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How Do I Teach My Dog To Be A Diabetic Service Dog?

Service Dogs That Can Monitor Their Owners’ Diabetes

Service Dogs That Can Monitor Their Owners’ Diabetes

Hypoglycemia unawareness is a common — and dangerous — condition that can develop in those with type 1 diabetes. This condition means you don’t experience the symptoms most people do when their blood sugar gets too low. Normal symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, shaking, or confusion. At very low levels, you may experience seizures, or go into a coma if your blood sugar is too low for too long. One of the solutions for this condition is man’s best friend: a diabetes service dog. Dogs have a naturally heightened sense of smell that makes them excellent hunters. Professional trainers have learned to harness these skills by training dogs to recognize certain smells. These could include the fruity smelling ketones a person’s body produces when they are experiencing a hyperglycemic episode when blood sugar is too high, or the unique scent a person gives off during a hypoglycemic episode when blood sugar is too low. A diabetes service dog isn’t a replacement for checking blood sugar levels. However, it is a safeguard for those who experience episodes low or high blood sugar, especially if they do not have warning symptoms. There are several service dog-training programs across the country. Examples include the National Institute for Diabetic Alert Dogs (NIDAD) and Diabetic Alert Dog University. These organizations train a dog to recognize the difference between certain scents. This includes the scent a person releases when their blood sugar is high or low. According to Dogs 4 Diabetics, there are two different levels of service dogs for people with diabetes. Medical response dogs for diabetes are trained to respond to signs that an owner may be experiencing low blood sugar levels, once they have become symptomatic. A diabetic alert dog, on the other hand Continue reading >>

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 >>

Couple Trains Their Own Diabetes-sniffing Dog

Couple Trains Their Own Diabetes-sniffing Dog

When Robert McVey was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he struggled to find the right treatment option. Then his doctor suggested a service dog. Diabetic alert dogs are trained to detect swings in blood sugar levels and signal their owners of fluctuations— sometimes even before the person realizes it. However, the pets aren’t meant to replace any medicine or device, but they can serve as a safety mechanism for people with diabetes. "These dogs are not for everybody, but if you're somebody who is frequently passing out [due to] low sugar, you definitely want to look into this and see if this is an option for you," Dr. Anuj Bhargava, an endocrinologist at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, told FoxNews.com Unfortunately, trained dogs are costly and the waiting periods can be long. After McVey researched and found that prices ranged from $9,000 to $25,000 a dog, he and his wife, Lesli, decided to train their own service animal, Austin. "The obedience and everything is the same. You still start with that and make sure they have their obedience. As far as the scent training and things, you start them off very early,” Lesli said. Now, the McVeys want to use their training to help other diabetics who can't afford the high price tag. They're working with another puppy, Rouge, and have plans to continue training dogs for those in need. "Money's not important—their health and the dogs are important," Lesli said. It will take about a year to train Rouge and they’re currently accepting applications for her new owner. The extra backup pup is a welcome, albeit temporary, addition. "We do have an extra set of eyes, er, nose, on me making sure I know what's going on and I'm safe to get back to where I need to be," Robert said. The McVeys are currently seeking non-profit Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Tecla’s K-9 Academy has developed one of the premier Diabetic Alert Dog training programs in the United States. Program developer Tecla Walton has been was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes over 30 years ago and has taken her personal experience with the disease and blended it with her expertise in training dogs to produce a DAD training program unlike any other. Tecla has been joined by DAD Trainer Keith Hupka who came to TK9 as a client seeking a Diabetic Alert Dog. He was so impressed with the quality of the dog he received from TK9 and inspired by Tecla’s approach to dog training in general that he decided to become part of the TK9 team. What Makes Us Different? Two on staff trainers that are both have Type 1 Diabetes We help each client pick a breed of puppy that will suit their lifestyle as well as have the qualities necessary to succeed as a DAD We provide one year of follow up training and have a unique system of teaching DAD handlers how to maintain their dogs’ skills What Makes Us Better? Our unique understanding of the disease We train specific alerts for low and high blood sugars We have a defined test each dog’s detection skills and public access skills Our follow up program is so thorough that there is no backslide in each dogs’ skills once they go home Our emphasis is equally focused on training a high level detection dog and on handler education Dear TK9 Family, I am writing to you on behalf the Meacham family. Thank you for the wonderful job you have done in training our Diabetic Alert Dog Rocky. After the long anticipated wait and many training visits, I must say it has only been a few short weeks and Rocky had dramatically helped our son. On the first week home Rocky caught two severe lows which allowed us to treat our son’s blood sugar quick Continue reading >>

Gear: Diabetic Alert Dogs Typically Don’t Wear Special Gear. Dads Should Carry Emergency Protocols In Their Vest If The Dog Would Ever Be The First Point Of Contact With An Emergency Medical Team.

Gear: Diabetic Alert Dogs Typically Don’t Wear Special Gear. Dads Should Carry Emergency Protocols In Their Vest If The Dog Would Ever Be The First Point Of Contact With An Emergency Medical Team.

Service Dog: Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs) Job: To alert their handler to dangerous or potentially deadly blood sugar highs and lows. Many dogs are trained to call 911 on a special K-9 Alert Phone if their partner cannot be roused. Handler: May show signs of visible disability, but likely will not. Could be any age from very, very young to a senior citizen. Notes: Diabetic Alert Dogs are also known as “Blood Sugar Alert Dogs.” Training Status Of The Dog** Emotional Support Dogs Do Not Require Training. ** By Law You Can Train Your Own Service Dog. Service Dog Owners By Law Are Not Required To Have Any Doctors Note. DOCUMENTS BELOW ARE SENT INSTANTLY VIA EMAIL ONCE YOU COMPLETE REGISTRATION* A reasonable housing request is one of the required documents by law you must provide to your landlord in order to put them on notice and enforce your federal rights which allow your dog to live in housing where a no pet policy is in place or pet deposits would normally be required. A letter of registration issued is for this registry and VALID IN ALL 50 STATES. The Service Dog Fact Book is a must have. (sent via email) The book covers many topics you will need to know. The book covers not only service animals but emotional support and therapy dogs. These items are sent instantly to the email address you provide. Continue reading >>

Diabetes Alert Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Diabetes Alert Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Note: This article has been reviewed by Dr. Dana Hardin MD, and Dr. Jennifer Cattet Ph.D. Many individuals with type 1 diabetes spend their days worrying about the possibility of having a low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia). Aside from frequent testing of blood glucose levels (self monitoring of blood glucose, SMBG), they may experience uncomfortable signs of hypoglycemia such as sweating, shaking, or confusion. These early symptoms of hypoglycemia are helpful, even though uncomfortable, because they help the person with diabetes know it is time to check their glucose level. Once the person checks and learns they are hypoglycemic, they are taught what food or drink to take to raise their blood sugar. If the low blood sugar is not treated in time, persistent hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, blackouts, or even coma. Unfortunately, over time (generally after 5 or so years) a person with 1 diabetes no longer feels symptoms when his/her blood glucose is low. This condition is known as Hypoglycemia Unawareness. When hypoglycemia unawareness develops, the person is at much greater risk for the development of persistent hyperglycemia and all of the dangerous problems listed above. Patients have reported feeling ok and not knowing they had low blood sugar until they wake up on the floor, or they have had a seizure. Some don’t realize what happened until they are taken to the hospital. If you are one of these individuals, you probably worry about your next hypoglycemia episode on a daily basis. You would likely feel much better if you were aware of something or someone which could help you monitor and alert your oncoming low blood sugar drop. Well, good news! A diabetes alert dog (DAD) can help you become aware of hypoglycemia even if you don’t feel any different. To give Continue reading >>

What Are Diabetic Alert Dogs (dads)?

What Are Diabetic Alert Dogs (dads)?

Diabetic Alert Dogs — affectionately known as DADs — are service dogs that are trained specifically to assist diabetics. Their primary task as service dogs is to alert diabetics of an oncoming hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic event (low or high blood sugar!) DADs are able to do this by reacting to particular smells that are emitted from the human body due to chemical shifts caused by either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia (undetected by a human nose). There are various ways that the dog can alert their human of a low or high blood sugar, which all depends on how it is trained. These skills require rigorous training from professional service dog trainers. In addition to being on alert for blood sugar malfunctions, Diabetic Alert Dogs are known to provide a tremendous amount of love and emotional support to its owner, resulting in an increased sense of security and balance in the daily life of someone with Type 1. How can I find my own DAD? Getting a Diabetic Alert Dog of your very own is a process. The first step is to find a legitimate, accredited organization made up of trainers that will assist you in both the acquiring and the training of your new DAD. Alternatively, there are Diabetic Alert Dog Training schools that will assist in the training and development of the dog of your own choosing. After being matched with the right dog for you, you may be asked to provide a “scent collection kit” so that your dog can learn your body chemistry during its training. Home visits are scheduled in order to begin the bonding process. Organizations & Resources How long do I have to wait for my dog? The average wait time for your DAD to be ready to come home with you for good is approximately six months to a year. What is the cost? The exact cost will depend on the particular o Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dogs: Training Dogs To Think!

Diabetic Alert Dogs: Training Dogs To Think!

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS Director of Training and Behavior Service Dog Academy - www.servicedogacademy.com Diabetic Alert Dog University - www.diabeticalertdoguniversity.com We train Diabetic Alert Dogs. See our recent interview on New Day Northwest! Follow us on Facebook! Two Diabetic Alert Dog University students waiting patiently for their food puzzle toys and for their Pogo Plush Bunny (used to teach the dogs to play tug and to share toys.) Seattle, Washington has a unique brand of dog trainer at Service Dog Academy. Nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest can people with diabetes learn to train their dogs to alert to blood sugar imbalances. As a part of Service Dog Academy staff, we work hard to get this highly specialized training to more and more people each day. Our dog training studio was founded on the principles that people with disabilities should have affordable resources to live a manageable, independent life, and to us that means being able to train your own service dog. Having first-hand experiences with hypoglycemia and type-2 diabetes, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, head trainer and founder knows that manageability means a lot to those seeking out a diabetic alert dog. The costs of insurance, medicals services, and peace of mind that they won’t pass out in a shopping mall only to wake up with emergency personnel at their side is worth the work it takes to have a canine companion on the ready to alert when blood sugar starts to drop. As part of her diabetic alert dog training methods, Premier puzzles are a main part of the work to eat strategy. In the wild, dogs had to work for hours on end to find their food, and with a work to eat strategy, it emulates this as best as we can. Here's why we love this method: You get a dog that thinks you’re the cool Continue reading >>

Scent Training: First Steps With A Diabetic Alert Dog (video)

Scent Training: First Steps With A Diabetic Alert Dog (video)

Sherlock came to live with me when he was nine weeks old, and we got right to work–crate training, recall and the puppy sit. Then, at four months, I started to take him with me everywhere for socialization–work, read-a-thons, hiking, out to eat and even Universal Studios. After he turned a year, he got his health checks. He has great hips, and an exceptional heart. Now that he’s generally well behaved and in good health, it’s time to start the final phase–scent training. Scent training has three basic components: Odor Alert Reward Sherlock’s first odor is saliva from a diabetic with low blood sugar. I started with low blood sugar because it can quickly progress to a life threatening situation. After completing scent training, he will eventually alert his handler of high or low blood sugar by taking her a bringsel, which is a fancy word for a dog toy. Sherlock’s reward while I’m training him is a quick game of retrieve. In order to train a dog on a scent, you must have scent samples. My sister is diabetic, so when her sugars dropped below 80, she spit into cotton and froze it to help me train Sherlock. The swabs of cotton are labeled with sugar level and date and stored in my freezer until it’s time for a training session. (This is the reason I don’t believe I could train a cadaver dog…body parts in my freezer.) Before I start training sessions with Sherlock, I take the cotton swab out and let it defrost for 30 minutes. Then, the cotton goes into a piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled in it. The first time I worked with Sherlock, I tossed the PVC pipe, with the cotton inside, in the back yard on the lawn. This simple game of retrieve taught Sherlock to associate the smell of low blood sugar with a reward, and for the first week that’s all he neede Continue reading >>

We Train Diabetes Assist Dogs To Help People With Type I Diabetes.

We Train Diabetes Assist Dogs To Help People With Type I Diabetes.

Diabetes Assist Dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. They are then trained to “alert” the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging them. This alerts the person to check his or her blood sugar level. It also informs them that they should get something to eat to prevent hypoglycemia, or their blood sugars getting to a dangerous level. The canine partner can also be trained to retrieve juice or glucose tabs, get an emergency phone, or get help from another person in the house. Diabetes Assist Dogs wear a backpack identifying them as an assistance dog. This backpack has pockets where medical information, a sugar source, and emergency contact information can be stored. This provides an extra safety net in case the person with diabetes is unable to get help in time. Anyone finding the person unconscious or acting abnormally would know it may be a medical emergency and know how to get help. How can a dog detect low blood sugar? The dogs are evaluated throughout “puppy-hood” for a willingness to work and a sensitive nose. Once we have identified their interest in smells, they begin scent training. A person experiencing hypoglycemia produces a particular scent, found on the breath, due to chemical changes in their body. All people produce the same scent when they have low blood sugar. Our training methods are similar to those used to train drug sniffing or search and rescue dogs trained to find people. Due to the generosity of supporters like you all of our assistance dogs are provided to clients free of charge. LEARN MORE AND APPLY FOR A DIABETES ASSIST DOG Continue reading >>

Service Dogs

Service Dogs

How We Train Your Dog At Retrieving Freedom, we have a very specific training program to make sure the service dogs we train are as ready as possible to help our recipients. Our training program, however, is only one piece of the puzzle. The other pieces are formed with a natural bond between the dog and the recipient. We train service dogs to help veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder and injuries sustained during their service, children with autism and individuals living with diabetes. The key to our success is matching the dog to the individual who can get the most benefit from that training. Service Dogs for Veterans Being disabled in a combat zone and forced to return to society as a civilian can be a difficult struggle for many veterans. The initial stages of rehabilitation stages are well planned and implemented, but can fall short when a disabled veteran comes home. Returning from a deployment in a combat zone should feel like a win, yet the limitations of a physical disability or post-traumatic stress can cause anything but a celebration. Our goal is to provide independence to the lives of these special veterans, and fight to reduce the 22 veteran suicides per day with the 24/7 support a service dog can deliver. The service dog will not only help veterans with daily tasks, but provide companionship to help them cope with any emotional overload they may be experiencing. Aiding with PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a common disorder that impacts hundreds of thousands of veterans, causing anxiety and fear which causes changes in the body. This anxiety triggers the body’s “fight-or-flight” response, even in situations where no danger is present. This leads to a host of difficulties, ranging from higher stress levels to troubles s Continue reading >>

Guide: Training A Diabetes Alert Dog

Guide: Training A Diabetes Alert Dog

Have you ever wondered what it takes to teach your dog to sense your oncoming low blood sugars and actually alert you to them? I’ve spent a great deal of time with a friend whose dog, Becca, does exactly this for her diabetes, and it is impressive every time. But unless you’re fortunate enough to get involved with a charity that trains diabetes alert dogs, or you can afford the pretty penny it costs to have your dog trained by a professional, it’s not easy to simply teach your own dog how to be a “Diabetes Alert Dog.” Veronica Zimmerman recently published the most comprehensive guide for training your dog to be your best friend in diabetes management, titled, DOG – A Diabetic’s Best Friend Training Guide. Having lived with type 1 diabetes since she was a child, Veronica has developed her own training program and dog-training business centered around hypoglycemia awareness dogs, called “Veronica’s Cloud-9 K9.” This book provides its readers with knowledge on: How to choose the right dog for the job How to assess the temperament How to train the basic obedience training needed to pass the American Kennel Club’s, Canine Good Citizen test How to train for hypoglycemic / hyperglycemic alerts How to collect and store hypoglycemic / hyperglycemic samples How to do the scent training How to train your dog to alert at night What handlers must know in regard to the American Disability Act regulations As a proud dog-lover myself, I’ve often wondered if my very attentive and rather intuitive goldendoodle would have made a great diabetes alert dog, had I taken the time to have him trained (or trained him myself). One of the first paragraphs I found intriguing in Zimmerman’s book was when she explained how not every dog is meant to be an alert dog: “I just Continue reading >>

Diabetic Alert Dog Program.

Diabetic Alert Dog Program.

A Diabetic alert dog gives our clients and their family piece of mind knowing they have an extra security blanket on the watch. Our dogs are trained to detect your specific high and low blood sugar. We train our dogs to alert with your specific scent samples, so by delivery time your D.A.D will already be aware of the scent your body gives off during a hypoglycemic event. We train them to alert in various environments, venues, and situations to maximize their ability to alert you. Our dogs are train to alert in house alerts, public access alerts, car alerts, and night alerts. We have a detailed 10 page application to help us determine what specific training the dogs will need to fit your needs. Some of our clients tend to have hypoglycemic events during certain times of the day we do our best to train the dogs around those times/specific situations. The very first step for our dogs is going through our puppy raising program, while their your we test them bi weekly to see which program they'd best fit into. All of our dogs are hand picked by our trained and temperament tested for each program. Once our dogs have completed our puppy raising program, we start them off in obedience. Here they learn commands such as heel, sit, down, auto sits, come, leave it, bed, load up etc... Basic manners are taught on a daily basis since our service dogs are raised and and trained in our certified trainers home, this helps us establish good manners. It also helps the dog get used to a family/home environment, thus making the transition into your home a lot easier. We try to make all the training as relevant to the what the dogs daily life style will be by beginning training in a home environment. Our dogs spend a great deal of time in obedience training since this is the foundation of t Continue reading >>

Service Dog Training

Service Dog Training

PAWS Training Centers provides custom training for service dog teams based on individual needs. Our trainers have experience working with children, adults, and families training their own dogs to create successful dog/handler teams. We specialize in a personalized approach that focuses on how your partnership with your service dog will help you overcome the challenges you face in your home and in public. We use positive-reinforcement methods to teach the behaviors that are necessary for dogs working in public settings, and to train the specific tasks you need from the canine partner in your life. Service dogs increase freedom and independence by providing assistance in everyday life. Service dogs can improve the lives of people with a wide range of disabilities, whether physical, neurological, or psychiatric. We train service dogs to mitigate symptoms of many disabilities such as: autism, anxiety disorders, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, hearing impairment, multiple sclerosis (MS), narcolepsy, post-traumatic stress (PTS or PTSD), severe allergies, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). We also often customize tasks for a specific client’s needs. The following are examples of the most common disability skills we teach: ALERT: – To people approaching – As a response to your name or someone trying to get your attention – For specific sounds, such as alarms, ring tones, sirens, or vehicles backing up – For specific smells, such as smoke or gas – Go seek help from someone else when you are having a medical emergency – Press a medical alert button for designated emergency contact – Wake-up alerts CALM: – Apply or receive deep pressure therapeutically – Cuddle on cue – Interrupt repetitive movements or compulsive behaviors – Lead to 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 >>

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