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Can You Train Your Dog To Be A Diabetic Alert Dog?

This Is How Dogs Detect Low Blood Sugar In Folks With Diabetes

This Is How Dogs Detect Low Blood Sugar In Folks With Diabetes

One of the many burdens that someone with diabetes has to suffer with is the task of constantly monitoring their blood sugar levels. For some people, this means pricking their finger every hour to test their blood for normal levels of glucose. For others, it means employing the help of a Diabetic Alert Dog to assist with this daunting task. A Diabetic Alert Dog is highly trained to alert someone with diabetes when their glucose levels fall out of a normal range. Source: lukeandjedi Through practice a Diabetic Alert Dog can learn to detect dropping or rising glucose levels 30 minutes before their handler experiences any symptoms. This allows a diabetic person enough time to check their glucose levels and take the steps necessary to avoid serious complications. Some Diabetic Alert Dogs are also trained to get help or retrieve medical supplies. Source: diabeticalertdog Diabetic Alert Dog can be especially helpful during situations where it’s difficult for someone to check their blood sugar with a medical device (i.e. during sleep, a business meeting, exercise, or while driving). Many people that suffer from diabetes have to wake up several times a night and check their blood sugar levels or they might go into a diabetic coma while they are sleeping. Source: service_dog_thunder So how are these amazing dog’s trained? The training for a Diabetic Alert Dog varies depending on the organization or trainer. The most highly trained Service Dogs are bred for the job and are trained from birth until they are around 18 months of age (sometimes more). Some organizations however aren’t breed specific and will train any dog with a strong nose and a willingness to work. Source: diabeticalertdog All Service Dog training begins with socialization and obedience training. During socia Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

For people with diabetes who take insulin, the risk of losing consciousness from low blood sugar is a constant fear. Devices called continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can alert wearers to dropping levels, but not everyone has access to them. And even among those who do, some prefer a furrier and friendlier alert option: a service dog with special training to alert owners when their blood sugar reaches dangerously low levels. These dogs are trained in a variety of ways, and although they receive certification, there is no universally accepted test to ensure their competence. Fully trained dogs can cost in the $20,000 range and typically aren't covered by insurance, although some nonprofit organizations can help offset the cost. But as the popularity of diabetes alert dogs to detect hypoglycemia has increased dramatically, their effectiveness is largely unknown, according to Evan Los, a pediatric endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University who has studied their use. "Though dog trainers and dog users are generally enthusiastic," he notes. Moreover, it's not clear exactly what the dogs may be detecting. Are they actually "smelling" low blood sugar, or are they reacting to typical hypoglycemia symptoms in their owner, such as sweating or shaking? Two new studies add scent to the trail. One, published in the journal Diabetes Care, suggests that the dogs may be smelling a particular substance in the person's breath that rises as blood sugar falls. But a second study, presented by Los at the recent meeting of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans, found that although the dogs do appear to detect low blood sugar, they also often alerted owners when they didn't have low blood sugar, and were usually slower than a CGM to alert to actual low blood sugar. Sniff Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dog

Diabetic Alert Dog

Special Pets for Type 1 Diabetic Children If you have a young child with Type 1 Diabetes, you know the daily struggle of keeping that child happy and healthy. The goal of a Diabetic Alert Dog is to provide comfort to a busy household with a Type 1 Diabetic child and provide both a furry friend and an extra layer of support by alerting you to the unpredictable changes in Blood Sugar that can occur daily. What Are Diabetic Alert Dogs? Diabetic Alert Dogs are specially trained Service dogs, trained specifically to alert a young person with diabetes that (s)he is experiencing, or about to experience, a drop in blood sugar. These unique, highly trained dogs can alert earlier than standard Continuous Glucose Monitors and with less variances. What Do Diabetic Alert Dogs Do? Fully Trained D.A.D.s provide an early warning system and signal to check your child's blood sugar. While not a replacement for medical equipment and expertise, these dogs offer an extra layer of protection for families with diabetic children. Diabetic Alert Dogs have the ability and permission to go anywhere with you and your child – including restaurants, sporting events and after school activities. Some dogs are even trained to alert in the overnight hours. All of them provide a friendly, watchful eye nearby your child at all times. How Can I learn More about Upcoming Conferences? We are hosting two conferences here in Issaquah, Washington at the Hilton Garden Inn next June. The first is a 'Sweet Snoopers' Workshop designed for people wanting to train their own dogs to be their Diabetic Assistance Service Dog. Debby Kay will be hosting this event where participants will learn everything from the collection of the samples, night alert training and the eventual live alerts on people. This conference will Continue reading >>

How To Train Your Dog To Detect Low Blood Sugar

How To Train Your Dog To Detect Low Blood Sugar

Introduction People with certain health conditions can be subject to low blood sugar episodes, that if not caught and addressed, can result in impaired cognition, making it difficult or impossible for the person affected to treat themselves. This can be very dangerous if the person is alone or asleep and is unaware they are having a low blood sugar episode. While many diabetics have good control over their condition, with a routine of blood sugar monitoring, insulin injections, and careful diet, some people have a great deal of difficulty controlling their diabetes and are frequently subject to low blood sugar episodes that can be life-threatening. Service dogs that are trained to detect low blood sugar episodes almost as soon as they begin and alert their owners to take action to counteract the condition, can be lifesavers. These dogs allow diabetics the ability to be independent, working and living on their own, and provide safety for diabetics when asleep by detecting low blood sugar episodes that could go unnoticed and alerting the diabetic themself and/or another family member. Diabetic service dogs detect low blood sugar by recognizing the scent of low blood sugar on a human's breath or emitted through their pores. Because dogs have such an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, they are able to detect this scent, which is not perceivable to us. Diabetic dogs are then taught several behaviors to help the person with low blood sugar. They alert the person with a nudge, paw or other predetermine signal, they can go get help by alerting another person if the diabetic does not respond, and they can be trained to assist a low blood sugar episode by going to fetch testing materials, a phone, and/or glucose tablets. When out in public or in an environment such as school or Continue reading >>

How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes On Your Breath

How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes On Your Breath

How dogs sniff out diabetes on your breath Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. A new study found the chemical dogs use to smell hypoglycemia on human breath The chemical could lead to new tech to help people keep track of their blood sugar Imagine if your dog could sense when you're about to pass out -- and do so in enough time to stop it. Now, imagine that all they need is their nose. This scenario is a reality for hundreds worldwide, including Claire Pesterfield, a pediatric diabetes nurse at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Pesterfield has type 1 diabetes, a form of the condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin and cannot regulate blood sugar. Her sugar levels can fall dangerously low -- known as hypoglycemia -- causing shakiness, confusion, disorientation and potentially unconsciousness. But her golden Labrador retriever sidekick is ready to alert her before it kicks in, day or night. "If he smells a hypo coming, he'll jump up and put his paws on my shoulders to let me know," Pesterfield said. Her dog, Magic, is one of 75 medical alert assistance dogs trained by the UK charity Medical Detection Dogs to help people monitor a range of health conditions, including type 1 diabetes. About 10% of all people with diabetes are estimated to have type 1, in which the risk of hypoglycemia is far greater. The dogs have been in service since 2009, trained to detect changes in their owner's breath when blood sugar declines, but the precise scents they're picking up have remained largely unknown -- until now. "We're interested if there are messages coming off the body at different blood sugar levels, either on the skin or breath," said Dr. Mark Evans , a consultant in diabetes and gen Continue reading >>

Resources For Training Your Own Service Dog

Resources For Training Your Own Service Dog

I am often asked about books or other resources for people who are training their own service dog (SD). There is no single book or resource I know of that tells everything you need to know about training a SD, but there is a wealth of information available on many aspects of SD training, partnership, and handling. New books and websites are appearing all the time, too. Below are some of my favorite SD resources. Use them to support your efforts to train a service dog for yourself or a family member or to decide if a service dog is right for you. Books, eBooks, DVDs Training Levels: Steps to Success by Sue Ailsby (two spiral-bounds books or multiple digital formats) is a comprehensive, novice-friendly step-by-step approach to a fantastically well-trained dog. Not specifically designed for service dog (SD) training, a Levels foundation is needed for any highly trained dog, and Sue has used this approach to train her own SDs and performance dogs. Highly recommended for people training SDs, especially if you cannot work with a local trainer. Also great for supplementing the work you do with an in-person trainer. Teamwork and Teamwork II by Stewart Nordensson and Lydia Kelley (two spiral-bound books) are the classic manuals for physically disabled people to learn to train their own dogs in obedience and service skills. While SD training methods have advanced since these books were written, they can give you an idea of the general process for training your own SD. Training Your Diabetic Alert Dog by Rita Martinez and Susan M. Barns (paperback, Kindle) is an excellent guide for an owner and a trainer to work together to train a DAD. It provides clear, easy-to-use info on training a dog to alert to high or low blood glucose levels and to generalizing the behavior. Clicker Train Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Really Detect Low Glucose Levels?

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Really Detect Low Glucose Levels?

People are familiar with service dogs and there is general awe regarding a dog’s ability to help humans. Diabetes Alert Dogs (DADs) have become very popular over the past few years and there has been much press regarding their ability to help people with diabetes. However, it’s one thing to hear people talk about what DADs can do, but it’s another to actually prove their ability. Dr. Dana Hardin, a Pediatric Endocrinologist, Wes Anderson, a statistician and Smart Animal Training Systems’ founder, and myself, owner of a service dog company, have been working together on a research project aimed at showing that there is indeed a smell associated with hypoglycemia and that dogs are capable of detecting it. We have been working on this research for a few years now and we’re happy to finally be able to share our results which have been published in Diabetes Therapy. We hope that validating the ability of dogs to smell the difference between low and normal blood sugar samples from people with diabetes will help diabetics to get funding for the dogs. Most of all, it’s the first step in developing standardized methods and procedures in a field where we know so little and where there is so much that we cannot control. This article will first provide background on diabetes and then results from our new study that examined DAD accuracy in detecting low blood sugar scent samples. Background Diabetes is a condition so common that we tend to believe that we know all about it. In fact, diabetes is a growing worldwide epidemic. Yet, most of us have no idea what patients with Type 1 diabetes go through on a daily basis. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone Continue reading >>

Diabetes-alert Dogs

Diabetes-alert Dogs

Dogs can sense the blood sugar level A Diabetes-Alert Dog can sense whether its owner has a dangerous high or low level of blood sugar and has learned to alert the owner or a parent of this condition. These dogs can be highly valuable to persons suffering from diabetes and where hyper or hypoglycaemic crisis occur. The dog can signal when these situations arise and this allows the owner rapidly to take the necessary steps to stabilise the blood sugar level and thus to prevent a potentially dangerous situation. The dogs recognise the hyper- or hypoglycaemic condition through the smell of the person’s sweat and breath, and learn to alert the condition in the manner preferred by the owner. For example, some dogs bring a particular object, which it only fetches in these specific cases, some dogs place their paws in the owner’s lap, others bring the box with of the equipment for measuring the blood sugar level etc. Contact us for further information Education of a Diabetes-Alert Dog It is preferable that the dog stays with the owner during the education and that the owner participate significantly in its education. Canix develops individual training programmes, which are regularly updated and adapted to the dog’s development and progress. We participate in the training itself and are available through phone and e-mail all the time, because we prefer to be contacted immediately if the owner has any doubts and in order to be up-to-date on the progress of the training and to prevent problems developing. The requirements to the dog is that it has a good sense of smell, that it will let itself be educated to a high obedience level and that it does not display aggression or excessive fear. It must be a breed that does not cause anxiety, when present in the public space. In c Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dog Fundamentals – Free Training Advice

Diabetic Alert Dog Fundamentals – Free Training Advice

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, owner and head trainer of the Service Dog Academy shared some of her diabetic alert dog training fundamentals in a free webinar earlier this month with attendees from all over the country. With her background in training service dogs, and seeing the effects of diabetes through personal experience and with family members, McNeight set out to make training dogs for diabetic alert accessible for everyone. Attendees from all over including Denver, San Antonio, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Michigan, Virginia, and New Jersey also got a sneak peak at Diabetic Alert Dog University – the next phase in McNeight’s quest for offering low-cost diabetic alert dog training to type one and type two diabetics, hypoglycemics, and pre-diabetics. “I did find your webinar useful and your approach compatible [sic] with my own training beliefs. I am fascinated by the whole process!” In this program, dogs are allowed to be dogs through the use of games, solving puzzles, and making service work incredibly rewarding. By using positive reinforcement methods, Service Dog Academy’s diabetic alert dog program keeps a dog’s spirit intact. The puzzles and games that are part of the training have been developed to create an improvisational dog. Furthermore, by working with your own dog and doing the training with your dog, it will give you the ability to keep up with the training. Unfortunately, when an already trained dog is given to a person he may lose his ability to alert within a few months. With this program, in addition to the basics of alerting to blood sugar changes, getting drinks from the refrigerator, retrieving your meter and getting help, this program gives you the fundamentals to teach your dog more complicated tasks when you come up with them. The main goal of Continue reading >>

Diabetes Alert Dogs: What You Should Know

Diabetes Alert Dogs: What You Should Know

Cynthia Hatch, a mother in Brookfield, Wisconsin, is convinced that her family’s diabetes alert dog Sunny, a golden retriever/Irish setter mix, has saved her son Nathan’s life multiple times. Nathan has all the latest diabetes gear: a CGM tied into a pump that automatically shuts off when his glucose goes below a certain level. But he also has a rare combination of type 1 diabetes and Addison’s disease, another autoimmune condition where hormonal imbalances can cause severe and precipitous drops in blood sugar. Sunny is an additional tool in Nathan’s arsenal, and is one of a growing number of dogs in the U.S. being used to alert their owners of oncoming lows or highs in blood sugar. Many different organizations now train dogs for this purpose; some are for profit and may charge tens of thousands of dollars for a dog trained from birth until over two years old. Others, like Dogs for Diabetics, are non-profits that charge people no more than a small application fee, but are very selective in terms of the clients they will take on. Dogs for Diabetics’ founder, Mark Ruefenacht—a forensic scientist with type 1 diabetes—is considered a pioneer in the field, the person who first set out to test this ability in dogs in a systematic way. Back in the 1990s, he was traveling for work, accompanied by a seeing eye dog that he was helping to train. (On his mother’s side, several people suffer from advanced macular degeneration; on his father’s a relative has vision impairment from diabetes, so Ruefenacht thought that a seeing eye dog might be a part of his own future some day.) Alone at his hotel, Ruefenacht had a severe episode of hypoglycemia, and his dog worked to rouse him until he could treat himself. That chance event got Ruefenacht thinking that maybe identif Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dogs: What Are They?

Diabetic Alert Dogs: What Are They?

Diabetic alert dogs are dogs trained to assist people with diabetes - Type I and II, adults and children. They are trained to alert the person or a caregiver to significant fluctuations (low or high) in their glucose levels. A diabetic alert dog is NOT a replacement for regular monitoring. It is an added diabetes management tool. Dogs are trained to recognize the unique smells that result when glucose levels change significantly - these smells are not noticeable to people. If a person's diabetes is well-managed and their glucose levels do not frequently fluctuate, dogs will not be able to help. Dogs are also trained to retrieve items that help with the management of the condition, or get a person for help if needed. If you or a loved one has diabetes, Handi-Dogs can assist you to train a dog to do this work. We will first evaluate your dog to evaluate his natural 'scent' ability. If you want to train for public access, we will also assess your dog for sound temperament. A breed that usually meets both criteria is the Labrador Retriever. However, we work with any dog that shows promise. Brachycephalic breed dogs (short-nosed dogs) are not recommended. For dogs age 5 months and older, click the following link to learn about our program: Learn more about our Service Dog Training a with full public access privileges and how to apply. If you do not need to take your dog out in public with you, and just want it trained to alert at home: Learn more about our In-Home Assistance Dog Training and how to register for lessons. For puppies under the age of 5 months, we can begin the diabetic alert training in your home: Learn more about our In-Home Assistance Dog Training and how to register for lessons. We also recommend that your puppy attend a puppy kindergarten for socialization Continue reading >>

When A Dog

When A Dog "nose" Best: Scent Science

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, an olfactory system that is far more sophisticated than our own. With scent training, some breeds of dogs learn to perform specialized tasks, including helping monitor people with Type 1 Diabetes. These service dogs put their noses to work every day to save lives! Luke and Jedi: A boy and his dog fight type 1 diabetes together. If you have ever taken care of a dog, you have probably noticed how important smell is in how a dog interacts with its environment. If you have ever walked a dog on a leash, you may have seen the dog sniff the ground and everything you walked by with incredible intensity. You may even have a dog that will stop at one bush, fire hydrant, streetlight post, or brick in a wall and sniff and sniff and sniff, oblivious to your attempts to shepherd it along. For a dog, every surface holds a potential roadmap and time capsule of scents that it can detect, differentiate, and track as it moves through its environment. This roadmap, invisible to humans, helps a dog understand its surroundings and keep track of its location. With training, a dog's strong sense of smell can be used to help detect, locate, and monitor very specific smells, scents that are imperceptible to humans. A Powerful Sense of Smell While most dogs seem to lead with their noses, how attuned your dog is to smell has a lot to do with the breed of the dog. Some dogs are better "sniffers" than others, but dogs, in general, have a much stronger sense of smell than humans. Scientists estimate that dogs smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than we do and can detect some odors in parts per trillion! Beyond the fact that dogs have many, many times the number of olfactory receptors that humans do (in the range of 300 million compared to our six million), the ph Continue reading >>

Training Service Dogs For Diabetics

Training Service Dogs For Diabetics

Not every dog possesses the qualities necessary for success as a service animal for diabetics. The rigorous training programs used to prepare canines for this lifesaving work identify and prepare dogs that will aptly fill the role of alerting diabetics when medical attention is needed. Best Breeds Dogs from the Labrador and golden retriever breeds are most commonly found working as service animals, according to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners. It's because those breeds are characterized by an overwhelming desire to seek out, develop and maintain strong bonds with human companions. This is a huge plus for a dog destined to have a diabetic person depend on his willingness to focus on the relationship with a human. Other dog breeds showing some promise to work as assistance dogs include Samoyeds and two types of collies -- the smooth coated and the rough coated. German and Australian shepherd dogs also have some potential due to their strong herd mentality, but they must not be prone to nipping when trying to alert diabetics. Scent Training When a diabetic experiences a drop in blood insulin levels, a specific scent is released through the biochemical changes in their body that is easily detected by a dog's keen sense of smell. This is particularly true of Labradors, which have more than 200,000 specific smell sensors that detect scent elements in parts per trillion, according to the Dogs4Diabetics website. Dogs training to assist diabetics are exposed to the scent on the breath of someone experiencing changes in their blood insulin. The dogs are then taught to react to that scent by first staring at the person and then jumping on them gently if the first tactic does not engage the diabetic individual. Another way dogs are trained to alert is by gr Continue reading >>

Diabetes Alert Dog

Diabetes Alert Dog

A bit about me…… I’ve worked in health care as a Registered Nurse and have been professionally training dogs since 2006 now, these two rewarding careers eventually intertwined. Daily I’m amazed at a dog’s ability to interact/intervene with humans to our extreme benefit. Science has proven certain dogs can become part of a reliable health alert team (once dog & human are properly trained). Diabetes alert dogs scan the environment to ensure warning signs are not ignored, forgotten or missed. Finding dogs with aptitude/desire to do diabetes work and connecting them to humans with needs is my life passion and reward. In our demanding world, working dogs provide amazing solutions to life’s challenges while proving yet again they are indeed ~ Best Friends Forever! If you, or someone you know, needs or has interest in seeing what a Diabetes alert dog can do it would be my pleasure to provide a live demonstration to an individual or group in most any setting (our dogs are comfortable in a variety of environments). We’d love to visit, and show you exactly how our dogs help manage diabetes! How Dogs Impact the Diabetes Process… Moment by moment monitoring for type I diabetes is possible using Diabetic Alert Dogs! Specially trained dogs help ensure successful management of diabetes by alerting for blood sugar lows and highs, in fact, studies show that tight control of blood glucose can prevent or delay problems with the eyes, kidneys, nervous system, and heart in type 1 diabetes. Here is how it works: When a diabetic person has a hyperglycemic event, their body produces ketones. People with type 1 diabetes do not have enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood for energy. When glucose is not available, fat is broken down inst Continue reading >>

​diabetic Alert Service Dogs & Diabetes

​diabetic Alert Service Dogs & Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month and I wanted to take this opportunity to raise public awareness by talking a bit about what diabetes is and how service dogs can play an important role. There are different types of diabetes. They are designated as Type 1 (insulant-dependent diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes) and accounts of about 5% of all diabetes cases. Type 2 (non-insulant-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes) which accounts for the majority of all diabetes cases covering 90%-95% of all cases. Its distinction is when your body produces insulin, but either doesn’t make enough or what it does make isn’t used well by your body which causes a buildup of sugar in your blood. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only occurs in pregnant women. If not properly treated, it can cause problems with mothers and their babies. This accounts for 2% - 10% of all pregnancies and usually resolves when a pregnancy is over. There are more rare types of diabetes which are caused by specific genetic syndromes, drugs, infections, surgeries and other illnesses and may account for 1% - 5% of all diabetes cases. In all cases of diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Many of the foods we eat are turned into glucose, or sugar to be used by our bodies for energy. The organ that is responsible for making insulin is the pancreas, which lies near the stomach. If you have diabetes, it will be classified by one of the definitions above. There is also Pre-diabetes which is described by raised levels of your blood glucose level, but not to the extent of being able to be classified as diabetes. One in three American adults have pre-diabetes and of those people the majority don’t know it. Excessive weight is a major cause of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Continue reading >>

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