12-08-2011 12:30 PM
Does anyone have experience with diabetic service dogs? How has your dog worked for you? Does s/he alert you to highs as well as lows? Thanks for sharing!
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12-08-2011 06:33 PM
My daughter has a yellow lab. She picked the pup up from it's mother from a breeder that starts socializing training when it is born. She trained the dog herself and once when she was about 3 months old she alerted to a stranger that was low. She was certified by New Horizons at 1 year of age the youngest certified. My daughter is a real "dog" person. Her last dog, also a lab would let her know when there was a problem even going for help once. But she was not "trained" nor certified therefore could not always go with her. This one is always with her. The dog has always been accepted very well. She is a frequent flier and the airlines has the dog in their system.
She alerts, especially to lows much quicker than a continuous glucose monitor. Speed of highs I don't know about. My daughter has tried a couple CGM but has not found them to her liking. So she depends on the dog. She has been diabetic, diagnosed in 1969 at age 9 but I think she was diabetic since a baby. Lows have always been a problem as she can fall very quickly. My guess, and only a guess, that is the reason the CTG monitors do not work so well. But the dog picks up on it.
A service dog has to be perfect in manners and patients. The dogs disposition is extremely important. It is amazing how frequently people do not see the dog. My daughter considers that to be the highest complement, especially in restaurants.
She lives alone. As her mother I am thankful she has this dog.
Trained dogs are for sale but I don't have information on that.
12-09-2011 04:47 PM
Thank you Betty. Your daughter and I have similar patterns - fast dropping lows, hypo unawareness. That's when people are telling me a dog is most helpful. Is New Horizons a diabetic dog training facility? Where is it? I'm in Virginia. Good luck to you and your daughter and her dog!
12-09-2011 08:46 PM
I've not had a trained service dog, though I know they exist. My experience has been with my own dogs. My first dog I ever had was a lab mix, while going through Good Canine Citizen training with him, the instructors noticed a change in his behavior when there was a fast change in my sugar or if I was just high or low. My next dog did not have this innate ability but my current lab does. Needless to say if he can go with me he does, I feel so much safer with him.
12-10-2011 05:36 AM
I found information by Googling New Horizon Service Dogs. That one is in FL. It appears they do a lot of business involving wheel chairs. There are probably several such services. (I did not read all of what I found.)
They tested the dog , Mercy, for the pertinent things. Of course she has to do the things needed. Additionally manners and obedience are very important. My daughter is, I think, just as good with dogs as the Dog Whisper is so training was no problem. Instead of sitting to alert as you see most dogs do she is taught to paw and the more she is ignored the more she paws. That way if asleep or really out of it the dog gets her attention.
At first you have a puppy vest and the pup is in training. It has all the privileges of a certified dog and it is necessary to take it with you at all times.This pup learned so quickly that it was not a long wait for the dog to become useful.
I really have to chuckle over one happening. Mercy is so patient and calm in all situations. Once they were standing in a slow moving checkout line. Mercy became impatient and decided she didn't like that line, and after a minute or so my daughter realized, just like people, she was trying to go to the adjoining line that was clear and moving.
Fast dropping lows can be a nightmare and very dangerous. Just imagine the problems we had before finger sticks.
12-11-2011 02:03 AM
My mother's cat will jump on me and scratch me if I have a low when I am sleeping. I would take her. But that cat has nothing to do other than that with me. I am looking into a PTSD dog. Maybe they can be cross trained. I used to raise coon hounds. I had some real smart ones.
12-11-2011 04:38 PM - edited 12-11-2011 04:39 PM
Many dogs seem to pick up on BG problems, especially lows. I'm no expert but I would think with a dog trained for other aids could be trained to alert you to lows, maybe even highs. If you are fairly good with dogs I would bet on you being able to get the idea across to one. Even if a PTSD was not so trained when you get one it would be worth a try. Dogs sure seem to have a lot of love to give. Good luck and thanks for your service.
12-12-2011 11:49 AM
Here's a story of a little girl named Faith and her Diabetes service dog "Ruby": http://wegottahavefaith.blogspot.com/2011/08/where
Dig around and you'll find lots of real-life stories information on how Ruby serves Faith; they do an update every Wednesday and you can follow her on Facebook. I recently read the story of when Ruby was matched with Faith and THAT very night she alerted to BG issues. Faith's mom has been very outspoken in how much of a LITERAL life-saver!!
Here is a company that specializes in Diabetic service dogs, it's a nonprofit and they do everything they can to assist families to meet the cost of their new family members. http://warrenretrievers.com/testimonials.html they are on Faecbook as well.\
Hope this is helpful to you.
12-13-2011 12:18 PM
I'd like to get a service dog for my daughter when we get a dog next, but she's a cat person and has no patience for the two dogs we currently have. But.. our two older female cats will alert to her blood changes. The oldest one will wake her up at night if she's going low and climb on her, rub against her and just make a nusience of herself till Courtney pulls out her meter and lets the cat sniff it. Then the cat takes off and doesn't bother her anymore. The middle one, about 2 yrs old, will do the same if her numbers are running high. Now we just added a 3rd little girl to our family of kitties, but she's not quite 3 months old but I'm hoping she'll learn from the other ones how to help my daughter. Funny thing is... the boys (we have 2 male cats) hardly have anything to do with her. They're my cats all the way.
So, it's not just dogs that can sense the difference in the body with blood sugar changes, but I would think a dog would be easier to train so you can take it places with you. My older daughter keeps saying we should get the cat(s) certified so she can take them anywhere. But I know both of them are very people shy and wouldn't be any good out in public for her.
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