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

Friday, December 26, 2014

Videos: Going to College

Austin and I took Bo to a local college campus this morning to get exercise and to practice loose leash walking. This video of boy and pup working together is wonderful and exciting because it demonstrates just how far they have come on their journey. 

What makes their work so awesome is:
  • Bo is walking at Austin's side with a loose letter 'J' shape in the leash. 
  • Bo is making frequent eye contact with Austin, which we call 'checking-in.' 
  • Bo's tail is high and wagging indicating he is content. 
  • Bo is not distracted by the loud equipment or men that they pass by. 
  • When Austin stops walking Bo goes into a sit without being cued and he sits on mark at Austin's left side. 
  • Austin is not talking to or treating Bo with food. 
What you see in this video represents two years of a true commitment to daily training, positive reinforcement, consistency, patience and determination. It's so exciting to watch these two grow up and work together as a team. 

Before we took this video we were exercising and playing with Bo the college green and on the outdoor courts. This is video of the boy and pup playing 'getcha' on one of the tennis courts. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Video: Christmas Morning Walk

Bo enjoys splashing in large puddles. He digs, spins and races in and out of them with pure excitement.

One of the best parts of our Christmas day was taking a family walk with Bo through the woods. We met up with one other dog and his person out for a run in the woods.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Video: Precious Moment of the Boy and His Dog

The other night Bo was alerting multiple times over the course of an hour as we worked to keep Austin's blood sugar from dropping below 80. Between one of the alerts, I captured this video of the boy and his dog. (Excuse the television in the background, we were watching Forensic Files.) 

Other pictures from the same night.

From 8 pm to 9 pm Bo was alerting low.

I Never Would Have Imagined

I never would have imagined how much I would enjoy raising and training this sweet pup. It's been hard work and at times it has been stressful but it has also been exciting and rewarding. The experience has taught me about a dog's capacity to learn, to work, to show loyalty and to be a companion in every sense of the word. I love this dog with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul. There is no other like our sweet, silly, smart Bo. 

Videos: Bo Retrieving a Juice Box

I have been training Bo to retrieve a juice box on command and today I took this video of what it looks like when I give him the 'get juice' command.

When I give Bo the command he sets out to Austin's room where we keep juice boxes on a low shelf. He retrieves the juice box, brings it to me and then drops it. Training Bo to retrieve a juice was pretty simple because he already knew the commands: get, take, bring and drop.

When I started training Bo to 'get juice' I put a small distance between me, Bo and the juice. It looked like this.

As training progressed, I added distance which looked like the videos below.

Get Juice Kitchen View

Get Juice Room View

Monday, December 1, 2014

Work Over Play

One of the many things that continues to fascinate me about Bo's alerting is how he will stop doing something he enjoys to alert. Tonight, I had a few toys out and was alternating between games of fetch, tug and 'getcha.' I had been tossing a toy frog for Bo to retrieve when all of sudden he stopped playing. I tossed the toy and he didn't go for it. Instead, he came to me and paw swiped my leg. 

(He had alerted high 28 minutes earlier and Austin was 190 -- Austin had recently finished dinner and had IOB so the insulin pump wouldn't allow me to give correction.)  When Bo alerted when we were playing, Austin was 251. This time the insulin pump allowed me to give a correction. 

After I took care of Austin and rewarded Bo for his alert, Bo went right back to playing.