|Barked: Tue Sep 23, '08 6:53pm PST |
|Hi Laura, hi Pudden,
yes, some dogs have a natural skill detecting seizures. No matter what breed, temperament, size, sex, weight or age they are. The challenge here is, though is that You will have to figure out how your dog respond to the signals your body is sending. There is no guideline the dogs would follow. Also before being trained they might pick up on the upcoming seizure or the one that is happening but not respond to it the way you'd hope.
For using a seizure dog you should have more than one seizure a year.. Not talking about the Grand Mall but in general. Seizure dogs are usually used by people with a seizure disorder, which means the seizures impact your life to the point that your lifestyle changes and other "side effects" like anxieties, pain, bruising, shame, physical insecurities, no more leaving the house or having a very strict routine based on the fear and fact of having seizures.
Clarify with your Dr how or how you don't have a seizure disorder. For your protection.
Trainer, schools and the owners monitor dogs for certain behavior around their owner or trial persons.
I can give an example.
My dogs alert. Both in a completely different manner.
One becomes obsessive with licking and pawing, clinging.
The other one becomes very submissive, even seems anxious sometimes, attached, and rubes her head on my leg without wanting to stop.
There are some other little hints the dogs offer, but this is the main behavior.
It took me a while to figure out the pattern, but once I had it I could re-enforce them so they would alert me in a reliable way.
By the way these kind of behaviors are already beautiful skills and this is what you want to re-enforce in a SD. See what they offer.
What I just described briefly is the Alert Dog skill.
In order to work as a Seizure Dog it does not have to have the "alerting" skill. Often times they come over the years, but this skill is not a 'requirement'.
There are tasks a dog can learn to assist you on a daily basis in situations that have a high chance for triggering a seizure.
What I did - I do it with every new dog, kind of like a new beginning - I make a list of situations that have a great potential to trigger seizures. Based on this I work out a trainings schedule. Over the years my needs have changed and so have the expectations I have for the dogs.
Some things improve or decline over the years like coping skills, relaxation practice, medication, life situation, hormonal disposition, number of seizures and their appearance..Practicing daily task with you that lead to relaxation and more security during your days need a lot of repetition and consistency from your side.
Then there is the Seizure Response Dog training. My dog have response pattern I need for them to do. During and after a seizure they show different patterns than the ones during the alert. I trained my dogs to respond to my seizures in a similar way. My life style is so active and busy, I alternate the dogs and use them every other day. Whatever works for you works for you.
Most training organizations train the dogs for response work. The tasks they train the dogs in these schools vary from simple tasks to very sophisticated training patterns.
Somebody with Absent Seizures will need a differently trained dog compared to somebody with a Grand Mall history or Nocturnal Seizures. (often times the seizure activities vary and one person has different ones usually. *sigh*)
There are so so many different types. So may different needs. Some people only take their dogs into situations where it is very likely for them to have a seizure. Some have a certain sleeping arrangement at night, when they have Nocturnal Seizures and other than that the dog can have a blast in the park with his friends during the day or non sleeping periods.. Some use their dogs depending on their hormonal schedule. Some seizures come in waves over the course of the month.
Some response tasks are being able to maneuver the phone and doors and get help and also learn about priorities - lay on top of you and keep you safe until you stop seizing and then go for help, barking, howling, nibbling, pulling.. Keeping you safe when you are confused afterwards or even providing mobility control.. The list is looooong and whether or not your dog will be able to handle depends on his disposition, yours and the trainers.
By the way - I am glad they found out that you got seizures!
Also in case you have a dog and in case he does not alert or you are not familiar with his or her alerting - no worries - find help through the information Laura already posted for instance and get help training it to respond to seizures.
A Seizure Response Dog so to speak.
Hope it was not too confusing ;o)
So there are dogs that help with the seizure prevention
Dogs that alert and respond with follow up actions (need to be trained)
Dogs that respond with follow up actions but not necessarily alert
No matter what kind of a dog you will end up with eventually, you will also learn by experience how to work with your situation.
If you have an alert dog, though, you should be aware that most of them respond to thyroid things, blood-sugar, other people's seizures for instance.
It is crucial to understand your dogs alert - no rush, it will show.
In the mean time you can ask for advice with one of the agencies for training the dog to respond in whatever ways you want or dog can handle. It is good to learn what living with a SD means for your daily routine and what kind of challenges you will face on a daily basis.
Good luck for your journey and I cross my fingers and paws for you.
Edited by author Tue Sep 23, '08 7:00pm PST
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