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

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vacationing with Bo

We took our first vacation with Bo this week. It was a three night, four day getaway to the beach. I was concerned about how he would do in the hotel, in public, at the pool and at restaurants. He surprised me with how well he did do. The following are some of the highlights. 

Boardwalk and Arcade

Our first stop was Hampton Beach for an overnight with Austin's Gramma at her rented beach cottage. We set-up Bo's crate on the porch and he seemed to make himself right at home. We walked him several times throughout the day and night to give him plenty of exercise. We crated him for two - three hours during the day, so he could rest while we went to swim in the ocean. On one walk, we took Bo up to the boardwalk. It was crowded with people and noisy with music, motorcycles and arcades He did great despite the number of distractions. When we took him near an arcade entrance, he entered without hesitation. It was super loud and chaotic and he didn't mind at all. In fact, we left the arcade because it was too loud for me. I think Bo would have stayed longer if it weren't for me being ready to leave. While visiting at the cottage, Bo alerted to me. Austin's number was 132, so we let Bo know his boy was good and we left his number alone. We rechecked Austin again shortly after and he was 137. I logged this incorrect alert just as I am logging the correct alerts.  (Note: When I log alerts, I include the date, time, BS number, where Austin was at the time of the alert and if Bo alerted to me or Austin.)  


We left the cottage on Monday for three days at the seaside town of Ogunquit. On the way, we stopped for groceries and new sandals for me. Conveniently, there was a Marshalls in the same strip mall as the Market Basket.  Austin and I took Bo into Marshalls to look for shoes and boy oh boy did Bo do awesome work. In the store, when I stopped to look at shoes, he went down and settled by my side without any command. He settled to the point of resting his head on the floor. I dropped his leash, gave him a stay command and shopped for my sandals. Austin was nearby looking at electronic gadgets and Bo stayed on the floor between the two of us. He broke his down stay after about 5 mins but went back to it on command and stayed until I released him. I was really surprised and pleased with his work in the store. He even rocked the check-out line, which had a display of dog items, as well the the eyes of two female shoppers in line ahead of us.

Ogunquit, ME

Bo did some of his best public access work while we were in Ogunquit. My plan was to exercise him heavily in the morning and then let him rest in his crate for 2-3 hours in the afternoon, when we went to the pool or beach. I brought his lunge whip, which was terrific to have. I also took him on walks and played fetch with him on the grass behind the hotel. The space was perfect because it was clean, secluded and quiet. The way the buildings were located, it created somewhat of a courtyard feel and I was able to let Bo run and play without the distraction of hotel guests.

We took Bo with us downtown both nights we were in Ogunquit. We used his gentle leader and we got to practice 'behind me' a lot on the crowded brick sidewalks, He got lots of attention from people on the streets and for the most part he did excellent ignoring all the direct eye contact and other distractions that presented. He did bark at one dog and its handler. The handler was approaching Bo and talking to him, despite my obvious desire to ignore her and keep walking. I believe if she had not done that, I would have been successful at helping Bo ignore the dog and person and passing without being vocal.

One day, we took Bo with us to a restaurant. He stayed under the table at my feet without any food treats for the entire meal. I was so proud of Bo and so grateful for Helen -- who has taught us how to train Bo for public access. We couldn't accomplish all that we have if it were not for Helen. 


Bo did alert while on vacation in Ogunquit.  He alerted at the hotel pool -- Austin was 78. Another time, I came into the hotel room where Austin was with his friend playing. When I sat on the bed Bo alerted to me. We checked and Austin was 69.  We treated Austin and Bo and then 30 mins after treating the 69, Bo alerted to me again. We checked and Austin was 82. These were the only alerts he had and he missed several highs. I'm noticing that Bo seems to alert on highs right at or near 200. The highs in the 300-400s seem to be missed. 

Our first vacation with Bo was a success and I attribute it to lots of planning in advance of the trip and lots of work at home on obedience and public access skills. It is looking very good that our sweet pup Bo is cut out for the work of a service dog! At just nearly 11 months, he is still young; we still have a long road of training ahead of us but what we saw on vacation was definitely encouraging. 

No comments:

Post a Comment