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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Parking Bo

Helen demonstrating how to "park".
During our training session with Helen last Wednesday, I learned how to "park" Bo.  It's a maneuver that teaches Bo to sit and go down and prevents him from jumping. The formal name for the command is the relaxed down but I much prefer the more casual "park."

I had the opportunity to practice parking Bo at dinner during Thanksgiving and at the football stadium today. I was happily surprised with how well it worked. I put my foot on Bo's leash to limit his ability to jump up and he went down and relaxed by my side in return for treats.

I also learned how to teach the wait command. I totally enjoyed watching Bo learn this command. It took him a very short time to learn what Helen wanted him to do. It was so cool to watch him figure out what behavior would be rewarded. You could see in his body language that he was thinking. His eyes were flinting back and forth between Helen and the food reward he was waiting to receive. His head was cocking slightly and his body posturing between sitting and down.

Learning to wait.
We will use the wait command when we need Bo to hold-on for a second. I am practicing by having him wait for me to open the door before approaching it and to wait for me to put his food puzzle into his crate before he enters. Helen explained the importance of releasing Bo from "wait" at his side, rather than at a distance. To my surprise, he is understanding that he has to wait for me to be at his side and give the "with me" command before he is released.

This smart little pup of ours, combined with Helen's AWESOME one-on-one training, makes me look like quite a skilled dog owner out in public. In fact, this afternoon at the football stadium a young boy commented on how "smart" Bo was because he was walking at my side on command. The boy exclaimed, "My dog is older and he would never do that. He would just pull me along." (Of course, I don't think the boy noticed the food treats that I was giving Bo each time he hit his mark on the side of my leg.)

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