Our Austin trainer, Emmett, had his first session with a local family and their son. The son suffers from autism and mobility issues. Their SDIT is a Labrador Retriever named “Buddy”.
“I met with the family and their SDiT prospect, Buddy. Buddy passed the temperament and trainability test with flying colors! He is a 10 month-old lab that they purchased from a breeder some time ago and since then, he and their son have become bonded. Buddy allowed me to touch him all over his body and inside his mouth. He accepted treats from my hand. He has no history of aggression toward people or other animals. Buddy is able to “sit” on command. He is also up to date on all vaccines and is on monthly heart/flea/tick/etc. preventative. He makes decent eye contact but, being a puppy, his attention wanders – so that will need to be worked on.
No tasks were worked on at this session. We brainstormed as a team what tasks would be beneficial for their son. The family would like Buddy to be trained to help the son when he becomes upset (the child has significant cognitive disabilities). Deep Pressure Therapy and tactile stimulation are the tasks we have decided on for this.
As the child matures, they would like the team to be trained for bracing and counterbalance, as their son goes through periods of time where his stability is impaired. They are aware that Buddy cannot begin heavy mobility training until his joints and bones finish growing. He will start “light mobility” (being trained to retrieve objects their son drops or needs) in the meantime.
Buddy is very, very friendly, but his focus needs to be worked on. I believe this will be Buddy’s biggest hurdle while training. He is very curious about the world, but also very well-rounded. I see him doing good things for their son soon!
The family will continue to work on “sit” with Buddy. They will also work on “down”, “off” and “watch me” until they come back from their family vacation.”