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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Watching Out for Other Dogs While Working in Public

We worked Bo at the outlet malls this afternoon and the experience reminded me how important it is to protect Bo from other dogs.  We walked into one store and there was a dog and its owner in the front of the store. The dog was in a down stay and I noticed it before we opened the door to enter. I had my clicker and treats ready to 'click and treat' Bo past the dog. I had a tight heel on Bo. He saw the other dog and was doing fine until the dog got up and started walking toward him. (The dog's owner was not paying attention and did not notice her dog was breaking his down to approach us.) To Austin's embarrassment, I firmly exclaimed, 'Keep your dog away." The other dog didn't bark at Bo and the owner kept the dog from reaching Bo (once I said something) but the experience made me realize how important it is for me to always anticipate the worst and be ready to react. The idea of Austin handling Bo through such a scenario is scary to me because I don't know if he would be able to react quickly or be as bold with his words. 

Not long after this incident, we encountered another dog in the outside mall area. Again, I saw the dog in advance of passing it with Bo. I was prepared to 'click and treat' Bo past the dog. Bo was doing great and then the other dog started barking wildly and trying to make its way to Bo. That got Bo's attention and he stopped walking with me for a moment and looked at the other dog. He didn't bark and I was very happy about that. 

Overall Bo did really well at the outlet mall. Being the weekend before the start of school, the place was a mob scene. There were lots of multi-sensory distractions and Bo did great with all of them. At times, he pulled on the leash (the leash was attached to his Freedom Harness rather than his Gentle Leader)  but overall he walked 'with me' and represented service dogs in training very well.  When we got home he was happy to take a frozen, food-filled Kong into his crate and relax. 

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