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training a diabetic alert dog

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Argos

638349
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 24, '07 11:52am PST 
Does anyone know how to find a dog who might be good for scent detection and personally train them to be a diabetic alert dog?

I am asking because my father has diabetes and has been fighting cancer for over 2 years. Sometimes a new medication or treatment will cause his blood sugar to go so low that he is almost in a coma. He lives alone (not near me either) and works at night as a security guard, at a place that allows dogs (actually encouraged). He would not be bringing the dog in public and would just be with him when he is alone, so a full SD is not yet needed.

I am wanting to train a dog for him my self because money is a big issue and I am very good at training dogs. Any advice is appreciated.
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Maizie Moo

Yup, I'm a- fashion diva,- DEAL!
 
 
Barked: Thu Oct 25, '07 9:20pm PST 
My Dachshund Maizie is my Diabetic Alert Dog. She is "self trained"... it just came naturally to her. I'm told that one in 1500 dogs will naturally alert, and that Miss Maizie is a "keeper"... but I already knew she was special!

There are several organizations that specifically train Diabetic Alert Dogs that you could contact for more information.

Dogs4Diabetics
http://www.dogs4diabetics.com/index. html

BethEden Kennels
http://www.bethedenkennels.com/

All Purpose Canines
http://www.allpurposecanines.com/alert.html

Heaven Scent Paws
http://www.heavenscentpaws.com/

I believe any dog could be trained to alert... just depends on the time and effort you are willing to put into training. I think contacting any of the above organizations is a good start, though.

Karen Ann & Kanine Krew
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Angel Boy- Adam- ChewbaccaNPC

Nothing is too- big for me Love- Roxie
 
 
Barked: Fri Oct 26, '07 10:49am PST 
Adam Chewbacca is self trained too the first time I had a low he ran to the front door and started barking for my mom to come inside. Now he runs to get her any time I have a low and will not return till she follows him. He has also been trained to pick things up when I drop them. The only thing he would not give back to me was a pack of cigs 5 years ago. He took them under the bed and started breaking them. I decided he was telling me to quit smoking so it has been 5 1/2 years since I smoked. I think smaller dogs are better alert dogs since the can be held and sleep on the bed with you.
Adam Chewbacca and mommy Lorismile

Edited by author Fri Oct 26, '07 10:50am PST

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Boston

BSL - laws against- BigSexyLugs- stop it!
 
 
Barked: Fri Oct 26, '07 11:06am PST 
Adam- I didn't know you were a diabetic alerter!!! I (Jeff's brother, if you didn't know) am too!

OP, Yeah, my dog leanrt by himself, I guess it's just luck which dogs do. I heard dogs mainly detect hypos by smell, so a breed witha good nose will rpobably be the right way to go!
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Argos

638349
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '07 11:33am PST 
I have found that those organizations (with the links posted) are very expensive, and money is an issue, this is why I am looking to diy. As for the "1 in 1500" how can we be sure? I mean there has not been research done on it and this is coming from an organization that makes money selling them for several grand. It could be true, but how do we know?

I have done research and found that acetone is the chemical released through the lungs when blood sugar has gone too low. So do I just swab some of that near my nose and try to teach the dog to paw me? Choosing a bread that is known for their scent makes sense, but every dog is different. Is there a way to tell what dogs would react to the smell at the shelter for example?

My Sheltie/Border Collie mix seems to smell when something is wrong with me. He often sniffs my nose and when he thinks something is wrong he will bug me and lay his head on my chest. He even woke me one night about an hour before I got sick from food poisoning.

So having a dog like mine makes me believe it is possible to find one for my father. (My dog would not be suitable for him) Plus I am very good at training and I have heard of individuals doing so. If any one reading this has trained their dog, I would greatly like to hear from you.

I think I am going to experiment training my dog first. If I am successfull then I will choose a dog for him. Wish me luck.
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Boston

BSL - laws against- BigSexyLugs- stop it!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '07 12:33pm PST 
Good Luck!! big grin

P.S Has your dog ever reacted differently to your father when he is low? We figured out Boston could tell when he started lying on me protectively during hypos, and so we started training. Maybe your dog already reacts.
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Banjo

I LUV- PLAYING..'DA- BANJO!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '07 3:33pm PST 
waveI am type 1 diabetic-I just am getting a little chorky Nov.10th!
I had already put him on hold-came home-looking on internet-found a piture of Lucy, a chorkie-she is a self trained diabetic alert dog! don't think that didn't make me feel like it was meant to be! But, I think when they love you,they just know something is wrong! many are not really trained, but alert their owners to problems!
I really don't have any info for you-just thought you might like to hear about that little girl!
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '07 5:20pm PST 
I trained Sabrina, but she's not a diabetic alert dog! I've heard from others though that you can do some more standard type of scent training, where the dog alerts you to a scent, and that you might be able to use as a scent a hankerchief with sweat from during a low on it (seal it in a plastic baggie between uses to preseve the scent). Again, I don't know a lot about this, but we did a little bit of scent work with Sabrina as we're trying to train her to find my husband in a crowded store. The book my trainer reccomended was called Fun Nosework for Dogs or something similar.

In my nosework class that I took last winter there were some dogs that were super good at scenting right off the bat-- one of them was a beagle. Those and other hound dogs tend to have good noses as that's what they were bred to do. Sabrina doesn't really have that great of a nose, though, and she's half Weimaraner. Personally I'd reccomend hiring a trainer who has experience training dogs for scent work and having them help you pick the dog. That way you can at least be a little more confident that the dog will be able to learn it. I know that there are often trainers who visit shelters to look for dogs with potential for police, SAR or service work so you could call aroundn and start asking about them to see if they can help you pick a dog. Even though you don't want the dog to be a service dog right now, it might be something your dad becomes interested in in the future, plus easily trained good manners would be a plus even in a dog-friendly work environment, so you might as well pick a dog who will also have a temperment for service work if you can. Hope that helps!
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Argos

638349
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 31, '07 11:43am PST 
Finding your husband in the store...thats amusing!

I live in Florida, and my father lives in Texas. Most recently I have been flying over and do not have my dog Argos with me, so I have no way of knowing if he would react. However we will be driving to see him for Christmas. I am hypoglycemic, but I do not get low blood sugar often and it is not when I am at home since food is readily available.

I tried contacting the only SD trainer here locally and have not gotten a response. I'm not even sure if they train diabetic alert dogs. I have heard of people DIY for low blood sugar, so I'm hoping that someone who has reads this.

Thinking of the future if he does decide to have a full SD is a good idea. I may not be sure how to scent train but I know I could train a dog for all the good behaviors. My dog Argos would pass a behavior test.

I'm not sure how to capture the scent on a hankie when my blood sugar does get low since the scent is excreted through the breath. I am guessing if I wipe my scent then that will just train him to my smell. I am not trying to contradict you, and I am open to all ideas, just looking at all angles.

Thanks for the support.
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Argos

638349
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 31, '07 11:59am PST 
BTW, if I do decide to DIY train a full SD for my father's diabeties, I would of course get it certified before it is brought out to public.
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