get hurt.

We have tried teaching the boy to do some of the stuff we do to control Dakotas behaviour - but he just doesn't grasp it. We have even threatened to give her back to the people we got her off.  Luteba you'll laugh..I faked a call to Phoebe this morning telling her that the boy wasn't being nice and so we were going to give her back. Well there was much worry on our boys part so though I hate having to threaten him to get a result - it does seem to work...here's hoping it helps! I have even decided that if he keeps it up I will pop her to my dads for a couple of days so that he can see we mean business.

The biting thing is also a situation where I have had to resort to laying down a consequence he doesn't like. So we haev been telling him that if dogs bite people they can be taken away from their families and put into the 'naughty doggy pound' he doesn't like the sound of this but again we shall wait to see if it has any impact on his behaviour.

Don't get me wrong he LOVES her and she adores him...she cries when he goes away from the house and can't wait to see him in the morning...they are definitely both mostly as guilty as each other...but how to get him to behave better to be a good rolemodel for her...again another thing we have tried to educate him into.

Sorry for the long rant - I have been wrestling with this for a wee while and the Aspergers thing really does make it tricky as he just has a disconnect about it all.

If you have any tips for me - please share  :)

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Roz
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Dog training for KIDS

Postby Roz » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:43 pm

BTW - I bring this here because I have noticed that those that frequent this site are kind and genuinely want to help other members.


So again - any ideas, thoughts, advice etc etc greatly appreciated

OK so checking back in at 8.20pm to find no responses  - I guess this is a bit of a tough one and one that perhaps isn't within the realms of Spoodle posters experiences.... ;D

Was worth a try any how.

BTW - our boy has been very good with Dakota tonight - in fact almost ignoring her, has told us twice that we aren't allowed to let Phoebe have her...I think that faux call might have made rather a large impression.
Last edited by Roz on Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sl_simpson
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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby sl_simpson » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:39 pm

Hi Roz

I don't know anything much about Aspergers.  I wounder if there is anyone within the Aspergers network that has raised a puppy, a similar situation you have.  
Also another thought might be worth talking with a dog obedience person to see if they have had any experience with teaching children (with this affliction, I hope I don't ofend anyone by say this) dog handling skills.  When I had attened puppy classes at Barkly Manor they had children there as well learning the right way of handling their puppy, it might be worth talking to them and see if they might be able to help or know of someone that can.  

I remember seeing an episode of the Dog Whisper, Cesar with a child who had impaired mobility (she needed to use a walker) and had limited speech who was given a puppy by her grandfather for a birthday, as she very much loved the dog he had.  The puppy was a more lively (high energy) pup than one that he had previously raised and she found it difficult to take it for its exercise as it would pull her down the street creating a dangerous situation for the both of them.
Cesar address the issues by showing her how to be a pack leader.  He used a calmer dog for her to work with initally so that she gained the confidence of working with a dog, and taking it out for exercise. She learn't how communicate what she needed the dog to do for her in part by having a more commanding boady language.  Once this was acheived they introduced the other young dog on one side of her and her walker with a back pack on and the calmer dog on the other.  Both with her new skills, a job for the young pup to do (carring the back pack) and a calmer dog along side, over what seemed like a realivly short time the young dog learn't what was required of it.  I think that's mostly what I remember of the that episode.
I realise you have a different situation but it might not be a completely impossible situation.  
He has a web site and it may even be worth sending him an email and see what he might recommend.

I think that it is good you step in and stop the wrestling game.  It might be good not to allow them their wrestling match at all and any other situation where they play rough games together especially if he ends up with scratches and bite marks.  Definately be present with them any time they play together so that you can stop this play immediatley and remove Dekota out of the situation addressing them both, of it being inapropriate.  

Can you stop Dekota from the play and call her away from your son  when they are in full swing, by using a hissst sound or other type of command?  
Maybe see if you can address Dekota a bit more so that see learns to leave that situation.  Reward her with a treat when she stops and comes to you.

You mentioned the threat of his dog being taken away seems to have kerb the situation for a while.
It may sound harsh but if it is helping, what would be worse is the pup continuing this behavour with other children and seriously hurting your son or another child.

Anyway all the best.  I hope you find a good solution for you all with out having to giving Dekota away. :)

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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby amymac » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:44 pm

This sounds tough. Without knowing the full ins and outs I will say a few things but feel free to ignore anything that does not apply to your situation. Also I'm not a parent so I might be talking rubbish.

I'm not sure this is just an Asberger's thing as I think all kids can behave like this around animals. My 20 month old niece loves Riley but she still gets jealous and has hit him in the past. Luckily he didn't realise she was trying to hurt him because he had never been hit before. I have also seen her tease her cat. Her parents are very sensible and do step in and talk about the cat's feelings being hurt etc etc. But it is hard to teach an under 2 year old to empathise and it must be difficult with your boy. The concepts are quite tricky and winding up their pet seems a bit of fun. I agree the Asperger's must make things harder to manage. I don't know how old your son is.

Have you read the book "A friend like Henry" by Nuala Gardner? The book is about a golden retriever who helps a little boy with autism. The parents talk to their boy using Henry the dog's voice. I wonder if that would work to help make Dakota's feeling known. Children are quite magical thinking and it might be cool to get to be Dakota's mouthpiece.

I'm also wondering if your little boy needs a role model on how to behave around dogs. Perhaps an older child who has a dog for a pet and may be more of an influence than the nagging parents. (Depends on how old your son is - if he is really little then parents are still best, school aged they start to look more at peers for examples).

You sound like you are doing all the right things and repetition about how to behave correctly (for puppy and child) is the way to go. You will also find that Dakota gets more laid back as she gets older. Riley has been a real live-wire, just all over the place, couldn't sit still and at 6 months he started to mellow a little and will now sit still for cuddles. Luckily dogs brains mature quicker than humans so you may find your dog improves before your boy! Best of luck. Keep us posted on progress.

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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby amymac » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:49 pm

SL Simpson - I like your advice.
Roz - I agree that if Dakota is going to puppy school then it would be wonderful if your little boy could go along (assuming he can cope with this sort of outing).

When I first got Riley I read a book called puppies for dummies which had a great chapter on kids and dogs. Perhaps you could get this from the library.

And it would be great is Cesar wanted to come to NZ to see Dakota!

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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby Roz » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:42 am

Thank you ladies for your responses some very good ideas in there and I shall definitely try to get my hands on that book amymac - thanks for passing on that title!

I think for sure the threat of having Dakota given back to her previous owners has done the trick at least for now anyway.  He was very careful with her both last night and this morning - and mornings are the worst.  He got into bed with me and Dakota for our usual morning snuggle before we all get ready for school and work and he was very gentle and told me several times that Dakota won't leave us because he is being nice and gentle. There were no wrestling matches either AND Dakota seems to have responded also by spending the morning following me around as opposed to her normal thing which is to yap and try to instigate a game with our boy.

Love the idea of taking Ryan to dog obedience. I need to find one that will allow us both to come along and if at all possible one that is aimed at kids - fab idea about another kid as a rolemodel. He started school this year so yes we have noticed that mum and dads word isn't as exaulted as it used to be  ;D

Again thanks for the practical ideas and yes I will definitely get in tough with Ceaser -I just joined up to his site the other day and I am sure there will be some literature and experience of working with ASD kids and puppies.  Part of why we selected a spoodle was that we wanted that cross between fun, playful and cuddly - she is definitely a cuddle monkey but just not yet with Ryan and he desperately wants her to snuggle with him in a way that he isn't having to hold her in place.  Happens occasionally but he just wants to shower her with hugs, kisses and love without getting mouthed.

Re concentrating on training Dakota to not do the bad stuff with Ryan, that's what we have started to concentrate on and yes - she does seem to be learning and adjusting to our corrections much more smartly than does the boy.  One of our boys challenges is that he has limited 'impulse control' so when he is all excited and worked up it can be like trying to stop a steam train in motion.  Dakota however loves the chockie treats so we are working on drawing her away from any wrestling matches with the positive food reward.

BTW - re the comment about giving Dakota away...HELL NO!!!! She is going nowhere and even just over the last week given her responsiveness to me and hubby and the boys keeness to ensure that we don't give her back to Phoebe we have confidence that things will improve heaps....we just want it to be all better NOW!

LOL yeah right eh?! I know, good things take time  ::)

Anyway thanks again for your caring and thoughtful responses - much appreciated

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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby strangefamily » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:24 pm

Hi Roz

Remember me?  We own Molly, Dakota's sister.  Some of what Ryan is doing is very kidish as my children have done the same.  I am a Special Needs Teacher so know some of the challenges having a child with Aspergers can bring.  Have you thought of doing a social story with him.  If you aren't sure, what these are, ask his teacher or Learning Support Coordinator.  How is he with understanding emotions?  Do visual supports help?  You could maybe relate how Dakota might feel to the pictures.  You will need very plain pictures of faces where the expressions are very clear.  Also relate how the wrestling makes you feel.  The Autism Association would probably have some good books or ideas for you.  I think it is fantastic that you have bought Dakota.  She will be a friend to him when the rest of the world doesn't understand and seems overwhelming.  I hope these ideas help.

Kim

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Re: Dog training for KIDS

Postby Roz » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:31 pm

Hi Roz

Remember me?  We own Molly, Dakota's sister.  Some of what Ryan is doing is very kidish as my children have done the same.  I am a Special Needs Teacher so know some of the challenges having a child with Aspergers can bring.  Have you thought of doing a social story with him.  If you aren't sure, what these are, ask his teacher or Learning Support Coordinator.  How is he with understanding emotions?  Do visual supports help?  You could maybe relate how Dakota might feel to the pictures.  You will need very plain pictures of faces where the expressions are very clear.  Also relate how the wrestling makes you feel.  The Autism Association would probably have some good books or ideas for you.  I think it is fantastic that you have bought Dakota.  She will be a friend to him when the rest of the world doesn't understand and seems overwhelming.  I hope these ideas help.

Kim


Hi Kim - yes I remember you - btw I would be really keen to see pics of Molly if you would be up for sharing :)

On the note of our boy they do love each other to bits. He was a bit distressed today over something and she was crying too and wanted to get into his room to see him. Despite his roughness at times she definitely sees him as her mate.  

A social story is a good idea and I talked with him today about writing a story so we will give that a go tomorrow I think.

Yes we think that Dakota is very good for all of us but it was a lot about helping him to develop and have a good friend too.

Thanks for your thoughts and good to know that you are a special needs teacher too! Always good to get ideas from experienced others in the know.


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