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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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Traveling With Your Service Dog

Dee Bogetti: "I recently had the pleasure of meeting Abi and her diabetic alert dog, Mr. Darcy, at the airport in Denver, CO. They had flown in from Atlanta on Frontier. Her immediate concern was to find a place for her dog to relieve himself. After a bit of misdirection by airport employees, Abi found an appropriate area. Later, as we made our way outdoors to find the shuttle for the rental car agency, we realized there was a place that was much easier to access for future canine "potty" breaks, as long as going back through security was not an issue.

"The above scenario prompted this post. If you have traveled with your dog - by any means including plane, train or automobile - please share your experiences and advice for others."

Abi Thornton:

Traveling with your service dog is always interesting! There is a lot of things we have to consider that people traveling without service dogs do not have to
think about. We have to remember our dogs safety, what they will need for the trip, etc.

Mrs Dee pointed out an interesting question about "potty".
  • Going Potty
Mr Darcy and I flew from Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver Colorado. The flight was a little over 3 hours long. When you take into account being at the airport 2 hours early and making your way through the airport to find somewhere to potty your dog after the plane lands, Mr Darcy had to "hold it" for over 6 hours.

I have found that the quickest way to get out of the airport is going out through baggage claim (i just wouldn't ask the security guards/airport employees because they will give you directions to somewhere that PETS are authorized to potty). Your service dog needs the quickest spot possible - so don't take your time, potty your dog immediately!

There is another problem when you have a connecting flight. In this situation it is not possible to go out through baggage claim because you would have to go through security all over again. I believe that the best solution is to teach your dog to "go potty" on cue (you can use any command..... "hurry up", "get 'er done", "go potty" etc.). If your dog has been trained to "go potty" on any surface you will be able to take your dog to the restroom, tell it to potty and be prepared to clean up :D

Another option would be to train your dog to "go potty" on a "potty pad". In this situation you could bring your dog to the restroom, lay out the Potty Pad, tell your dog to go potty, pick up the pad and throw it away. This option sounds more appealing than having to clean up your dogs potty! I have no experience with Potty Pads, but they sound like a good solution for an airport situation.
  • Going Through Security
Usually, with Mr Darcy, I take his vest and leash off. I tell him to "wait" on one side of the security check point as i walk through. When i get through, I then call Mr Darcy to come to me. He comes to me, and i put his vest and leash back on him. The farthest that i have ever had to be away from him is 3 feet while he "waits" on the other side of the security check point.
However, on the way home from our latest trip, his collar made the security alarm go off. I was alone and i did not feel comfortable taking his collar off of him. I then requested that an airport security guard pat Mr Darcy down. They had no problem with that and Mr Darcy thought it was the best day of his life because someone got to rub his belly for a few minutes!!! :)
  • Consider Your Dog's Safety
  1. Escalators: My advice is, "don't use them." They are potentially dangerous for your dog and can be very bad for the pads of their paws. I suggest finding an elevator or stairs.
  2. Elevators: Elevators can also be dangerous. When getting on to an elevator it is extremely important to get them in the back corner, away from the door. Make sure their tail is tucked away in a safe spot so that it is less likely for someone on those crowded elevators to step on it.
  3. Airport Trains: The trains in airports move very fast and are usually full of people who are in a hurry. I suggest having your dog in a "down" because of the speed of the train. I also think that it would be best to have them against the wall away from the crowds so that your dog will not get tripped on or stepped on.
  4. On The Airplane: Ask for bulk head seating so that there is plenty of room for your dog. Make sure the dog is as out of the way as possible so that your dogs tail/other body parts do not get stepped on/tripped over. I usually request a window seat so that Mr Darcy is not close to the isle.
  • Packing For a Service Dog
  1. Portable Water Bowl - keep your portable water bowl handy (maybe in the pocket of your dogs vest) so that you can easily reach it to get your dog water.
  2. Food - sometimes it is hard to pack enough food for an entire trip. I usually pack enough for a few meals and then plan to buy a small bag when I arrive at my destination.
  3. Law Card - I have a book that includes the service dog laws for each state. I remember to bring that on trips so that if i come across a public access issue I have (in writing) the law for the state that I am in.
  4. Treats/ Toys - What is your dogs reward for alerting? Mr Darcy gets a toy reward for alerting - I always bring his "low toy" with me. If your dog's reward for alerting is a treat, make sure to bring plenty.
  5. Poopy Bags - ALWAYS clean up after your dog :)
  6. Vest/ Leash/ Collar/ Harness etc.
I hope that this post can be of some help to fellow service dog handlers!

Abi & Mr Darcy

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creating the Future

I flew into Denver, Colorado yesterday where I met Abi Thornton and Mr. Darcy, her diabetic alert dog. Our final destination was Wildrose Clear Creek Ranch, 2-1/2 hours from Denver. Mike and Cathy Stewart, owners of Wildrose Kennels in Oxford, Mississippi welcomed us to a three-day Type 1 Diabetic Alert Dog (T1-DAD) retreat. Our focus during this time is to develop a comprehensive training plan for diabetic alert dogs. During a break from brainstorming, Mike took us for a walk on the Continental Trail. That's Abi, Mr. Darcy, Mike, and Deke, the Ducks Unlimited mascost below.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It sucks to be a service dog! Or does it?

I often get asked if lucy ever gets to be a normal dog or people with very sad looks on their faces will say "poor dog has be dragged around everywhere with you." This sometimes upsets me but then I realize people just don't know what being a service dog is like. Lucy LOVES her job. When I say "its time to go" lucy runs as fast as possible to the door and waits for me to put her vest on. I guarantee she would rather be walking around, seeing new things, meeting new people and being with her favorite person in the world(me) then stuck in a crate or home alone for 9 hours a day. And the scent work? Its like a game to her. She's constantly checking me to see if she gets to tell me something that will make me super happy and will earn her a treat. I make sure that no matter how frustrated I am that I'm still low or high I never act upset but that would make lucy like her alerting upset me and she'd be less inclined to alert again later. If I make shopping, going to school/work etc fun for her by letting her do tricks or rewarding her for her good behavior she will look forward to the next time she gets to go out. If I was constantly yanking her around or getting frustrated with her when we were out in public then going out would not be something she'd ever want to do. Being a service dog might be more stressful but lucy gets to use her mind constantly and I make sure she gets plenty of play time and lots of exercise everyday. When we are at home lucy is out of her vest and gets to play with her toys and interact with whoever is at my house as much as she wants while still being aware of my blood sugars. By making everything fun and games lucy is a happy, energetic, well adjusted dog. Its all in how you train.