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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Video: Bo Chilling at the Piano

Bo will hang out beside Austin's piano bench when Austin is at the piano. Tonight, Austin was playing crescendo and it was a bit loud for my noise sensitive ears but Bo didn't seem to mind. Last night when Austin was  practicing a classical piece, I observed Bo appearing to enjoy it. He would close his eyes when Austin played and then open them when he stopped.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

We've Got an AKC Canine Good Citizen

We did it! We passed the CGC test.
Bo passed the American Kennel Association's Canine Good Citizen test this afternoon. We have been training Bo in preparation for this test since we started our first level II class late last year. I was anxious as we drove to the test. My anxiety had more to do with my worry that I would mess up handling him and less to do with my confidence in his ability to pass the ten test items.

We were the first ones to arrive at the testing site -- a city park sprinkled with adults and children enjoying the beautiful day. Once another dog and handler team arrived, we got started with the first test -- accepting a friendly stranger. Bo sat comfortably as our instructor's assistant walked up to me and said hello and then walked away, only to walk back and ask to pet Bo. The test moved swiftly from that point on and I praised Bo generously each time he completed an item. The last test was a supervised separation. I had to leave Bo with a friendly stranger, walk away and stay out of Bo's sight for three minutes. This was the hardest part of the test for me. I couldn't see what he was doing and the three minutes felt like ten. When I got the okay to return to Bo, the instructor told me he had passed.

I felt a great sense of pride with the news that he had successfully passed. This feeling of success and accomplishment wasn't because the CGC is a really hard or prestigious test that only select teams can take and pass. To the contrary, the test is available to any dog and handler team and the test items represent pretty basic obedience skills. What really fueled my pride was knowing the time, energy and work we both had put in to get us to this point. 

For us, the CGC is the first of three tests we are pursuing as part of Bo's public access training. The other two are the AKC Community Canine, the advanced level of the CGC Program, and the Assistance Dog International Public Access Certification Test. We will continue our daily training, group training and one-on-one instructor guided training, as part of our goal to take and pass these advanced level tests. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

High Alert After Arriving Home from Being Gone

Austin wasn't home when I got home from work this evening. While he was gone, I did scent training with Bo inside and outside. I also ran him and used the lunge whip with him. When Austin got home, I brought Bo inside. After Bo greeted Austin and his grandmother, I observed Bo sniffing Austin. Bo's nose was tilting up toward Austin's head but touching his leg. Right after he sniffed Austin, Bo came over to me and alerted with a paw swipe. Austin then told me he had just eaten dinner out with his grandmother and that he was probably high. I checked Austin and he was 241. I rewarded Bo for his alert. Thirty five minutes later, Bo alerted high again. Austin was downstairs and Bo was upstairs with me this time. I checked Austin and his blood sugar was 181.