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

Sunday, June 16, 2013

An Afternoon of Mini Golf

Training at a mini golf course.  
Bo joined Austin and Kylie for a game of mini golf today. The course was busier than usual due to a dad's play free promotion in honor of Father's Day. I worked Bo, while Austin and Kylie played. 

I was impressed by how well Bo did given all the distractions. Not only were we feet from crowds of people, there were also rolling balls, erupting water fountains and highway traffic. Despite all the activity, Bo remained focused and calm.

Early in our visit, a dad with two young girls asked what job Bo was being trained to do. When I told him he was being trained to sniff out high and low blood sugars, he pointed out the OmniPod insulin pump on his youngest daughter's arm. It was nice to share what we are doing with Bo with him and his daughters. Austin also got a chance to see the new smaller sized pod the little girl was wearing.

Treating a sit stay.

As we moved through the course, I used the environment to work with Bo on various different distractions. The most obvious being the golf balls. At one point, we were at the bottom of a hole that had a steep slope. I had Bo in a down stay and he watched the balls come rolling down the hill.

There were a few fountains throughout the course, as well as a running brook. Bo seemed like he wanted to get into the water, so we practiced 'leave it' near those spots. The course is situated near a busy highway and the noise of the traffic was audible everywhere on the course. I was happy to observe Bo remain calm when motorcycles with throaty exhausts or loud trucks drove past. I treated him liberally throughout the entire session.

He had many eyes looking at him as well as the occasional young child who would walk by and screech ' doggy' with delight.  I took a video of Bo to show the distractions that were present. In watching it, I saw my mistakes. I had Bo parked but watching the video made me realize I should have had more slack on his leash. I love watching videos of training sessions just for this reason. It lets me see things I wouldn't otherwise have noticed in the moment.  Video URL


  1. You're doing a super job training Bo. I realize this is the first DAD that you're training but prior to this did you ever do any dog training?

    Your observation about using videos to see the training session better hit home. I'm a quilter and I use photos early in my quilt design process to help me see *mistakes* or to *see* how the quilt's colors & patterns are working or not working. Videos and photos allow us to step back and slowly take the piece in.

  2. Thank you for your encouraging words. No, I never trained a dog before Bo. I work with a trainer who is highly skilled and credentialed, as well as highly available and supportive. She has been by my side every step of the way and she is truly a gifted individual.