Friday 18 March 2022

Team Henry: Expectations versus Reality - Nuzzling

Our expectations

We were also hoping that the Smart Pup would be trained to touch, nudge or lay on L to disrupt repetitive or disruptive behaviours, in particular when L enters into meltdown mode he punches his own face and pulls his eyelashes out. We were hoping that the pup would be trained to disrupt these behaviours.

The reality
Henry was giving lap lays to L the afternoon that he was placed with us. Within the first week, Henry had begun to pick up on the cues that L was giving prior to entering meltdown mode and was stepping in, calming L before the meltdown had even begun. The deep pressure from Henry’s head and upper body on and over L’s lap is enough to calm L. Henry picked up on body cues, perhaps chemicals that L was releasing, that we missed every single time.
Henry has been trained to nuzzle L's face when he is in meltdown mode to disrupt L’s self harming behaviours of punching his own face and pulling out his eyelashes. L has since started rubbing his eyes when he is anxious or frustrated, Henry has picked up on this and now nuzzles L's face to disrupt this new behaviour. This nuzzling is enough to distract L that he stops and begins cuddling Henry.

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