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. 


  1. I haven't checked in on Bo's progress for a few weeks. But I am absolutely amazed upon catching up with what I've missed. Great job, Jenn! I look forward to reading the newspaper article.

  2. Thanks MC! Bo is doing awesome with his scent training. We put a low scent sample on a friend last night, without Bo knowing, and had the friend sit on the floor. Bo came over to her and started sniffing and showing excitement and then narrowed in on the location of the scent and began pawing her. I'm confident he will be alerting on Austin very soon.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this journey Jenn! It is amazing and inspiring. Please send Auntie Tara a copy of the article when it comes out. :) xoxo

  4. I look forward to reading the article about Raising Bo! You guys are amazing :-)