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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Video: High Alert from Bo

I was sitting at the dining room table this evening and Bo came to alert to me. He alerted with a paw swipe. I asked, 'What is he?' This is what I ask after he alerts. He is trained to alert with a paw swipe and bow if he smells a low and to alert with a paw swipe followed by another paw swipe if he smells a high.  When I asked 'What is he?' he gave another paw swipe. We checked Austin and he was 189, which is within Bo's high threshold for rewards. Bo got rewarded for this high alert and Austin got a correction bolus before bed.

One behavior Bo will give when he is alerting is the look that you see in this video when his head is resting on my leg. This is a tell tail sign that he smells an out of range blood sugar. He gives this look and head rest when he is waiting for us to respond to an alert. Over the course of our two year journey raising and training Bo, I've learned that having a successful DAD has a lot to do with paying attention to your dog's behavior patterns and understanding what behaviors are precursors to (or associations with) alerts.

For example, I can anticipate an alert from Bo when he does any of the following:

  • Breaks his place to come over to me;
  • Leaves (or drops) a food-filled Kong before it's empty and comes to find me;
  • Jumps off the bed and comes running out to me when he had been resting quietly;
  • Jumps off Austin's bed at night and whines at the bedroom door gate.

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