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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Video: Aha Moment

I've been working with Bo to teach him to differentiate between the 'drop' command and the 'release' command. When we give him the command to drop, we want him to drop what is in his mouth on the floor or ground. When we give the release command we have our hand on what's in his mouth, so it gets released in our hand rather than dropped on the floor or ground.

We use drop when he has something we don't want him to have. For example, sometimes he tries initiating play with a sock, hat or pillow -- things that are not toys. We use release when he is bringing us an object that we cue him to retrieve. For example, a juice box or a scent stick.

Up until recently, he had been dropping balls regardless if we gave him the drop or release command. Last weekend, when I was practicing with him inside the house. He retrieved the tennis ball, came to me, held the ball in his mouth and waited for my response. I put my hand on the ball and said release. He immediately released the ball into my hand.  It was a true aha moment for me. He got it -- he demonstrated his ability to differentiate between the two verbal commands despite having an object that he had previously been accustomed to drop upon retrieval.

We continued playing the game. I tossed the ball and he retrieved it each time demonstrating his ability to differentiate between my command to either drop or release the ball. It was a wonderful feeling seeing the results of our training and practice. There is nothing like an aha moment to provide inspiration and encouragement to keep going.

In this video, Bo we are practicing the release command with a scent stick that doesn't have a live scent in it.

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