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Old 02-05-2017, 06:11 AM   #121 (permalink)
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Since Noelle is my first DAD, I was pleased when she alerted for the first time on her own, but even if she hadn't, I would have done exactly the same thing I did. Introduce low blood sugar scent, reward mightily for smelling it. Wear the scent on my body, reward mightily for smelling it. Now, Noelle taps my leg in response to hypos.

Not much in dog training comes along via luck. And if you get a puppy, you cannot guarantee a natural alert. Besides, a natural alert does not qualify as "individually trained" as per the Americans with Disabilities Act. So, even if you are lucky enough to have a natural alerter, you have to work at specifically training it.
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:01 AM   #122 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Click-N-Treat View Post
Since Noelle is my first DAD, I was pleased when she alerted for the first time on her own, but even if she hadn't, I would have done exactly the same thing I did. Introduce low blood sugar scent, reward mightily for smelling it. Wear the scent on my body, reward mightily for smelling it. Now, Noelle taps my leg in response to hypos.

Not much in dog training comes along via luck. And if you get a puppy, you cannot guarantee a natural alert. Besides, a natural alert does not qualify as "individually trained" as per the Americans with Disabilities Act. So, even if you are lucky enough to have a natural alerter, you have to work at specifically training it.
Well said! Lady Luck can be fickle, and she favors the people who make plans and keep working while waiting to meet her.
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:45 PM   #123 (permalink)
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My shiny new touchscreen insulin pump arrived in the mail. I think I'm in love.





No more batteries to buy, no more battery caps to buy. My pump charges via USB and even gets downloadable updates. Besides, it looks cool and less like a clunky pager.

Give it a few days and, like a new phone. The coolness factor will wear off and it'll just be my insulin pump. But, right now, I like it a lot. I don't like shots. I didn't like giving myself seven shots a day. It got depressing and stressful. Plus, I need more insulin in the morning than I do the rest of the day. If I gave myself the right amount of basal insulin for the morning, I spent the rest of the day too low. My pump gives me the right amount of insulin at exactly the right time and I love that.

And, even better news...

Noelle alerted to a low blood sugar in public yesterday! YAY! First time alerting in public. As usual, she noticed I was low before I did. By the time I got myself something to eat, i was in rough shape. But, it turned around quickly. Noelle did exactly what she was trained to do. That made me so happy, relieved, and proud, that I nearly cried.

However...

Noelle is turning into a flirt in public. Oh noes. That was bound to happen. People coo over how cute she is, and Noelle just prances and prances looking quite satisfied with herself. She's starting to get the idea that when we go out into public, people want to say hi. And Noelle is kinda, sorta, maybe looking forward to people saying hi.

Uh oh!

Well, like I said, that was bound to happen. You take a super friendly dog, and then train it not to say hi to people. Of course Noelle is flirting. So, I'm going to use the Look at That game to my advantage. Someone is cooing? Look at that! Permission to notice the very distracting thing, and then look to me for a reward. Also, I ignore people who coo and ask for a sit or a down, or leave quickly. She's a smarty pants poodle. Noelle will figure out what I want and deliver, because that's who she is.

Things are going up and up and up.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:41 PM   #124 (permalink)
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Nifty insulin pump and good on Noelle for alerting in public! You and she make quite the team.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:17 AM   #125 (permalink)
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Ignoring strangers is hard!

My service dog Azkaban has always been aloof. He's friendly and tolerates petting and greeting but he's just as happy to be left alone. I've gotten compliments from other teams about how well he ignores people's attention, I just wish it was all due to my training! It's just dumb luck that he's not interested in socializing while in gear. Off duty he's a ham.

I had a friend try to take a selfie with him once when we visited her workplace, I didn't mind stopping so we all hung out and she tried her best to get him to look at her or the camera. He'd look at everything but the camera and in the one she ended up posting online he's looking off into the distance. I'm pretty sure he did it on purpose.

Focus games and "look" is great for flirting. It comes in handy in places you wouldn't expect like zoos and aquariums where there's cool stuff to be looked at but you don't necessarily want them hyper focused or distracted.

That insulin pump is cool! How do you manage the touch screen? Does it lock like a phone?

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Old 02-07-2017, 07:44 AM   #126 (permalink)
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I love the Look at that game. I think it's the best thing I trained Noelle. Even more useful that sit. See that attractive amazing distracting thing over there? Look at that! Now, look at me and get a treat. And while your eyes are on me, little miss thing, reset and pay attention to me. Fun.

My insulin pump cannot butt dial a bolus. God would that be dangerous. No, it's got a lock screen. You have to hit three green circles labeled 1, 2, 3 in order before it times out. If you miss and press anywhere else on the screen, it defaults back to 1.

I woke up at 4:30 am and my BG was 116. Tested this morning, 126. I'm pleased. It works great. Plus it feels good in my hand and I like the case that came with it. I'm one happy diabetic right now.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:50 PM   #127 (permalink)
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T:Slim insulin pump is now decorated appropriately.


Look, I wear this thing 24/7/365. I want it to be... mine. In honor of Miss Noelle, the service poodle in training, who is doing fantastic.

Today we went to my clinic. I'd gone in earlier for a blood test and found an empty food pantry collection box. Empty? Huh? That won't do. Since I was out the door super early, and super cranky, I didn't bring Noelle with me to the clinic for my blood test.

Noelle is still at the watch her every move, stage of service dog training. If I don't feel confident that our outing will be a successful training event, Noelle doesn't come with.

However! I saw that empty food pantry box on the second floor. What if, Noelle and I went food pantry shopping? I photographed the need list and went to the grocery store with Noelle. We got diapers, which are always, always, always needed, baby food, coffee, other stuff. Then Noelle, my daughter, and I went back to the clinic.

Noelle sat and waited by the elevator. We went together into the elevator. Noelle sat. We got off the elevator, put our stuff in the food pantry box, returned to the elevator and rode it down.

First ever elevator ride and Noelle was a champ. OK, so this weird box room is wiggling under my feet and goes ding, and we left the magic room box and now we're somewhere else? What? And, then we went back in the wiggling weird magic box room that goes ding, and came back to where we were before? What?

No big deal. Yay, Noelle!

Her manners in public improve every time we go out. More calm, more steady.
One woman walked up to me and said, "Is that a poodle?"
"Yes."
"She's so calm. All the poodles I've ever met have been wild barking monsters."

Hard not to feel smug. OK, I felt a teeny tiny, itty bitty, little bit smug. Here's the hard truth about dogs: you get the dog you train. Unless the dog has psychological problems, or physical problems, you get the dog you train. It's not magic, but it is an art made up of instinct and timing, patience, firmness and kindness. I try to remember to be kind. I try to imagine being a little dog in a big world.

There were balloons in the store on Valentine's Day. Noelle was a little surprised by them. So, we played Look at That at a distance. Then one step closer, sit, look at that, treat. One step closer. Until we were next to the balloons and Noelle realized they weren't dangerous. Look At That is a calming game for Noelle that helps her tune out distractions.

I want Noelle to see interesting things like balloons, and toddlers, and little kids with backpacks, and hear loud noises, and weird noises, and walk past a grand piano and listen to jazz. I want her to experience things like that and realize, Mom is with me, all is well. And so we go on outings.

But, if my frame of mind is such that I can't devote all of my attention to Noelle, she's better off staying at home, than having a negative outing. Our outings are focused, planned, and never random.

I took Noelle to the store on Superbowl Sunday because I knew the place would be a zoo. My goal was for Noelle to experience a huge crowd. Not only did Noelle deal with a crowd, she alerted to a low during it. First public low blood glucose alert, in a crowded grocery store with hundreds and hundreds of people, and 10 different languages being spoken. Despite noise and chaos, she zeroed in and did her job, and saved me from what turned out to be a really nasty low.

Sometimes, I'm moved to tears by this little dog. We're developing the first pieces of what is going to be a telepathic bond. I had a telepathic bond with Honey. I would think what I wanted her to do, and she would do it. Noelle is showing me tiny tastes of the bond to come. And what's to come... is amazing.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:36 PM   #128 (permalink)
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You are more than allowed to feel very smug indeed - and so is Noelle! I think that your kindness with her is one of the things that has stood out in all your posts, that and and your joyful and generous celebration of her many successes. And alerting in such an extremely distracting environment is truly a major success!
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:32 AM   #129 (permalink)
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Way to go Noelle and Click-and-Treat! I support your "Noelle stays home unless it is a successful outing". That makes total sense. I'm amazed by Noelle's ability to stay calm in an elevator. My oldest hated elevators as a toddler.

I wish we were closer so I could help you train Noelle - my kids and I can be excellent distraction .
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:59 AM   #130 (permalink)
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I got my test results back. Despite taking a known liver toxin chemotherapy drug for 10 years, my liver function is 100% normal. Whoo hoo. Listen, that's me doing a back flip. 2007-2017 on the same chemo and still alive and still kicking makes me super, super happy.

Thanks for your kind words. Yes, kindness in dog training helps. Don't set the bar too high and then get angry when the dog can't meet your demand. Set the bar low and celebrate each step upward. And if you think you can't be successful, don't train.

I was careful, and I am still careful, about avoiding negativity in my bond with Noelle. My life depends on her sniffing out low blood sugar. She can't help me if our relationship is built on mistrust. Bit by bit, we're on our way.
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