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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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sugar - One great dog!

Beverly T. shared this story about her medical alert dog in training. Sugar is a 5-1/2 month old chocolate Lab.

Yesterday Sugar was pretty amazing. We had gone to our favorite little lunch spot, ordered and sat down. Sugar went under the table as always and went to sleep. This is his habit, his proper behavior in a restaurant for months. Mom was with us and we both ate our lunch and started talking. At a point Sugar started looking at me and making whimpering noises. I thought he had to go out, so we slipped out the back door and I gave him a chance to "go", he did not and I knew he had taken care of that before we entered the coffee shop. So we went back in, again he went back under the table and laid down. A little bit later he looked at me and whimpered again. Mom and I started talking about him possibly being in some pain, as he acted really distressed, but just whimpered low a few times. It really was a pitiful little noise.

I needed to go to the bank, and since Sugar was acting "different" we decided mom would leave her car and ride with me, then Sugar wouldn't have to go in with me. When I finished at the bank and got back in the car, Sugar was acting distressed, pulling hard on his harness and trying to get to me in the front seat. He was able to stretch his zip line far enough to come up and push on my shoulder, pretty hard. Mom asked me had my sugar been dropping this morning, it had not, and since I had just eaten lunch, I really wasn't concerned that it was the problem. At that point I looked down at my CGM and it read 144, but with 2 arrows pointing down (the alarm was off?), which means my blood glucose was falling fast. Since the numbers on the monitor can lag behind actual BG, I pulled my meter out to check BG. It was then 111.

I started correcting the drop, waited about 5 minutes, and rechecked. My BG was 90. So I was on a quick drop down, and because of Sugar's behavior I didn't have to wait for it to go into the really low numbers to start correcting the problem. It was behavior I believe that showed he was aware I was "headed" for a quick drop, before it became low, and this is just what I need, and had wondered how to relay that to him in training. Well no need, he knows his business!

Sugar was 5 months old a few days ago, and has not officially started any scent training. I had started involving him in BG checks, and he had been watching me intently each time. We had started checking BG together as a team on Monday (Feb. 28th, 2011, 4 days ago) when I had 5 glucose drops (one to 33) in one day. Until that time I had been unusually stable for a few months. I attributed this to Sugar's presence and had found some information that oxytocin hormone (see below) is released in people who are in contact with a dog. I thought maybe that hormone was overriding the catecholamine hormones (flight-or-fight hormones) that we believe were reducing the glucose that I had circulating. (Oxytocin has a role in social behaviors in many species, and so it seems likely that it also does in humans. In 2003, a study showed that in both humans and dogs, oxytocin levels in the blood rose after five to twenty four minutes of a petting session. It is possible that this plays a role in the emotional bonding between humans and dogs). He also the same behavior last night and again caught a drop before it was low.

Sugar also lost one of his baby teeth. He deserves the tooth fairy to visit him tonight!!!

Bravo, Sugar!