Diabetic Alert Dogs
Diabetic alert dogs are service dogs that are trained to give a clear previously defined alert signal when its handler is experiencing a hypoglycemic episode. These dogs, bred for their scenting ability, have noses that are thousands of times more sensitive than the human nose and have been reported to detect a change in blood sugars levels up to 30 min prior to the a glucose meter, or a continuous glucose monitor. The dogs natural scenting ability paired with a high level of training helps to improve glucose control, improves quality of life and gives both diabetics and their loved ones peace of mind.
Diabetic alert dogs are trained for full public access and qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Diabetic Alert Dog Training Services
Long Term Board and Train
Your alert dog in training, will benefit from living full time in the home of a professional, educated trainer who focuses on relationship based, positive reinforcement training backed by scientific research. Training begins upon arrival, and each and every interaction is seen as a learning opportunity. The critical socialization process up to twelve weeks of age is approached as on opportunity to teach puppies that the outside world is a fun and safe place to explore. Your puppy will be introduced to a variety of people, surfaces, other dogs, visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli. Puppies are monitored carefully to ensure each interaction is a positive experience. The individual puppy and his comfort level determines the pace in which we work. While this critically important socialization takes places outside the home, puppies are started on both scent work and obedience training, as well as tolerance to handling nail trims, grooming, and physical exams.
As your dog is being trained in my home, I will point you to some great educational resources in order to help you develop an understanding of how your dog is being trained, and opportunities to join us during the training process. Client involvement is imperative for a successful outcome. As client knowledge base and handling skills increase, dogs will go for short home visits in order to bond with his handler and become accustomed to the environment.
Long term board and train packages start at $1,200/month with a minimum commitment of six months. At the end of the contract period your dog will be evaluated for continued potential as a working DAD. Contracts may be renewed at the end of six month period. It is recommended your DAD is trained by a professional for a minimum of one year for the most successful outcome. While I try to keep costs down, rates are subject to change after completion of six month contract.
Short Term Board and Train
Have you been training your own Diabetic Alert Dog and need some extra support? Does your DAD need his training updated? Board your dog for 1-2 weeks while I address the issues you are finding to be a challenge. At the end of the stay there will be a transfer training session where we will go over what I have been working on with your dog. Weekly, short term training rates are $375/week. End of visit transfer training rate is $75/hour. Written training recommendations will be provided.
In Home Support
Sometimes issues need to be addressed directly in the environment in which they are happening. If you need some troubleshooting at home, in the work or school environment, I am able to come and evaluate the situation, develop and help you implement a training plan. Sessions are billed at $100/hour plus travel fees, depending on your location. You will be provided with written training recommendations with 48 hrs of the session.
Diabetic Alert Dog FAQs
How do you start training a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD)?
A good deal of learning happens through association and consequences. At a very young age puppies are taught the scent of a low blood sugar means very good things. Typically this is started by exposing the pup to a low blood sugar sample and immediately providing something that the puppy finds reinforcing, which is quite often a food reward. After building a deep history of reinforcement, the puppy begins to recognize and become excited at the scent of the blood sugar sample. Eventually dogs are trained to perform an indicator behavior, or alert when they detect the scent of a low.
Much like people, puppies go through several stages of development throughout the first two years. Because of this reason, along with the intensive training involved in training a DAD it can take 18- 24 months for a DAD to be working to its full potential.
What breeds do you typically work with?
Historically, British Labs are the most common breed of dog doing this type of work. Dogs who do service work need a special blend of characteristics in order to be successful. A DAD must be healthy, have a sound temperament, confident, and have a strong desire to work. As a trainer I choose puppies that have the highest likelihood of being successful. For this reason I usually choose to work with British Labs. That doesn’t mean other breeds cannot make wonderful DADs. There are successful Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds and many other breeds working as wonderful Diabetic Alert Dogs.
Will you train a DAD for young children?
Yes, but keep in mind that having a dog is a huge responsibility, even one that is very well trained. Most young children aren’t up to handling the responsibility of being a dog’s primary handler. Diabetic Alert Dogs can be trained to work for the adults in the household and act as a team member in keeping the child safe. The adult would be expected to be the dog’s primary handler.
Where does your training take place?
Diabetic Alert Dogs in training live in my home located in Pawlet, Vermont. Every human/dog interaction is a training opportunity so much of the training happens in the home. Dogs are also taken on outings several times a week for socialization, (as puppies) and for public access training as the training progresses. I also do some of my training at a nearby facility in Manchester, Vermont.
What geographic areas do you serve?
I highly encourage client participation throughout the training process so typically I serve clients in New England and in the Northeast U.S such as NY, VT, RI, CT, MA, NH and ME. I am willing to help individuals with DAD throughout the country however, clients would have to commit to traveling to Vermont.