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Diabetic Alert Dogs!? Can smell low bgs?...

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by ilovethumper, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. ilovethumper

    ilovethumper Approved members

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    Hello All,
    I have just recently come across an article on the internet that I found very interesting about several organizations that train service dogs to recognize a scent given of by a diabetic when there blood sugar levels drop to a below normal level. I think this is just the cooles idea :) and have gone to every website that I could get google to show me on the topic. I havent been able to locate a way to get one of these dogs though for one of two reasons, either the organization is to far away and only services a specific area or they charge a large fee for the dog that I simply cannot afford to pay, though I would love too. Does anyone have any idea as to what they do to train these dogs? I have been wanting to adopt a dog lately anyway, this sounds like a very neat project. I read that they do it using sweat/breath samples (the scent) from a person with low blood sugar. I am still unsure of how that would work exactly. Does anyone have any experience or ideas on such a thing? Also, what breed of dog would you think most appropriate? I believe it would need to have a good sense of smell, be intelligent, and be able to be taken out in public (much like a seeing eye dog) so it would have to be trainable & obiedient and friendly to strangers and other animals.
    Any replies would be very much appreciated!
    -- Katie
     
  2. sparkyjt

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    Hi Katie,
    We are currently in the process of getting a dog from Heaven Scent Paws. My husband and daughter are actually there now for the 3 week training course. I know they also offer a do it yourself training course where they help you pick a dog and help you get started with the training. The fee for the 3 week course was a bit steep but we were able to fundraise every bit of it in about a month. I was surprised at how willing the community was to help us raise the funds. Many family members and friends made donations as well. Don't let the cost be a total deterent because it was a lot easier than I expected to raise it. HSP gives a lot of ideas on what fundraisers work best and will help you raise the money. They've been great to work with and the dog they've placed with Reese is just super. He is a Sheltie. We are so excited to have this organization. :) If you do a search on "Heaven Scent Paws" it should take you to their website. There's a link to fill out an application. After we did that, they contacted us within a couple of days.


    Julie
     
  3. ilovethumper

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    Thanks so much for your reply, theres was actually the first website I went to when I heard about this, I have heard nothing but wonderful reviews. Do you know what type of method they use to train the dogs though? I am terribly curious, going to call them tomarrow and try and get some more information. Hope it all goes well!
     
  4. miss_behave

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    With CGMSs that show your blood sugars in real time, I don't really see the point of having a hypo alert dog, which can only detect lows. It sounds like fun at first I guess, but I think I would get soon get sick of having a dog following me around everywhere, people staring, and ignorant people who would tell me "dogs aren't allowed here" etc.

    I'm sure I'd have to explain myself a million times to people at shopping malls etc, who'd refuse to let my dog enter. Geez, I've heard about blind people with guide dogs that get discriminated against, I can't imagine what it'd be like trying to explain that this was my diabetes service dog.
    I'm turning 18 soon, so I will be pubbing and clubbing :D and I certainly can't have a dog with me!

    I've heard of some kids here in Australia with hypo alert dogs, and they've been banned from taking them to school :rolleyes::mad: And they cost a lot of money.

    But each to their own! I'm sure its good for some people, but definitely not for me!
     
  5. sparkyjt

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    HSP won't disclose the type of training methods they use. Their methods have patents pending. If they went around telling people how, then they wouldn't have any clients! People would just do it on their own.

    As for the CGMS argument, the dogs usually catch the low long before the CGMS does. There is currently a child there in the training who has a CGMS and it's amazing to see how much more quickly the dog picks up on it. The CGMS shows a downward trend but when she checks her sugar it's usually not anywhere near what the CGMS says. The dog is usually more accurate. I've heard that's the problem with CGMS too. I'm sure as technology advanced, they will get better though.
    As for school, these dogs are certified service dogs. It is legal for them to attend school as well as be in any other public place. It is illegal for any school or other establishment to kick them out if they are a certified service dog. The drawbacks you mentioned, however, are real and something someone needs to seriously consider before committing to a get a service dog. You must keep in mind that the dog must be with you 24/7.
     
  6. CC'sMom

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    I'm interested in this too. I posted about it a few days ago. Hope someone who has a dog that alerts can share some info on this.

    Here part of my other post:

    I’ve read a few of the posts about the alert dogs with much interest. We already have a dog and she’s getting older so a puppy is in our future. It sounds like with the exception of professionally trained service dogs, these family dogs just picked it up on their own. Is that true? I don’t feel my daughter needs a full-fledged service dog. But it would be great for the family dog to be able to sleep in her room at night and let us know if there is a problem. So how do you train a dog to alert to a low or high? Is that something anyone can do on their own? Or do you just have to get lucky and find a dog that naturally learns this ability?
     
  7. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    I'd like to hear from anyone who currently has a service dog. How does the dog do going to school w/your child? What about church or a movie?

    We can't have one because my youngest ds has allergies, but I've often thought about it for my mom who is hypounaware and loves dogs. I don't know how she'd do w/the dog 24/7, though.
     
  8. Ivan's Mum

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    word search dog on CWD

    If you word search dog on this site you'll find loads of info in the posts. One lady was keeping her sons socks that he wore when he had a hypo and putting them in a glade lock bag and sending them off for the dog to learn the sent from. Another trained her dog to do one signal when she was high and another when she was low. I contacted her about it but she's not got back to me about it.

    Also, I suspect that if you get in contact with people who train sniffer dogs for the airport they'll give you an idea of what to do and breeds to try. I know it's a business for people training dogs, but I think that this is something you can do yourself and if you ask around you'll probably find enough info to figure it out.

    I'm about to write an article on it for our local T1 magazine so will report if I find anything of interest.
     
  9. sam1nat2

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    I'm just hoping to get a cgms and train the dog to alert ds when she hears an alarm at night in case I don't.

    Brenda, people that are allergic to dogs often don't react to labradoodles, have you considered one of those???
     
  10. Barry

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    Do you think I could train my dog to bite when he heard cellophane unwrapping? I'm sure I couldn't afford the one that senses lows.
     
  11. AlisonKS

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    We can't afford one, but we adopted a german shepherd for companionship. Tony can't go outside that much, too hot in Houston and it makes him go low, plus we have one car and dh takes that too work-12 hour shifts. So we are literally stuck inside everyday. She has detected two lows at night, she woke me up and whined till she saw me go to Tony. I haven't trained her or anything but she's always keeping her eye on Tony and whines if she can't get in the same room as her. Just thought I'd throw that out there that even non trained dogs can do it ;) Plus I think Tony has been a lot more happier since we got her, he's always hugging and kissing on her!
     
  12. SamsMom

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    Sheltie

    Hi Julie,

    Have you ever owned a Sheltie? Our beloved one, Anastasia, passed away from old age 2 years ago. We now have a Golden Retriever pup and he is great, however, I miss my little Sheltie. They are great dogs and very smart. I hope you keep us posted when you get him and post a picture, too, if you can!
     
  13. haileysmom

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    hey julie, i am excited to see that you are at hsp now! hailey and i are going in july. i am so excited! i am hoping it will really help hailey and i get a bit more sleep at night, and once you have seen my daughter the way i saw her that night (im sure a lot of people here know that feeling exactly)...all the drawbacks seem completely worth it!
     
  14. TracieandJim

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    Does anyone currently have a diabetic service dog? How is it working out?

    T
     
  15. chocoholicsc

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    We got our first sheltie last summer. She was to be a show dog for our oldest daughter. She has placed well in the show rings, but I've just been noticing that she sometimes acts 'funny' around our son when he's not feeling well. It's only been a few weeks, so I can't say for sure, but she will come and get right in my face and even paw at me. The first few times I pushed her away and then one day I went and got the meter and checked his sugar and sure enough he was 63. I have no idea if it's just a coincidence or not, but I will definitely be paying more attention. It's especially surprising since she's not my son's puppy. She sleeps in our daughters room and everything...? Anyway, I just wanted to chime in that if anyone doesn't want to go the alert dog route...I think a sheltie would be a good second alternative.:)
     
  16. Kirsten

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    I'm in the process of training our Labradoodle puppy to be a diabetes alert dog.

    Kirsten
     
  17. VictoriasDad

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    Can I ask how you would train the dog?

    We are thinking of getting a dog and if we could train it I would love it!

    Thanks.
     
  18. Kirsten

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  19. linda

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    sorry dont have any info, but we also would like to have 1 (after harley)..I couldnt imagine how they train them, and it is fascinating, we wouldnt bring it around with us, nor do i think it would be that accepeted in public as a seeing eye dog, but more i think for a sleeping child at night!! Right now our lovable pitt can be curled up near Em at near seizure and be SNORING
     
  20. MommyStress

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    what about other children in school highly allergic to animals ?
     

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