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.

read more


Did you know that it’s possible to take your pet with you wherever you go? By making your dog a service animal, you have the legal right to take your dog to all public places in the United States. Service dogs are very special canines who have undergone specific training to help their owners while they are suffering from a mental or physical disability or disorder. If you have been diagnosed with a qualifying disability, you can get your dog to be a service dog and enjoy unrestricted access to retail stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels, apartment buildings, and even onto public transport and airplanes.


Service Dog Access Rights in the United States

Although the majority of Americans are pet friendly (more than 60% of US households own a pet), the majority of American business are not pet friendly. Many have established strict “no dogs allowed” policies, not because they dislike all dogs but because a small percentage of the animals that come onto their premises are disruptive, out of control, and clearly not trained in how to behave politely in public.

Usually there is no way around this, except for a federal law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA). Established in 1990, the law states that service animals are allowed complete and unrestricted access to all public places in the US. Service dogs are also allowed free and complete access to all apartments, condos, hotels, resorts, and onto all domestic airlines without being charged a fee of any kind.

In order to make your dog a service dog you need to have a qualifying disability. There are a diverse range of disabilities and disorders that would qualify you for an assistance animal, and many people are unaware that they in fact do qualify. Service dogs are given to people with autism, mobility issues, blindness, deafness, chronic depression and anxiety, as well as people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and many other mental and physical conditions. For a disability to qualify, it must impede a major part of your life and limit your ability to perform normal everyday tasks in some way.

Most people think of service dogs as medium-size breeds of dogs such as golden retrievers and labradors working as a guide dog for a blind person, but any size, breed, age or sex of dog can become a service canine. Small dog breeds such as jack russell terriers and beagles make excellent medical alert dogs and also provide emotional support for their owners with physiological disorders.


how to register a service dog online

A service animal waits patiently for it’s handler in a dental office.


The Registration Process for a Service Dog

The process to get your dog certified as a service animal is very simple. Most people go to one of the various online businesses that sell service canine kits and get their own pet certified as a service dog to take him or her with them wherever they go. This is a quick and easy process, and after filling out an online information form, you’re service dog kit will arrive in the mail within a few days or weeks. A complete service dog kit usually cost between $50 and $200, depending on the options and accessories that are included. Usually, a service dog harness and certification papers are provided to make your new assistance dog easy to identify in public (although it isn’t legally required to carry or display any kind of identification or paperwork for a service animal in the US).

service dog with bracing harnessThe ADA provides no guidelines or requirements for what a service dog is required to be able to do in order to be considered a service animal. The service animal industry in the US is essentially self-regulated, and individual companies and organizations provide their own training requirements for the service dogs that they breed, train and place with families who need them. Nevertheless, most service animals go through at least six months of intensive training from a professional trainer, and are required to be patient and disciplined enough to not only perform the complex tasks their handlers need them for but to be able to remain in control at all times in all places. The entire training process can be very costly, in some cases more than $10,000.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of pet dogs simply don’t have the right temperament to become service animals. Most dogs intended for service are breed specifically for that purpose and trained from puppyhood. Service dogs are working dogs, and they are can be called upon to provide life-saving help for their handlers. Common tasks that service dogs get trained for include: pulling wheelchairs, providing warnings about food products that their owner is allergic to, providing warnings of seizures and helping to restrain their handler when having a seizure to prevent injury, helping the elderly with everyday tasks by picking up and moving objects and opening doors, and many other tasks. These are very special canines and can provide help and support that goes far beyond what any current technology is able to do.



service dog with vestIf you believe you have a disability that would qualify you for a service dog, and you think your dog has the right personality and disposition to become a service dog, investing in training with an experienced trainer is the first step. We don’t recommend attempting to train your pet yourself, as the training process is long and complicated, and can be very frustrating and oftentimes it isn’t possible for an amateur to complete.

Every service animal is required to perform different tasks and jobs, and before you decide to start training it’s a good idea to speak with an organization experienced at working with assistance animals to get an idea of what the whole process involves, what exactly you will need to do and an accurate idea of the overall cost. If you decide to go through with training and your dog is successfully able to complete all the required work, you can look into service dog registration and buying the necessary accessories.

read more