|Barked: Sat May 12, '12 7:16pm PST |
|"I hear some say it means they tell you something will happen before it does. Others say that your dog is just bringing to your attention what is happening."
That is the difference between an alert or response. An alert lets the handler know their medical condition is about to, or will soon in the future, become an issue. I think because it is common to pair alerting and responding behaviors that is where the confusion comes from. There is a grey area that is often attacked, in between alerting and responding I am just going to refer to as "limbo." People with psych disabilities may relate to me more on this. For example, I dissociate, a lot (I have been working on this post for an undogly amount of time). My dogs are trained to alert ME that I am dissociating, because I am obviously unaware, in limbo. However they are also responding to something that is already happening.... however *I* am not aware that it is happening. They also alert me on average 5-10 minutes before I have a panic attack, episode of illness, and are also trained to alert me to many things that trigger me. Link once stood staring at me for at least 10 minutes the second a certain friend came over (who I had not had any issues with before), and would NOT leave me alone, kept trying to lead me to the bedroom, etc. Certain friend ended up doing/saying a lot of things that severely trigger my disability which caused me to poof for a while, and after Link REALLY meant business, he was able to lead me to my bedroom where I had one of the worst, several hour long episode I have ever experienced. Now that you are all looking at me like an ax murderer
For those with "nontrained" alerters, how do your dogs alert you? With a behavior? My dogs alert in several different ways. Staring (don't mess with a border collie stare), pawing my leg, snapping their teeth (Mario, smart but very quirky), jumping onto my lap or lying/leaning on my legs/feet, placing paws on my shoulders and REALLY staring at me, licking my hand or face.... I think that's it. (I am transitioning between SDs atm, very varied behavior.) Most of these behaviors are also used to *respond* to symptoms as well, but I also have a much longer list of responding behaviors. Grey area? I too would like to know if there is a reference in the ADA as to what "alerting behavior" is.
In my opinion, if a SD is alerting their HANDLER to something happening to them that *they* are not aware of themselves, in most cases, that is an alert. There are areas that overlap, but what should matter is that the person is getting the assistance they need, not nit pick over what an alert is. An alert is individual to each SD team.