Alert Dog Training for Diabetes and Seizures


Alert dogs are indeed very special dogs. These canine helpers use their natural ability to sense often subtle changes in their owner’s bodies to warn of potential medical problems so their owners can take precautions, including taking essential medication. These dogs can quite literally save the life of their owners. The process of alert dog training can be complex and difficult, even with dogs that have a strong innate ability to detect changes in human biochemistry. Medical alert dogs are used by individuals with diabetes, frequent seizures, cardiac and blood pressure problems and food allergies.

The Different Kinds of Alert Dogs

Alert Dogs for Diabetes

Dogs with an exceptional olfactory ability can be trained to detect when their owner’s blood sugar level decreases below a certain threshold. They use their remarkable sense of smell to detect the specific change of scent in that individual’s body that results from the change in blood sugar levels. The dog then gives their owner a warning so he or she can take the appropriate medication before the blood sugar level drops further. These dogs are commonly used by individuals with Type 1 diabetes.

Alert Dogs for Seizures

Seizure alert dogs are trained to give a warning when their owner shows signs of an oncoming seizure to help to prevent that individual from injuring him/herself. These canines can, in some cases, provide an advanced warning when their owner displays the signs of an approaching seizure 30 mins to an hour before the seizure hits. These alert dogs are trained to bark when they sense a seizure approaching or, in some cases, to lie on top of and physically restrain their owner to prevent injury during the seizure.

These dogs are hand-selected because of their natural ability to sense the signs in a human’s body that a seizure is approaching. This unique and special skill is not something that can be taught to any dog – instead only dogs that have the natural ability and perception to sense the changes in their owner’s body can become seizure alert dogs. These dogs are given special training to enhance this natural ability and are taught how to provide the right kind of warning for their owner.

Cardiac Alert Canines

Service dogs trained to give cardiac alerts are able to sense when their owner’s blood pressure changes to dangerous levels. By providing advanced warning of changes in blood pressure levels, the dog’s handler can then take the necessary preventative measures, including taking medication or lying down and raising their legs to prevent the blood pressure change escalating to a heart problem. Like the ability to detect oncoming seizures, the ability to sense changes in blood pressure levels is a natural ability and not a skill can be taught to a dog. Only dogs that have this innate skill can be trained to be cardiac alert dogs.

Food Allergy Alert Dogs

Individuals with allergies to certain foods often use alert dogs to warn about potentially dangerous foods that they come into contact with. Many people have severe and sometimes dangerous reactions to certain food products, and these canines are trained to use their powerful sense of smell to detect certain foods and ingredients that their owner is allergic to and warn before their owner begins to eat. As with all other kinds of alert dogs, food allergy alert dog trainers use the dog’s natural ability to reliably detect certain foods and train the dogs to provide an appropriate warning.

Training Alert Dogs

service dog harnessIf you want to make your dog an alert dog, there are many organizations that specialize in training alert dogs, and many offer online video programs for home study. Although video lessons are a relatively new method of alert dog training, they can be effective if utilized with good positive reinforcement dog training methods.

However, the best and most efficient way to ensure that your alert dog is fully able to perform its job is to work with an experienced trainer who can help to guide you and resolve any problems that come up. Trying to do any kind of DIY service dog training can be very frustrating and time-consuming, and an experienced dog trainer can make the entire process much easier and less stressful. Usually, alert dogs begin their training when they are puppies and don’t get placed with their owner until they are adults.

Also, you always have the option of purchasing a dog that has already been trained. Although service dogs for sale are usually expensive and can be difficult to get in many places, but they can save you a huge amount of work and time in trying to train your own pet.

The Training Process for All Service Animals

how to register a service dogAll service dogs undergo an extensive training program, and each dog is trained not only in obedience and manners but to be able to perform specific jobs and tasks to assist their handler. Every dog has to be trained to help its owner with his or her disability, so the training process for each dog is different. The dog and it’s handler need to be able to cooperate and work together, and therefore it’s essential that both get have compatible personalities and temperaments.

Service dogs are placed full time with their handlers, so it’s necessary for their owner and/or family members to care for the dog and to provide regular exercise, food and water, grooming, and regular veterinary checkups. All of these factors and costs need to be considered before deciding to get any kind of service dog.

Alert Dog Laws

Alert dogs, like all service dogs, are protected under federal law (The Americans with Disabilities Act is the law that governs assistance animals in the United States). Alert dogs are allowed full and complete access to all public places in the US, so if you decided to get an alert dog your dog will be able to accompany you wherever you go. As with all service animals, it’s a good idea to get a service dog harness and vest to ensure that your dog is easy to identify in public. This can avoid confusion and should, in most cases, allow you the full and unquestioned access to all public spaces that you are entitled to under federal law.

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