Sunday, April 15, 2018
Yesterday, we watched the game from the balcony and Bo placed on his mat in front of me. When Austin finished his game and met up with us, Bo alerted immediately to a high of 200. Austin had been low going into the game and, not wanting to go low during the game, he ate 50 carbs without bolusing anything. As a result, he went high. With Bo's alert, he checked and corrected before meeting back up with his team.
We began teaching this behavior when he was a puppy and continued the training into his adolescents. Today, we reinforce the behavior with food rewards and praise. When we began training him to look to us when he encountered a distraction, we would say his name and when he looked at us, we'd reward him with food. Now, at five-years-old, he doesn't need us to say his name. He simply will see a distraction and look to me or whoever is holding his leash.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
We were seated in ADA seats at the mezzanine level of the school's large basketball pavilion. Bo was tucked at our feet and out of general view. The K9, working on a long lead, scented Bo and began approaching him. The dog's handler didn't realize what was happening.
We tried to alert the handler of what was happening and kept repeating that we had a service dog but what we were saying didn't seem to register with the handler because he didn't call his dog back or restrict the leash. As a result, the dog was able to continue his approach toward Bo. We resorted to body blocking with our hands and legs. If you're unfamiliar with body blocking, it's a technique to simply take up space to prevent a dog from doing so.
Bo didn't break his down stay and it was a non-incident in that regard but it rattled all of us, especially me. I ruminated over the incident for the rest of the game, as well as days after. I kept thinking about what I could have done differently. I came up with this list:
- If we're working in a space where K9 dogs may also be working, I'll approach a security officer when we arrive and ask that any K9 handlers be alerted to the location of our service dog team.
- I'll request the dogs' handlers not allow their dogs to approach our service dog.
- I'll also ask the event staff closest to our seats to keep an eye out for other working dogs and inform handlers that they're approaching a service dog team.
- And, while ADA seats were recommended because we were attending the event with a service dog, I'll choose regular seating in the future. The mezzanine was busy with foot traffic, Bo would have been better protected in the bleacher seating.
In the end, it came down to two handlers with their dogs' best interest in mind. Next, time I'll be better prepared for the unexpected. I'm grateful for Bo's training and his rock solid work; he exemplified a trained service dog beautifully.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
If the door is shut Bo can't get out of Austin's room to come to our room and alert. So, being the persistent alerter that we've trained him to be, he improvises. He will whine and tap his feet behind Austin's closed bedroom door. The noise he makes doesn't wake Austin but it does wake us. (He learned the whining and tapping when we used to put a gate at Austin's door at night to keep him (Bo) from leaving his room.)
Recently, we've been tweaking Austin's overnight basal rates in tiny increments. We haven't gotten his overnight number where we want it to be, so Bo's been doing a lot of night work -- sometimes alerting multiple times in one night. Last night, he alerted to a high of 170. The night before, Austin had a pod issue and he had a persistent high. Bo caught the high in the 200s and re-alerted again as Austin's blood sugar soured into the 300s.
Given, he works for all his food. He doesn't have a food dish. He is a healthy weight and gets the calories he needs but he isn't overfed -- a snack in the middle of the night is an incentive to get up and let us know when he smells a low or high.
Have a question about night alerts? Leave your question in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.
Sunday, January 21, 2018
I told Austin to take a snack and Bo got rewarded before I went back to what I was doing.
About 40 minutes later, while I was talking to Austin in my room, I got another alert from Bo. Austin checked immediately and he was 71.
Austin had not taken a snack at 85, instead he suspended his insulin. That wasn't effective. This time, I watched him drink a juice while I rewarded Bo with cheese.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Today, while Austin was downstairs watching a football game I sent Bo to find him. Bo had been with me and I wanted him to check-in with Austin. On my command, he left my side and went to Austin who was eating. He alerted to Austin before running upstairs to find me. Once he got to me in my room, he pawed my leg and bowed in front of me.
I didn't know he had already alerted Austin, so I told him we'd check and headed downstairs. Austin was in the process of checking by the time I got there. The meter read 55.
The work Bo does for us changes our lives. It makes our lives better. It keeps Austin safer.
Austin didn't feel the low. He had just finished lunch and was eating a yogurt when Bo alerted. He would have bolused for the yogurt if it had not been for Bo's alert. Instead, he took glucose and waited 15 minutes before rechecking.
Monday, September 11, 2017
|Bo ready to go to work at school with Austin.|
When I asked Austin how Bo did working in the cafeteria, he said Bo did good but not so good when they encountered spilled pretzels in the hallway. Bo got a pretzel before Austin saw the spill. Austin said once he gave the leave command, Bo complied and left the pretzels.
Leaving food in public is something we are continually working on with Bo. Ideally, he would not put his nose down to sniff food on the floor or ground. A service dog (SD) should not be going for food like this -- it's not safe for the dog and it's not good SD manners.
|Bo and Austin on their way into school.|
All in all, it was a successful day for boy and pup at school today.