November 15, 2017

Autism Service Dog Tracks His Boy

We’ve worked on tracking nearly every day we’ve been training at 4 Paws. I hope we never have to do a real track, but our reality is that Brandon has a high risk of elopement. Heaven forbid we lose Brandon or he exits our home or his school and takes off, Bing will help us find him. As you can see in the first video, Brandon is fast. In the second video you will see see Bing tracking Brandon!

November 11, 2017

Brandon and His Autism Service Dog Walk Through The Mall

Today was an exciting day.  Brandon has had a rough couple of days behaviorally, but today was much better.  With Bing, we've been working on tracking, tethering, and commands such as sit, stand, heal, down, and under (lay down under a table).  When we sit down to eat a meal at the hotel, Bing goes right under the table and lays down with no prompting.  It is obvious how frequently and consistently he has been trained.  He is so easy to manage in public.  We have one amazing dog!  I am so thankful my husband chose 4 Paws for Ability for us to go on this journey with.

We went to the mall today as part of our training, and Bing was perfect.  Lots of people stopped to ask us questions about Bing, and we were more than happy to answer!  Everyone we talked to asked us if they could pet him before doing so, which was great!  We do allow people to pet him, as long as he stays in the command he is in.  So, if he is in a "sit," and someone pets him, it's fine as long as he remains in a sit.  I am relieved that this allowed because with as many people that stopped us today, someone will inevitably pet him without asking, and he will be used to it.

Below is a video of us walking through the mall.  You can't really see him in the video, but the person I am talking to is Bing's trainer.  For the first time, Brandon was able to walk through the mall without having to be strapped down in a stroller, or be stuck with me having a death grip on his hand.  We rarely go to the mall.  I mean, almost never.  It is way overstimulating.  It's loud, there are lots of people, and Brandon will only tolerate being strapped in a stroller for so long.  He is six years old, after all!

November 8, 2017

First Day of our “New Normal” with Bing

We are starting to get in a routine, and so thrilled that Bing now gets to be a part of that routine by coming back to the hotel with us every night. I got in touch with a woman who fostered Bing, and she sent me these photos of him as a puppy!

Today at training, Brandon was whining, unable to communicate what he wanted. I asked, “Stroller or play?” as I pointed to the stroller, then the playroom. He clearly said “Bee!” (aka Bing). I was blown away. Shocked! Thrilled! Overjoyed! We immediately started giving Bing some treats. There were smiles all around.

I promise to get more pictures and videos of Brandon and Bing in our hotel room, but we have just been soaking in all the love tonight and I haven’t gotten very many pictures.

November 7, 2017

Two Days of Autism Service Dog Training Under Our Belts

Well, we are now on day two of twelve days of training.  Yesterday, at our first day of training, Brandon melted down right away. It wasn't a severe meltdown, but he did bite himself and was crying for about an hour.  That probably sounds severe, but the crying was not astronomically loud, and he was not trying to injure me.  In fact, he didn't want me to leave his side.  I had pulled him to the play room right off of the large training room at 4 Paws, and we decided to lay on the couch together and watch Miss Spider on YouTube.  If I moved an inch, he grabbed on to my leg in a panic that I was going to leave him.  

What caused this anxiety for him?  I can only speculate that part of the anxiety was that we were in a large space with lots of people and noise.  He had never been here before, and perhaps he thought we were going to leave him.  

I was heartbroken. Yes, I always feel bad for him (and sometimes me) when he’s  having a hard time, but I feared he was going to miss his special moment meeting Bingo.  Thankfully, as you can see in the video in my last post (here), he enjoyed meeting and feeding Bingo.  I didn't get the first second reaction, because I didn't want to miss the moment myself trying to get a video.  So, that video is a few minutes after that initial meeting.  They were both moments James and I will never forget!

4 Paws has a pretty cool playroom that has been a necessity for us to take breaks from the training room. It has also allowed Brandon to run around and play, making it easier to limit screen time. We break for lunch each day for an hour, but we’ve spent most of that time in the car.  As much as I can’t stand eating in the car, Brandon needs that quiet time in his safe place in his car seat. We tried going into Chipotle today, but he wasn’t having it. He is perfectly content to be in the car!

Tomorrow we get to bring Bingo back to the hotel room with us! I will also have some more pictures and video of Bing and Brandon working together in the coming days as we move toward more complex commands and training.

November 5, 2017

Brandon Meets His Autism Service Dog for the First Time

The moment you’ve all been waiting for...Brandon meets his autism service dog!

We Made It: Day One

We made it! We believe we have thought of everything we might need for this 12 night trip to train with Brandon’s autism service dog, Bingo, but only time will tell! Brandon was a little cranky about the long trip, but overall he was fine.

We are staying in a hotel suite. As you can see, we brought his swing with us, and I am so glad we did!

We meet Bingo tomorrow!

Grab My Button