This manual covers my method of training diabetic alert dogs. It is not the only method that works. In general, I keep several thoughts in mind as I am working with a dog.
1.) We are always training the dog. Whether we realize it or not, we are always training the dog. Here’s an example…. Say I’m getting ready to let the dog out into the back yard. I walk over to the sliding glass door and the dog runs over and jumps on the door, then I open the door and the dog runs out. I’ve just told the dog that jumping on the door is a behavior that will cause me to open the door.
2.) Focus and self control are the goal.
3.) When I’m working with an alerting dog, I must give the dog permission to alert. Here’s an example…. I’m working on Down Stay with my DAD and she breaks the Down Stay. Before I correct her for breaking Down Stay, I must determine if her behavior is related to blood sugar. Is she coming to alert me?
I also find it helpful to clearly define my goals for the dog before I start working with the dog. What will my finished dog look like? Will the dog need public access skills? What types of situations will my dog be exposed to? If you find this exercise difficult, give me a call and I’ll be glad to help you through it. It can be difficult if you have not been around many DADs.
I like to think about having 4 separate training tracks that I’m working on simultaneously. Those tracks are obedience, socialization, scent work and play. So you can work on scent work and obedience at the same time. You don’t have to finish your obedience before starting scent work.