We spend a lot of time in the car. Always on the run somewhere, and in Los Angeles, prone to extended periods of being stuck in traffic. While we are in the front seat, the kids aren’t technically far away, but I can’t tell what my daughter’s blood sugar is doing easily or safely while I am driving and she is in the back seat listening to her iPod, playing with her brother, or sleeping. Raven, one of our diabetic alert dogs (a DAD for short), does alert in the car. But we noticed recently that it was noticeably less often, so we decided to go back to the drawing board and work on fine tuning it a bit. This post gives you some background on where we started, some things we tried (that did or didn’t work), and where we are now.
Here is hoping that everyone had an amazing Easter. We have had a super busy weekend here, with lots of hiking, some long runs, a rally/Easter egg hunt with our Canine Hope family, and a day at Grandma’s house today. Major had a very busy past couple of days, so we gave him today off, and we took Raven with us on our trip to Nana’s house. More »
Training a service dog is hard work, a very long process, and often times not very fun. There are so many variables from start to finish, that this is by no means an automated, assembly line kind of process. If and when a dog makes it to Service Dog (referred to as SD from here on out) status, it is almost magical! With that thought in mind, here are a few things you may not hear from your DAD organization, but if they are responsible and truly care, they should tell you. Keep in mind while a lot of this info is specific to diabetic alert dogs, it can be applied to other types of SD’s too. More »
This may become part of a regular series in an effort to help you locate a great organization to get a diabetic alert dog from. First topic? How they raise their puppies. The first year of a dogs life is a very important time. Socialization, obedience training, maturity markers, vet care, there are so many milestones that need to be paid attention to, that how an organization raises their puppies should be an important part of your decision. More »
Raven is our night alerter. She sleeps in our room, next to our bed, on a Kuranda cot, as seen above. We have learned from trial and error, that if Raven sleeps on a pillow type dog bed, a foam mattress type bed, or in bed with us, she sleeps too hard and doesn’t wake up at night to alert. When she sleeps on the Kuranda cot, that is not an issue. She is able to wake up and alert just fine. That has been working well for us right up until… More »
It’s been awhile since i have talked about the amount of training that is involved with having a successful Diabetic Alert Dog. We are constantly working on something, whether it is reinforcing behaviors we already know, like the basics of “sit, stay, down, come, etc”, or working on scent training using low samples when our daughter is either away from the house, or at a good BG level, or doing something new and fun like Agility or Rally
This picture is the very first picture I took of Major and Stella. I feel so bad, as I thought their anniversary was on 10/5, but we actually had Major placed with us on 9/25/11. It is so hard to believe that this amazing creature has been with us for 2 years. So, to the most amazing DAD team I know, Happy Anniversary!