The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Training in Public with Multiple Distractions
Bo and Austin taking a break from training at Lowes.
On Friday, we met Helen at Lowes for our training session with Bo. The purpose of this session was to provide Austin with instruction on handling Bo with multiple types of distractions. When we first got into the store, Helen had Austin put Bo into a down stay. She explained calming him in this manner was what we should first do with Bo when we are training in public. Once Bo was calmed, Austin began loose leash walking with Bo. It was so cool to see Bo checking in with Austin and walking at his side.
At Helen's direction, Austin put Bo in sit and down stays as he walked the aisles. Helen and I trailed behind the two of them and observed the great work they were doing together. Austin would stop walking, give Bo the down and stay commands, then drop his leash and walk away to look at a product. Bo stayed and for his obedience he received treats from Austin. There were plenty of distractions for Bo at the store including moving shopping carts, a walking toddler, materials on the floor, customers and workers.
Helen also showed Austin how to cue Bo to go down when he stopped walking. After a few times using a verbal cue to get Bo to go down, Austin tried it without a cue and Bo evenutally figured out what Austin expected him to do. The idea behind this lesson is for Bo to learn to "take a load off," when Austin stops to shop or talk to someone.
At the conclusion of our session, Austin and I met with a reporter from our town's local paper. He interviewed us for a story he is writing about our journey to raise Bo. Austin did most of the talking and let me tell you that kid can give one heck of an interview! (If you know Austin, this may not surprise you.) He was more articulate than I was. I just watched and listened to him as he answered the reporter's questions with confidence and ease.