It’s hard to believe that its nearly a year since a little bundle of fluff landed on my doorstep! (He came in Nov at 8 weeks old). He’s 1 years old today!!
In his first year he has learnt from the puppy basics such as toileting and the regular commands such as sit, down, stay to concept words such as which, where and is able to follow sentences/requests with several commands strung together. An example of one of more complex jobs would be coming in from walks, particuarly where we have taken Inca’s trailer with us.
First he’s pushing open the door, closing it behind us, bringing my chair to me, going into the spare room to get ready to help me pull the trailer back in, helping me remove my coat, he’s even helped Inca take hers off!!
He’s also been helping me undress everynight for the last month or so and seems to have grasped the concept of coming to tell me when he hears something. I was going to keep it just minicom ringing and smoke alarm, but he has developed a very useful one himself without any specific training! Several times whilst on the scooter he has nudged my foot usually its when we’re on a farm track and there was only us there when I asked him “What?” he looks behind us and EVERY time so far there has been a car behind us waiting to pass! I never specifically taught him this one but he gets very high value treats for this one as its a very useful one!
He does also sometimes still tell me things I don’t really need to know like a cat in the neighbours garden or came to get me yesterday evening as an helicopter was flying over low, so we still have to work on filtering which sounds I really need to know about. He does make me laugh.. he prodded me in bed once and there was a distinct smell that someone had ‘let one go’ (it wasn’t me!).. ‘who did that? ‘ I asked him, he turned and looked at Inca sleeping!
It’s made a huge difference having him from so young and him growing up in this situation as he has just learned everything as a daily routine. It is ‘normal’ for him to know both sign and my speech. I want him to learn both.. after all if I fell and broke my arm I couldn’t sign to him and on days when my speech is bad getting words out is difficult its really handy if he knows both. A whistle isn’t always helpful as you need co-ordination in your throat muscles to whistle and strength to get out any volume! .. sometimes I can get a sound out of a whistle but he also knows to recall to scooter or powerchair horn.
My only difficulty is as I don’t get alot of visitors he doesn’t always respond to other people’s voices if they tell him ‘sit’ etc. I know my voice is different when I can get speech out, sometimes I can get words out easy enough to start with but they aren’t always clear and the more tired my throat muscles get, the harder it gets for me to physically get each word out… other days just start like that and I struggle to call their names… but he’s getting so he can ‘read me’ well now even when I’m struggling to get words out or my arms are shaky/jerky so signs are not consistent. It’s gone beyond me just been his mummy or teacher, looking after him.. we’re starting to work as a team! GO TEAM ASTRA!!!