We reached a milestone in Bo's training this past week that encouraged and excited us about Bo's future as a diabetes alert dog for Austin. For me personally, it was a validation that the training I've been doing with him is working. At just 16-weeks-old, this week, Bo found a low scent sample hidden out of his view.
We began doing scent work with Bo when he was 8-weeks. It involved pairing Austin's low scent with a food treat. Sometimes the sample was in a small container and other times it was sandwiched between paper bowls, that had been modified to allow the scent to escape. This week, I hid the scent sample, in the container, on my body, and gave Bo the "find it" command. To my extreme surprise and delight, he found it!
After a several successful finds on my body, I removed the sample from the container and I hid it out of view under the edge of a rug. I then released Bo from his stay, brought him to the general vicinity of the sample and once again, gave the "find it" command. He did it! You might imagine the excitement we both experienced. He was happy to get his treat and I was blown away by what he had just done. We continued this game a dozen or so more times, and each time Bo was successful. The next morning, we tried it again and ever since he has been successfully finding samples hidden on my body, as well as in various location around the house.
We are spending a minimum of 20 minutes a day scent training and up to 30 minutes on days I'm not at work. It's a significant time commitment that requires effort to fit into early morning and late evening time slots, but the results are worth every ounce of my energy and every second of my time.