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How To Train 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 >>

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 >>

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 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 >>

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 >>

Hypo Alert Dogs

Hypo Alert Dogs

Tweet Hypo alert dogs are specially trained to recognise when their owner has low blood glucose levels, hypoglycemia. Specialist organisations, such as the UK charity Medical Detection Dogs, train dogs to recognise signs of low blood sugar and take action to prevent a medical emergency. Who could a hypo alert dog be suitable for? A hypo alert dog may be suitable for someone that has impaired hypo awareness, meaning they have significant difficulty in recognising when their blood glucose is dropping to potentially dangerous levels. If the lack of hypo awareness is having a pronounced, negative effect on that person’s quality of life, they may be eligible for a hypo alert dog. Loss of hypo awareness is more likely to develop in people dependent on insulin who have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia. How are dogs able to recognise hypoglycemia? Dogs are known to have a very keen sense of smell and the dogs are able to pick up on subtle changes of odour to detect low or high blood glucose levels. The dogs are trained to recognise different odours and are rewarded each time they pass a test. How do the dogs help to treat a hypo? Hypo alert dogs can respond to hypoglycemia in a number of ways which may include warning the owner, fetching the owner’s blood glucose testing kit or pressing a specially installed alarm in the owner’s house. Can my dog be trained to be a hypo alert dog? It may be possible. The dogs need to have certain temperament qualities and organisations such as the Medical Detection Dogs charity will need to meet certain criteria. Are hypo alert dogs the same as guide dogs? Hypo alert dogs have a different set of skills to guide dogs. However, it is possible that a guide dog could also be a hypo alert dog if it passed the necessary training. As hypo alert Continue reading >>

Diabetes Alert Dog

Diabetes Alert Dog

Diabetes detection dog Tinker, and his diabetic owner A diabetic alert dog is an assistance dog trained to detect high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) levels of blood sugar in humans with diabetes and alert their owners to dangerous changes in blood glucose levels.[1] This allows their owners to take steps to return their blood sugar to normal, such as using glucose tablets, sugar and carbohydrate rich food. The dog can prompt a human to take insulin.[2] When owners with diabetes begin to experience hypoglycemia, the detection dogs perform a predetermined task (e.g. bark, lay down, sit) to inform the person.[3] Dogs may be directly smelling something related to the abnormal glucose concentration, or may be reacting to the owner's symptoms which are caused by hypoglycemia, such as sweating or shaking.[4] History[edit] The first dog trained to detect hypoglycemia was a Californian dog called Armstrong in 2003.[5] In 2009, a dog named Tinker from Durham City became the first British assistance dog to be officially registered for a type 2 diabetic owner. He was able to give his owner Paul Jackson up to half an hour warning before an attack occurred.[6] Training[edit] Diabetic alert dogs are trained to detect blood glucose changes using the saliva of diabetic patients. The diabetic person collects samples using gauze or dental cotton during a time when their blood sugar is just starting to get too low, or too high. Samples must be collected when the patient has not eaten within 30 minutes, brushed their teeth or used anything with a strong smell such as mouth wash in order to get the strongest scent for diabetes alert. Once the samples are collected, they are frozen and used in training dogs to alert to blood sugar changes. [7][8] Like all service dogs, diabetic respon 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 >>

Diabetic Alert Dog - 4 Paws For Ability

Diabetic Alert Dog - 4 Paws For Ability

Diabetic Alert Dog, Pip sensing a change in Megans blood sugar There are many tools to use in dealing with diabetes, and the Diabetic Alert Dog is one more tool to add to the toolbox used to help families deal with their child who has diabetes. With the use of a Diabetic Alert Dog the child can gain the independence they need as they grow up and mature and the parents are not afraid to allow them to do so. Here at 4 Paws we place Diabetic Alert Dogs with children who have insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes. As with all medical alert dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs are trained to smell the chemical body changes that occur as the insulin levels increase or drop. When a child is experiencing a high or low, their body is releasing chemicals that change their typical scent. A 4 Paws Dog with the right training in scent-based work is able to respond to those chemical changes, at the onset of the changes long before any adverse medical reactions occur, by alerting the parents or caregivers to the change at its onset. The parents and/or child are then able to check their blood sugar level and take appropriate action. Training Diabetic Alert Dogs for children means that we must train a dog that is unique in its ability to meet the needs of both the child with diabetes and the childs family. Most agencies do not work with children, especially very young children. Here at 4 Paws we have no minimum age requirement and believe strongly in early intervention. In addition to the alert work, these dogs provide a measure of comfort for the child, increased self-esteem and confidence, a distraction during unpleasant medical procedures, and of course companionship. USA WEEKEND recently published an article on Megan Rittingerand her service dog, Pip. Full story . . . 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Diabetic Alert Dog!

Diabetic Alert Dog!

Discover The Secrets of How To Train Your Own Learn how to TRAIN YOUR OWN DIABETIC ALERT DOG! Diabetic Alert Dogs help detect blood sugar swings in diabetics. Your Diabetic Alert Dog is trained to then ALERT YOU that there has been a drop in your blood sugar or that there has been a high spike. Yes, now YOU can LEARN THE SECRETS to how to train your own current dog to help detect & alert you! Diabetic Alert Dogs help your detect blood sugar swings. Once your Diabetic Alert Dog has detected your blood sugar swing, they immediately ALERT YOU that there is a problem! Would you like to learn how to train your own Diabetic Alert Dog? Until now, training your own Service Dog was incredibly challenging and almost impossible. Fortunately, NOW THERE IS AN EASY AND CONVENIENT WAY TO TRAIN YOUR OWN DIABETIC ALERT DOG! Many people are using their current dogs and teaching them how to detect and alert to their blood sugar swings using Companion Training’s proven techniques. How your dog can be trained to provide Early Detection to your blood sugar swings How to get started immediately training your own Diabetic Alert Dog - avoiding the common 2-3 year waiting list How you can prevent paying $20,000 – by training your own Diabetic Alert Dog How Diabetic Alert Dogs Save lives How you can learn how to train your own Diabetic Alert Dog Fill out the form below and you will be emailed your FREE videos about how to learn “how to train your own Diabetic Alert Dog” Continue reading >>

Diabetes Alert Dogs

Diabetes Alert Dogs

Breanne Harris, 25, first encountered a diabetes alert dog when she was a counselor at a camp for children with diabetes. Two people from Dogs4Diabetics, Inc., (D4D) – a nonprofit organization that trains assistance dogs to detect hypoglycemia in people with diabetes – brought an alert-dog-in-training to camp. Every night, the counselors would make midnight rounds to check campers’ blood glucose levels. In the dormitory, the dog tore free from the trainer, ran to one teenager, jumped on the bed, and tried to awaken the girl. “We checked her blood sugar immediately, and her sugar was 32 mg/dl, which is severely low,” says Harris, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was 4. “I was sold at that point and applied for a dog.” Kristen Beard, 24, who also has Type 1 diabetes, got a golden retriever puppy named Montana when she was about 19. One night Montana would not leave her alone as she slept. “He was crying and pawing at me. I was mad because he woke me up, but once I became aware, I thought maybe I should test my blood sugar. I tested it, and it was low,” Beard says. “I thought it was a fluke, but he started doing it regularly.” Now he wakes her at least twice a month to warn about her falling blood glucose. “He just started doing it on his own, and I reinforce the behavior with treats,” she says. Veterinarian Nicholas Dodman recalls a client who had a German shepherd that was afraid of men, including the woman’s husband. The dog would avoid him even if they were in the same room. But one night, the dog woke him. The man realized that his wife, who had diabetes, was becoming hypoglycemic. After that, if the woman’s blood glucose dropped dangerously low, the dog would overcome his fear and wake up the man to help her. “It was the on Continue reading >>

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