Training Your Puppy to be a Diabetic Alert Dog

Training Your Puppy to be a Diabetic Alert Dog. My training manual is in
workbook format with links to online resources, training videos, recommended
products,how to use collect and use scent samples, forms to track
scent training,training checklists, and much more. 122 pages.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

24/7 Service Dog?

rachel said...

i want both of your responses on this one - and dee, too . .
i've had a few people ask me lately if a DADog needed to be with its handler 24/7 - or if, on occasion, maybe the team might 'take a break' and the dog stay home while the handler enjoys an evening out. my gut response is, 'of course, you need to be with your dog 24/7 . . .that is why you get a service dog - to be there anytime you need assistance.
but, i do know of dogs that alert even tho' they are not with thier handler 24/7 -
so, i'm just curious how y'all and dee would answer this question.

i'll be throwing this out at, too - so you might want to copy and paste answers there later!!!

Valliegirl said...

I don't think you need to be with your dog 24/7. While bloodsugars do change a lot...we've been without dogs for years so I think we'll be ok if we are without them for an hour or so. I mean I love riding my bike but I just don't feel like I can do it safetly with lucy so I ride without her occasionally. I also want to go to cedar point but it gets so hot in the summer and I'm planning on just going with cory. I think its cruel to take your dog to walk around an amusement park on hot tar in intense heat. If you've got an alternative for the dog while you are there then great! but I don't have one so I'll probably go without her. My bloodsugars would be as well controlled but its not worth risking her health and safety.

Abi Thornton said...

Yes, we were talking about going to six flags and i said that i would DEFFINATELY leave darcy at home... even though i would miss him!! i agree with you when you say that it is cruel to put a dog through that kind of misery. they go with us everywhere else and take care of us 24/7, we need to be cautious of their health and their needs.

BUT, i don't really understand having a service dog and NOT having him with you MOST of the time. that's why we got them, right? I don't think that it is right to pick and choose when it is most convenient for you to take the dog with you and when it isn't so convenient. After all, our dogs are always making sacrifices for us and they don't 'pick and choose' when to alert based on their convenience!

so... if someone asked me if a service dog needs to be with it's handler most of the time, i would say yes. i do know that when you have a service dog, sometimes it will be impossible to have him with you at all times - and i think that it is ok to leave the for an hour or two occasionally. but i could probably count on one hand the times that i have left Darcy home.
and i do believe that you should NEVER bring your service dog somewhere that will compromise their health.

what do you think, Mrs Dee?

Dee said...

I think that although the majority of the time your alert dog should be by your side, there are always going to be exceptions. What if your dog is not feeling well and there is somewhere you have to be? Allow him or her the time needed, at home, to heal from a physical injury, get past an upset tummy, recuperate from surgery, etc. Going to a rock concert? What about the impact on your dog's hearing? Plan ahead if you are participating in activities like snowboarding, whitewater rafting, skydiving, and so on. What about traveling abroad? Can your dog go with you? And, finally, remember the potential for separation anxiety. Your dog needs to be able to be away from you without being upset, right Abi? If you create opportunities for you and your dog to be separated for short periods, it just becomes part of the training, like any other behavior and never becomes a behavior issue.


Abi Thornton said...

OK, i agree with everything that everyone said!! :D

Valliegirl said...

DITTO! Our dogs are saving our lives but we are not sacrificing theirs.

rachel said...

ha ha on the separation anxiety. Initially, we did not realize how important it was to have Mr Darcy practice being apart from Abi for a few minutes - or how important it was for any of us to be able to 'pick up the leash' and work with him. We began to see indicators of 'stress'in moments when brief separation was mandatory (like during a dr. visit, when Abi was 'on the table' and I needed to be at the other end of mr darcy's leash). We had focused so much on 'the bond' that we had neglected this important area of training. sooooo - we rolled up our sleeves and started working dilligently
(BTW, one of the 'things we've learned' is that it is ALWAYS easier to do correct training rather than to undo wrong training!)
I'm soooo impressed with the progress mr darcy and abi have made in this area!
for example: Abi got a medical ID tattoo last week. I was unable to be with her during her appointment time, so she was accompanied by an older sister and a younger sister. The older sister is married and out of our home, so Mr Darcy is not around her very much at all. We decided that because abi would not be able to interact 100% with mr d. and because of the noise, he should wait out in the main waiting room. Abi asked him to 'down' and remain with Lydia, who is 12. When Abi indicated, Lydia then passed the leash off to older sister, Aimee, so that she could come and take a picture of Abi. The entire separation lasted for about 20 minutes . . .in a strange place, with STRANGE people, strange noises, etc. He was perfect!!!
Then, we all went to the mall for dinner. Abi went across the food court to make her purchase and left Mr Darcy in a 'down' under the table - in the center of the food court, in the center of the mall . . . (abi's dad was supervising, but NOT holding the leash!) he watched her the entire time, but never moved at all, never whined.
we are very very proud of how he and Abi have worked on this area!!

Valliegirl said...

that's awesome abi! I know you've been working on that really hard.

Abi Thornton said...

thank you so so so much, valerie. you have been so encouraging to me and it really means alot.
we have been working SO hard and i CAN NOT believe how far he has come.
let me just echo mom in saying that it would have been SO much easier if i would have just trained towards that in the beginning. it would have been so easy to just hand his leash of to mom, dad or lydia when he was a young pup and it would have never been a problem. but... we didn't know what we were doing ( understatement!!) and we ended up having to work through a much harder problem. so i hope all of you starting young pups realize that it is SO MUCH EASIER to avoid a problem than to wait for one to come up and then try to correct it!!!!
thanks again, val

Danielle said...

I have to leave a differing opinion about dogs at amusement parks. Service dogs are trained to be around crowds of people so that shouldn't be a problem. Disney lets us use the disabled entrance with her so she won't have to stand in a hot line. We keep water for her at all times, stand her in the shade whenever possible and go inside whenever possible. It is important I take Racquel with me to places like that because of the extra exercise, crazy food, adrenaline rushes from rides all make wierd blood sugars a possibility. Racquel has stopped many lows in the parks. Disney has designated places to walk service dogs, it is not a new thing for them. I cannnot commment on other parks, but disney is great with them. My friend Erick is a manager there and he says he sees on average one a month. My friend Matt always goes to the parks with Faye (my daughter) and I. He watches Racquel on rides that don't allow dogs. We do doggie swaps, just like baby swaps. Faye loves this because she gets to ride 2 times, one with me and once with Matt. I have never had a problem with Racquel on a ride. She likes rides like Dumbo best because the wind is in her face. We all know how much dogs like that. She isn't afraid of the characters either. She sits for pics. We do leave before fireworks, but she has heard them on the 4th of July and not seemed to mind. Faye doesn't like them either, so we always leave the park half hour before fireworks. hehehe. I have never taken her in the heat of July, that would be cruel. May is the latest I have, or would, take her, but I would never go without her. If she were ill, or hurt, yes the place for her to be is home. But I don't believe you should leave your dog home when you go to a place that makes your blood sugars go wild.

Abi Thornton said...

AHH! Danielle, I am SO glad you are on the blog now! i have been waiting for someone new to 'pop up' :)

WOW! that sounds like AMAZING fun!! Mr Darcy would have SUCH a good time on the rides!!! i so wish that we were closer so that i could go with him (when it isn't too hot, obviously. i liked your sugestion of going before May). my family has never been..... but it would be great fun and Mr Darcy would absolutely love it!
I am so glad that you chimed in and shared your experience with Disney. It sounds amazing!

Oh, and on the subject of fireworks... MR D went to a show that was after a baseball game! HE DID SO WELL!!! i was SO proud of him!!!!! He sat and watched them like "ooh, pretty! what is that?!!?" he was just too amazing! everyone was so impressed with him after it was over and wanted to pet him because they saw him being so good. i was amazed at him!!

Lyndsay said...

A month ago I would have said that separation is fine, if we are going swimming as a family we will leave Dexter at home or bike riding. If we are riding bikes for a LONG time we will leave him at home otherwise he is off leash and just a normal dog following the pack :o) A couple weeks ago Bayleigh (Dexter's girl) went to diabetes camp for a week WITHOUT Dexter. Since she got home he has missed 3 bad lows which he has NEVER done before. So in some ways we are starting from square one :o( I would def say keep the dog with you at all times if possible!

rachel said...

oh, lyndsay - so glad you are here, too. hmm. .i've wondered about Diabetes camps alot. the only experience our family has had was with family camp and MR D went and did very well.
I've heard a lot of the DAD community speak of their kid going to camp, but not the DAD. Some have said that the camp will NOT allow them (?how can they 'get away' with that - wouldn't that be a violation of the law? I've heard others say that the dog doesn't go 'cos it is overstimulated 'cos of all the scent. Mr Darcy totally ignored all other low and high smells when we were there . . .only watched over his girl. But, i can see that it would be a training challenge . . .
anyway - the diabetes camps that i have read about are one, two or three weeks long - that is a LONG time to be separated from your dog.
I'm so sorry that Dexter is struggling to get back on track. I'm sure y'all are working overtime to get him back where he needs to be - i'll be thinking of you.
Thanks for adding your thoughts . . .so good to learn from everyone else!!

Danielle - Disney sounds AWESOME!! I think my husband has a conference there next year (don't tell my kids!!) sooo maybe we'll get a chance to go. I'm not too much for rides and neither is abi, so i dont' think we'd have a hard time tending to Mr D. . . and the conference is in October, so no worries with heat - might be a great new thing to try - ??from the pics, it didn't look like Raquelle was bothered by the large characters - amazing!!
thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

That would be awsome. A lot of the rides at disney are SLOW, so you don't have to worry. October is a perfect time, not hot, not crowded.
I am sure everyone (including Mr. D) will love it!

equineacres said...

I will be getting my DAD in October. My school district is asking for a letter from my doctor so they can make a decision about whether to allow the dog. They want proof that this is the best option. Does anyone have experience with this? Can they even ask for this legally? I am a 5th grade teacher.

Valliegirl said...

No its not legal and since there aren't "scientific" clinical studies done on the effectiveness of alert dogs there isn't really "proof" this is the best option. I would contact an ADA representative in your area.