Our Back-up Fire Alarm

One of my daughters suffers with anxiety, and for months she was having trouble sleeping due to a fear that the house would burn down while we slept. No amount of smoke detectors or verbal assurance helped to ease her mind. Then one day I had an “ah-ha” moment and decided to train Tala to alert when the smoke alarms went off.

This was one of the easiest behaviors I’ve taught Tala, and not only is my daughter sleeping soundly but it has proven that it could save lives.

A few weeks ago we had a fire in our fireplace. We thought the coals were cool enough to go to bed, but we found out later they weren’t. At approximately 1 A.M. I was woken up by Tala barking incessantly. Seconds later all the dogs chimed in. I got up to see what all the fuss was about and walked into a cloud of smoke in the living room and Tala was outside the kid's bedrooms barking.

  1. I learned two important lessons that night. One, when the room cools after a fire the heat will kick on and draw air from the chimney and reignite the hot coals.

  2. From my bedroom I can’t hear the fire alarm that is located on that side of the house, not even when I’m awake.We probably wouldn’t have died that night, but I am glad that we ALL can sleep a little easier knowing we have a back-up alarm system.


If anyone is interested in learning how to train this behavior in their dog, let me know, I can do a video series demonstrating the process.

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