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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Working for Austin

Bo alerted to Austin yesterday while the two were walking on the street in front of our house. This is a big milestone on our journey for a few different reasons. First, it represents Bo's willingness to stop something he enjoys -- taking a walk outside -- to do his job. Second, it represents Bo's ability to generalize his scent training -- just as a low scent indoors equals an alert so does one outside. Third, it represents Austin's ability to recognize and respond appropriately to an alert from Bo.

According to Austin, the alert happened a short time into their walk. Bo had been heeling at Austin's side as the two walked up and down the street. Then all of a sudden, Bo stopped. Austin called Bo and when he did, Bo took one step forward and then pawed and bowed -- his alert chain for a low. Austin recognized the alert and turned back to the house.

I was surprised to hear the two of them back to the house so soon. Austin came bounding in the house with Bo and announced, "Mom, you're never going to believe it, Bo just alerted to me!" We checked and Austin's blood sugar was 74. We treated Bo wildly for alerting to his boy. We rewarded him with Dick Van Pattens' dog food roll, a new high value food reward we just started using last week, plus a game with his favorite toy and tons of love and praise. 

I took these pictures and video today when Austin and Bo were practicing loose leash walking on our street this morning.

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