0:15 -Child who is purposely leaning with his weight against his harness and the dog's harness causing the harness to twist and pull on the dog. This is a growing child imagine what will happen as the child grows, the dog ages and this behavior continues. Just because a dog's has fur and thicker skin than a human does not mean the dog does not feel the harness strapping pull or become bruised by the heavy pressure on the strapping. The child, too, must endure the pull and weight of a full grown dog around its tiny waist.
0:25- Child is at the end of the tether pulling and looking away from the whole situation behind him.The dog is looking away from the child and the training. For dogs averting one's gaze is a method of showing and diffusing stress. Signs of Stress Checklist A dogs may also attempt to use a section of canine body language called Calming Signals to diffuse a stressful situation. Learn about dog body language
"Just 'cause the dog isn't moving doesn't mean he's calm. Just cause the dog isn't biting you doesn't mean he likes you"-From Jean Donaldson, renowned trainer and dog behaviorist in the dog body language video.The trainer is this shot is not interacting with the dog in any way for holding its down under such pressure i.e. no verbal praise, no physical praise (petting), or coming closer to the dog so it feels supported by the trainer.
0:31- Child is leaning against the dog and pulling on the tether with such force the the dog's neck skin is being forced up and forward by the harness. The dog is digging it's nails in an attempt to stay put as its trainer asks while displaying three common signs of stress in dogs panting, squinting eyes, sideways or "owl ears".
0:42- Again, the child is at the end of the tether making it all but impossible for the dog to lie down as it has been cued because the harness is pulling so hard. Again, imagine what this type of pressure is doing to both the dog and the child's bodies at the harness points.
0:48- The Child has finally moved into the same space as the dog and is attempting to interact with it by pointing and asking it to go forward. The dog puts its head lower, with sideways ears unsure and looks at the trainer for what to do. How is a dog that is trained not to respond to the child's requests ever going to develop a good relationship with the child? Why would a child want to continue to interact with and share space with an animal the will not respond to them? Interaction/response/feedback to and from child and dog are cornerstones of relationship build between any dog/human pair. You throw ball, dog fetches it and bring it back, you throw ball again. You talk to dog, dog comes toward you. You scratch a good spot, dog moves closer for more.
1:08-1:40 Child begins to wander forward and the trainer cues the dog to stop and lie down. As the down turns to lie down, it immediately begins giving stress signals flattening its ears, licking the end of its nose, and refusing to follow the cue. The trainer steps forward to issue the dog a correction on its pronged collar and get the dog to lie down. In the meantime the child had time to step back into the shared space with the dog; however, the trainer is still working on getting the dog to lie down so no one takes the opportunity to reward the child for coming back to be with the dog by allowing the child to continue "walking the dog". Instead the child becomes bored waiting and begins, again to pull at the tether with all his weight and strength. This not work so the child takes hold of the tether and wraps it around him self as he pulls for more leverage.The dog makes a valiant effort to stay put as his trainer wants and pants with stress.Again, the dog is released to get up while the child is still pulling against the harness, a missed opportunity to teach both child and dog that a slack comfortable tether will allow them to walk on.
1:48-1:59- The trainer once again cues the dog to stop and down. The dog is hesitant and the trainer is so focused on making the dog do it that another opportunity to praise the child for turning and patiently waiting for their new friend is missed. Another opportunity to build a cooperative partnership and bond between child and dog is missed. So, again the child takes a step to the side and begins pulling an the tether lead and the dogs harness.
2:01- 2:06- Both the child and the dog are showing sign of discomfort.the child readjusting the belt on their waist and the dog gives a jaw popping stress yawn.
2:34-2:36 -Child is forcing their way forward dragging the dog that is being held back by the trainers leash attached to its pronged collar. No opportunity it taken to stop the dog at the pulling or address the child that it should slow down and wait for the dog. These are opportunities that could be used to build trust and cooperation between the boy and the dog rather that the adversarial relationship that is shown. Children with autism are not uncaring as some seem to believe. They can learn and respond to feedback. This child is clearly engaged at points yet the opportunities allowed to pass with no engagement of the child.
2:48- 3:02The child is again upset the dog has stopped and is pulling at the tether with such force the dog's harness is coming up off of the dog's back while dogs displays the stress signals of panting, squinting eyes and flat ears. As the dog does not respond the pulling the child continues pulling and bouncing against the tether, begins to fuss and whine (all the while adults in the background are laughing). he comes to the side of the dog and hits it with his hand on the way around. No one address the child about not pulling on the dog like that, or when he hits the dog. The only tell the child "He's gonna get up when Jen tell him too." More opportunities to create that companionship gone by the way side, sadly. The child is powerless to affect his environment in this situation and so is the dog.
3:04-3:06 Finally! The dog and child are walking along. The child is talking to the dog and pointing saying "Let's go right there Caleb." The dog in response turn to look at the child and moves closer. This get a hearty "Good Boy Caleb!" from the trainer in the background. Instances like this are far too few for both dog and child in this video. Will we see more like this?I hope so.
3:07-3:11 in the video the child begins to pull away from the dog again, but no one takes to the child. Instead, the say in the back ground "Go ahead slow him down." then you see the dog, Caleb turn and pull as he hears the cue "Caleb, down!" as the child whines and pulls away more. The child cries and says what sounds like "No, come to me." Caleb is unsure. He hears the corection "No,down!" from the trainer sits and lets off a full mouth stress yawn followed by panting. No adults are addressing eith the child's stress or the dog's at this time.
3:12-3:21 The child gives up on trying to communicate with the dog and goes to negotiate with the adult in the background. Again no attempt is made to communicate with the child about why they were made to stop walking and how he could avoid being forced to stop so much in the future. The Child says "why mom" and points at the dog that is now in a down clearly wanting to know why the dog stopped. The adult responds simply, "It's okay, bud, we're going." She never answered the child's question though. The child continues moving at the end of the tether, pulling on the dog while negotiating with the adult to "walk faster" while pointing forward. No one is address the dog at all with any kind of attention for holding its down during all of this. The dog is a non-player at the goal in going forward for the child at this point. The dog could be a monster truck tire at this point and the goal of keeping the child there would be accomplished just the same.
3:22-3:26 The adult in the background is telling the child "it's okay, when aunt Jen tells Caleb, we'll go." Meanwhile, the dog perks up to listen to another dog barking in the background. Another missed opportunity to engage the child about why Caleb stopped, what Caleb does to keep himself from getting bored while waiting. Instead, we again tell the child he is powerless to change the situation no matter his behavior or who he talks to.
3:30-3:52 Child and dog are allowed to start walking again and as soon as they take of the child and dog begin a tug of war through the tether forcing each other the this way and that. The is constantly correct for pulling or going too fast, but no adult address the same behaviors in the child at all. The adversarial nature of this relationships lives on. No one is encouraging the child to interact with or talk to the dog as they walk showing the child that keeping the tether loose and listening to mom or dad's directions means that he and Caleb can keep going and enjoy their walk.Service dogs need feedback from the person they are with if they are going to have a lasting bond and drive to be with them. Children and handlers of any age need to see their service dogs as a help, not a constant frustration if the partners is to last as well.
3:59-4:02 Caleb and the child are walking along side by side with the child happily chattering away at the dog. At the that point Caleb is simultaneously admonished with an"Easy!" and a hearty "Good Boy! " from the trainer. Again no one address the child's good behavior at all or takes the opportunity to engage him and ask what he and Caleb are discussing so intently.
4:18-4:20- Caleb becomes distracted by something in the environment and pull hard left to investigate eliciting a surprise "whoa!" from the boy as he is know off balance a bit. Good thing the dog stopped. That pavement would made for a nasty fall, since the harness means the child cannot let go.Dogs, even well trained ones, are still dogs and will respond to things they find interesting.
4:30-4:35 Again Caleb is told to stop and down amid the frustrated and confuse cries of the child. The is still not told why the dog stopped. Another teaching moment passed for the child and his frustration left unaddressed.
4:38- 4:44-You hear a male voice in the background say "I think that I'm we didn't go with that harness idea, because I think that it would have been such a high center of gravity it would have pitched the kids over." This quote show they recognize that the dog and tether connection can pose a danger to the child.
4:45-5:01 Caleb takes off fast and begins to drag the child garnering uncomfortable squeals from the child and hurries admonishments from the trainer to "easy, easy!" No adult is connect to the dog by leash at this point. I was scared the dog might choose not to stop dragging the child with them.The child, upset, begins to reign the dog in by the tether pulling and jerking with visible force on the harness. The dog is confused and looking for it's trainer who tells hims to "sit".No one is addressing the child at all who is now frustrated again at having to stop for some reason. A man in the background address the child finally saying "I know, it's horrible isn't it.?" Again pitting dog and child as adversaries in this tug of war rather than the friends helping each other they could be.
5:03-5:29 The Child's frustration boils over to out of control because Caleb will not move. He cries, screams and pulls with such force and might I am terrified as I watch the whole harness begin to come up and over the dog's head and shoulders! Will they be able to catch this child if he succeeds in pulling the harness off the dog?What will the do if he does get lose,send the dog to chase him down and tackle him? I am an adult and I love dogs, yet I would be terrified if a big dog like this was running me down. I could only imagine how scared a child would be and this is a dog they have to live with. The mom and the child fight over the dog with the mom trying to get the dog down and the child pulling saying "mine, mine" over and over. No one attempt to talk to the clearly frustrated child at all. The trainer is in the background with a worried tone saying" Oh! He's testing the equipment. He's testing the equipment."
5:29-5:46 There is an obvious edit jump in the video and the last 15 second of the video are of the dog and child walking along beautifully and again no adults have a word of praise for either team member on this great behavior.