The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will Work for Food

Bo is learning the value of persistence by working for all of his meals and treats. If this conjures a picture in your mind of a pup on the side of the rode with a "will work for food" sign, you're not alone. That's what I first thought when I read about dogs working for their food.

Bo eating from his Kong level one food puzzle.
I learned however, it's a concept based on the idea that nature made dogs to hunt, scavenge and forage for their food not have it prepared and delivered in a bowl. Working for food involves the use of food puzzles, which require a dog to shake, paw, roll, nibble or lick the puzzles in order to get the food. A meal that would typically take Bo five minutes to eat out of a bowl, can take him 10-15 minutes to eat out of a puzzle. Persistence pays off when eating from a food puzzle. If he keeps working at it, and doesn't give up, he will be rewarded with a full meal.

Bo eats his meals in his crate.
Persistence is an important trait for a Diabetes Alert Dog because a person with a low blood sugar may not respond on the first alert. It could take multiple alerts and an escalation of alerts, before a response.  Using food puzzles is one way we are developing the trait of persistence in Bo.

How do you practice perseverance in your daily life? What drives you to keep going, rather than giving up?

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