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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Friday, November 30, 2012

Rock on, Cassidy!

Her creativity and talent define her. She absolutely wails on that guitar of hers, playing to audiences of all ages who cannot help but be inspired by her. Cassidy McAdams writes her own lyrics, lays music down behind them, plays her guitar, and sings her own songs ... all with a musical maturity that belies her youth. The word prodigy comes to mind.

I know Cassidy because she has type 1 diabetes and I helped her train her diabetic alert dog, Pepper. I've learned from Cassidy and other kids like her that living with T1D is like living in hell. It wreaks havoc with their lives. These kids learn that stress, exercise, hormones, illness and a host of other things can flip their blood sugar levels off the charts. And they know if it gets bad enough they'll be back in the hospital again. And, yet, over and over I see these kids excel. Some are athletes. Others are computer geeks. Still others are honors students. And a few, like Cassidy, are among the truly gifted.

So while Cassidy is forced to live with diabetes every single day, it does not define her. Her talent defines her.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Power of Dog

Kim is an adult Type 1 diabetic with additional health issues including PTSD. The decision to get a puppy to train as her diabetic alert service dog was daunting. After several months of consideration, Kim and her spouse, Jamie, decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. Puppy Lily joined the family at the age of eight weeks. Seven weeks into their lives together, here is an update from Jamie:
"You would have been proud of Kim and Lily today. Kim’s doctor is dying of pancreatic cancer. Kim is pretty stressed about this and having to find a new doctor. Lily’s presence by Kim’s side in itself is helping Kim tremendously. The situation was difficult for Kim but she managed it with Lily’s help.
"Also, Kim has made it 3 months without a hospital visit. Lily seems to keep Kim’s head focused in the right place (and when it starts to stray Kim works on getting her focus back on loving Lily).
"Today at 15 weeks old, Lily, dressed in her service dog in training vest, went to the new diabetes doctor with Kim for the first time. She walked politely on leash, sat quietly in the waiting room and exam room and made lots of people smile by licking their hands. She showed great self-control for a puppy and was only affected by crying baby in a neighboring exam room.
"Kim and Lily are becoming an amazing team. Lily ended her day by alerting Kim that her blood sugar was dropping before going to sleep."
Not everyone can train his or her own family pet, much less a service dog. It is a process that can be overwhelming. It is time consuming, frustrating, intimidating, and requires a level of patience usually reserved for raising children or caring for the elderly. It is not for the feint of heart. However, for those who decide to train their own service dog, it can be incredibly rewarding. Kim and Lily are off to an incredible start. And the bond they are developing will translate into a life-long partnership, one in which they will take care of each other. 

Lily lives in sunny southern California. That's her in the bottom picture ... beach walking with her canine family members, Mckenzie and Travis.