It’s been awhile since i have talked about the amount of training that is involved with having a successful Diabetic Alert Dog. We are constantly working on something, whether it is reinforcing behaviors we already know, like the basics of “sit, stay, down, come, etc”, or working on scent training using low samples when our daughter is either away from the house, or at a good BG level, or doing something new and fun like Agility or Rally
We try and treat every thing we do as a training exercise, always looking for either a new scenario to work/train through, or as an already learned behavior that we can reinforce. We have been out to dinner with the dogs a bunch of times, but it isn’t something that we do daily. So every time we do, we are practicing and reinforcing behaviors like settling under a table, “leave it” in the case of old food or gum stuck under the table, and of course, hopefully alerting should there be a need to.
When we go to rally/agility class, we work on many things. Aside from the obvious things like jumps and tunnels, or the obedience work involved in rally, there are group distraction exercises that we do, socialization, and lots of handler training that takes place. We are also building and strengthening our bond, our trust with our dogs, and giving them some exercise, both physically and mentally. And we have learned that the more often we train, the better these dogs work.
Even when we get to do something fun and crazy, like hang out with Darth Vader, we are still working these dogs through extreme scenarios where they are expected to be quiet and non aggressive.