Dog health | McDowell Mountain Ranch | Dog Autism 2
Doggie Autism? Ridiculous!!…or is it?? Part 2
William lay on the floor as I sat cross-legged beside him. Wearing his calming cap, William looked silly, but it allowed him a sense of calm and control previously unknown. The little mahogany dog gave a huge sigh as my fingers moved in gentle circles on his ears, applying William’s favorite tactile-touch technique—Tellington Touch.
This journey that William and I began together the previous year had finally brought us to this moment in time; a moment when the struggles, education and classes made it all worthwhile—I smiled as William snuggled close.
5 Tips to Addressing “Doggie Autism”
- Consult a behavioral trainer. Knowing what you need to address is part of the battle you face in addressing autism. Odd behavior, aggression, agitation or an aversion to people or touch may or may not be sensory-related. Consulting a professional will give you a wealth of information to work with: does this dog have sensory-related issues? If so, what is the severity and which spectrum are the issues on: touch, hearing, sight, etc? Once your dog is evaluated and this information is gain, you can begin to develop a plan for addressing the issues.
- Develop a structured schedule. Structure and consistency are important in effectively addressing autism. Develop a schedule and procedures for your dog, such as specific times to get up in the morning, exercise, a potty routine, playtime and bedtime, and stick to it!
- Develop a toolbox. A toolbox can be very effective in addressing autism. Fill your toolbox with things that motivate, inspire and calm your dog. William’s toolbox includes a crate with a cover, his favorite stuffed toy, his Frisbee and ball, Pet Jerky (his most favorite treat), his calming cap and of course his favorite Music Therapist, me, who uses both live and recorded music in the calming process.
- Become educated. Become informed on autism, including the current trends, techniques and treatments used that may be effectively adapted for your dog. Take classes that will teach you the skills you will need to effectively work with him—such as dog massage or Tellington Touch to address tactile defensiveness. Keep in mind, knowing your battle is half of what you need to win the war.
- Extend patience, persistence and forgiveness to your dog and yourself. There will be many failures in the journey that you and dog are going on. Patience and persistence are absolute necessities to winning the war and helping your dog become the dog you always knew he could be. Be patient as you traverse this process and be forgiving of yours and your dog’s failures along the way. Always remember, tomorrow is another day with a possible different outcome.
This is a journey of a lifetime for you and your dog. With an open mind, your dog will teach you as much or more then you will teach him. The experience will give you an opportunity to grow, learn and expand your capacity to give unconditional love.
Teri is a member of McDowell Mountain Ranch Vendors in Scottsdale and her business, William’s Gift, can be found here.