Dogs Helping Diabetics: Dogs can be trained for almost anything. There are dogs that are trained to be police dogs, watch dogs, rescue dogs. companion dogs and seeing eye dogs. Did you know that dogs can also be trained as a medical alert dog for diabetics? These dogs can detect when a diabetics blood glucose goes to low and will alert them. There are organizations all over the country that are training dogs to help people just like you who suffer from diabetes.
One of the organizations, Heaven Sent Paws was founded based on a mother’s personal experience with her son and his diabetic seizures. She did some research and worked with a dog that she bought and sure enough, the dog was able to tell when her son’s blood sugar level was getting to low and she alerted the family to the child’s falling blood sugar level and they were able to get it back up before he went back into seizures. Others have started organizations based on similar experiences.
So exactly how does it work? With most of the organizations they train the dogs from the time they are puppies. Some organizations will take in pregnant strays, saving both the mother and the puppies. The puppies will then begin to be trained. They are trained on many behavior commands and actions. They are taught acceptable public behaviors and are started on scent discrimination training. The key to having the dog work well is to also go through extensive training with the new owner.
Heaven Sent Paws requires you to go through a three week training course with your dog. If the dog is for your diabetic child, then your child has to be there also. Through out this three week training course, you and your dog will participate out in public as a class. You and your dog will be brought to many of the same places that you will go to in your everyday life. Places like the supermarket, department stores, malls, movies, restaurants, bowling alley, on a train, in elevators and even on a school bus if you have a diabetic child. It is essential for you to feel comfortable with your dog in these situations and other situations once you get back home. Plus, it will get you use to having your dog with you everywhere you go.
When you get your dog, it is best that you go into it not expecting a perfect dog. The dog is still a dog and you will still have to make sure you praise it and sometimes correct it. You also have to make sure your dog gets plenty of love and attention. Most of these organizations will match you up with a dog. As of right now, there are no known trainers out there who can train a dog you might already own to become a medical alert dog for diabetes. There have been some reports though that there are dogs who have not had any formal training who can sniff out if their diabetic owner has had a drop in blood sugar level, but there is no hard evidence to support this.
Having a dog who can alert you when your blood sugar is dropping is a excellent pet to have. They can help you better manage your diabetes and lessen your risk of complications.