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

Friday, February 7, 2014

How We Differentiate Alert Types

This is how we differentiate between an alert, non-alert, false alert and missed alert and how we handle each one.

Alert: An alert for a high or low that falls within Bo's alert reward range. For a low, it's a blood sugar of 100 or lower and for a high it's one of 173 or higher.

Bo is heavily rewarded for alerts. He gets high value food rewards, as well as physical and verbal attention. Sometimes he will also get a game of tug or fetch depending on the time of day and where we are at the time of the alert.

Non-alert: No alert during a check and Austin's blood sugar is within his target range or above 100 and below 173.

When we check Austin and his blood sugar is in his target range, Bo does not get any reward . It's just business as usual.

False alert: An alert and Austin's blood sugar is not in Bo's low or high reward range.

When we get what we think is a false alert we rule out an issue with the test strip by testing with a different meter and different test strips. If the second meter doesn't validate the alert, we will consider insulin on board intended to treat a high versus IOB to cover carbs eaten and we will retest in 15 minutes. If we determine Austin's blood sugar is not in Bo's reward range we consider it a false alert and we do not give Bo any attention for the alert. We ignore the alert behavior he is giving.

Missed alert: No alert from Bo but Austin's blood sugar is within Bo's target low or high reward range. We use missed alerts as training opportunities. We will have Austin blow on Bo and give him a high value food reward for showing him the appropriate alert based on Austin's blood sugar.

Bo is young and he is learning his job. It's our responsibility to help him understand his job and teach him when he is supposed to alert. He has given each one of these alerts over the course of our journey.

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