|Barked: Fri Oct 26, '12 9:01pm PST |
|It's funny you say that, because I just watched a youtube video from a woman named Temple Grandin, and she said something like 'As an autistic person, I have the nervous system of a prey animal. My dominant emotion is anxiety.' I think there are interesting similarities. Animals and autistic people are extra prone to having their cerebral processes hijacked by the emotional/instinctive parts of the brain. Both engage in self-soothing compulsive behaviors. Both thrive on routine and are generally uncomfortable with change. But I really do think that affection can be learned, in humans and animals. I think most of the time it is even desired, but there are roadblocks, like fear, anxiety, and poor social skills. It helps to let the dog come to you, and not to ever initiate contact. Then you can give treats for sniffing you, then touching you with his nose, then letting you gently stroke his side, and so on. It will probably take some time, but the positive conditioned associations with food should help overcome whatever reticence or anxiety is keeping him away.
As far as the growling in bed, it's pretty normal for dogs to try that and see if it's tolerated, and if it's been successful at keeping you from moving, it's no great wonder he keeps doing it. I definitely agree that he should be in his own bed. It's not healthy for any of you to get a crappy night's sleep while letting the dog boss everybody around. If you can't stand to have him far away, put him on a pile of pillows next to the bed.
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