Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is there a back scratcher in the house?

It's the second full day of Alvin being here and I had a sudden sensation of feeling like I "won" against Alvin, which is clearly silly but it feels like a battle against fear and today I had a little victory.  Alvin has come physically close when I put my hand under his chin but he runs away when I try to raise my hand above his head or near his body.  I gave him a raw hide because that seems to be a good stress reliever for him and he allows me to sit next to him while chewing it.  I have wanted to find his "sweet spot" or area that he most enjoys being pet or scratched.  I knew I only had seconds to convince him it felt good and I didn't know for sure that it was going to feel good to him.  Part of me was wondering whether Alvin would like to be touched or if he had autistic characteristics of not liking to be touched or being very sensitive to touch.  Luckily I have been told that I am a good back scratcher/massager and so I went for broke and I won!  I got him and it was a great feeling!  Alvin enjoys touch!  This makes everything more promising.  We had to start and stop a few times but the raw hide was invaluable at providing Alvin with a physical outlet for his anxiety and gave him a distraction.  I am realizing that most of our work will need to initially be on the floor and there will need to be a lot of repetition. 

I left the dogs together for 10 minutes while I went next door to my mom's house and apparently that caused a difference in the dynamic.  I came home to Alvin nearly looping a hole in the floor and Timmie deciding that today is a good time to start Hump Fest 2011 and Alvin was the target.  Timmie is a chronic humper but for the most part he has left Alvin alone until I left the house and apparently Timmie took it as a sign that the party could start.  Much to Timmie's frustration Alvin was able to get away every time and I think Timmie got tired or too dizzy following Alvin on his loop.  What was most interesting is that Alvin clearly watches the other dogs and takes their lead.  When I came home Timmie and Stevie both greeted me by jumping up and generally being very excited, which began to excite Alvin.  I pet Stevie and Timmie and Alvin stood close and let me pet him for just a moment, ran a loop, and came back.  He repeated the loopy greeting several times.  I think Stevie and Timmie will be helpful models for Alvin and hopefully Alvin won't chose to emulate Timmie's humping propensities.

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