Kaiden loves Benny! And Benny loves Kaiden! In our therapy session this week I wanted to introduce a more active Benny so I brought his hula hoop. After spending a little time getting comfortable with Benny and getting puppy kisses, Kaiden worked with his therapist on a game with Benny lying close by. Focusing on the game while the dog is close by is a challenge for Kaiden.
Kaiden still gets nervous if Benny gets too close, but he is learning to “use his words” and tell Benny “Too close.” Of course when Benny hears this he backs away!
We had Benny do a few new behaviors before bringing out the hoop. He is learning to play Hide ‘n Seek and Peekaboo. We cover his head with his blanket and say “Where’s Benny?” He can pop his head out but to work with Kaiden we preferred to have Kaiden lift the blanket so he could use his hands.
Benny is a very smart dog. When he is covered with the blanket and has to wait a while for the magic words, he knows enough to stick out his nose so he can breathe! So out pops his nose and then he remains covered for however long it takes.
Then I showed Kaiden how Benny is learning to give sweet kisses when you blow on his face! Kaiden loved blowing and when that little tongue came out to kiss, he screamed with joy. Once we had played this game for a while, I brought out the hoop. I told Kaiden we wanted to teach Benny something new, how to jump through the hoop. So we started with Kaiden going through the hoop to show Benny it was not scary. Back and forth the little boy walked and ducked through the hoop.
Then we guided Benny though the hoop with his leash. Kaiden squealed with delight with the little dog started to hop a little on his own.
Next thing to tackle today: stairs. Kaiden walked Benny to the physical therapy room and walked Benny up and down the stairs. This took a lot of balance for Kaiden as he was holding the second leash the whole time. Good job!
Kaiden is getting very good at using his words with the right commands for Benny. “Chill” means sit. “Let’s go” means we’re moving. “Stay” means wait for me to catch up with you. And “Pancake” means lay down with your legs splayed out behind you! A favorite of Benny’s.
And today Kaiden had to untangle the second leash quite a few times so it didn’t wrap around Benny’s legs.
And today we introduced “Crawl” and Benny did crawl a few steps for Kaiden.
We lastly took Benny for a walk outside. It is important to establish routine and rituals so we always end our session with Kaiden walking Benny to our car and watching him be put into his car seat.
Overall this was such a special session. Boy and dog continue to bond and develop a very trusting relationship.
And Kaiden is self-soothing and learning that he has the power to control his emotions and behaviors. Thank you Benny for showing us how dogs can assist in a variety of therapies in so many ways.