Getting on soapbox. Flame retardant gear on, I have a feeling I’m getting flamed. But I may also help save a child’s life:

Enough already. A 150 bg reading with 2 units of insulin on board is not your dog alerting to a low. You left out the part about how your child just ate 30 minutes ago, had a meal of 75 carbs, and the 2 units is working on the carbs from lunch. If the child has 2 units of IOB, YOU GAVE IT TO THEM TO COVER FOOD! We know that 2 units of insulin could drop your BG 100-200 points (depending on age/weight), but that assumes the child has NO FOOD OR CARBS in their system. If you just fed them within the last couple of hours, the IOB is working on food. Your child could very well stay at 150, or could go up or go down. In actuality, what is happening is EXACTLY the way it is supposed to work. Eat food, take insulin, insulin requires time (in our case 3 hours) to work its way through the system, all the while working on the carbs that she ate. Now if there is a BS spike (which often happens after a meal) where the BG shoots up to 200 or higher, THAT is an alert. When the dog alerts and the child is in range, but you think the dog may be right, wait 10-15 minutes and check again. If there has been a significant drop of 20-40 points, that was possibly a good, heads up alert. If they are 145, all though that is a drop, that ISN’T an alert.

And as for the “my dog alerted at 11:30 and little johnny was 135. Then I checked at 12:15 and he was 120. Then I checked at 1:30 and he was 99. Then I checked at 2:45 and he was 70. Good low doggie!”. Well, that is just ridiculous. Your dog should have been on his place, and not come to you until sometime after 2. I tell you what. I’m going to tell you to go check your child right now. I bet that sometime in the next 5 hours, they will be out of range.

Most likely, you have trained your dog that when they swipe you with a paw, you treat. They aren’t alerting, they want a treat, and you taught them a way to get one.

Here is what you need to do. Tighten up the reigns, and provide the dog with structure. Make sure they are doing a lot of place work, they are getting a lot of obedience training from you, and you are providing some scent sample games and real time training to work with the dog. But telling me your dog alerted 4 hours ago? Please. And as for that alert, why didn’t he re-alert 3 hours then 2 hours, then 1 hour, then every 15 minutes until you corrected the low?

We all love to brag about the amazing things our dogs have done. But lets be honest. We want these dogs to be accurate. If we as handlers are treating all these other things as alerts, or drag our dogs through them, or treat them every time the child is really in range after a meal, with insulin on board, or prompt/cue them to alert, then when you REALLY need it, you may not really know your dog actually is capable.

When Major or Raven alert and our daughter is 135, we don’t reward. We say “we will watch it”, and then we will check again in 15 minutes. Most likely when we check again, if it was Major, Stella will be below 80, and if it was Raven, she will be over 170 (they each have a freaky specialty of early alerting to a drop (Major) or a rise (Raven) ). What we think of as an “early” or “predictive” alert, is in reality, a real time blood sugar change that current modern medical tools can’t catch that quickly.

So please, you are expecting these dogs to be an extra safeguard for your children. But before trusting them with your child’s life, make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disaster.

Rant over. Off soapbox.

Team Blackdogsrule

overshopping

904122_600075823353987_450448929_o Night time alerting. Most often it is the number 1 reason someone cites for wanting a DAD. And it is often followed up with “and then we can sleep through the night” as if the dog will catch the low, go get a juice box, treat the low, and then go back to bed. Or catch the high, bolus to correct, and do all of that while you stay snuggled up in bed.

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1540321_751143614913873_106988886_oHi everybody! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. It’s been awhile since we updated, it has been insanely busy here, and it’s not letting up yet. We had a wonderful Christmas, we have an extra visitor here for a week, (more on that later) and we have some family flying in from places much colder than here for a couple of days.

As a service dog handler, something I hear a lot is “that must be a rough life for a dog”, or “it seems like a cruel fate”, or even things like “how do you manage to not pet them, and only let your daughter interact with them?”

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20130812-P1020145Laurie told me an amazing story that happened today. See, both our kids go to the same school. But Stella starts at 7:45 and Dash starts at 8:30. They both finish at 3:15. So in the mornings, Laurie takes the kids and Major to school. They wait with Stella until her bell rings. Then once that happens, they head back to the car and wait for Dash’s start time.  More »

8360095572_f12a856d94_b(1)Yesterday was pasta night at our house. We have kids. Kids like pasta. Pasta is easy. Except for blood sugar control. But we’ve been doing this awhile now, and we have gotten pretty good with our combo bolus ratio on pasta night. 3 hours after dinner, Stella’s blood sugar was 136. Perfect on pasta night. About 5 hours after dinner, we went to bed and checked her again. She was 177, but the meter said she had some insulin on board, so off to bed we went, feeling comfortable with those numbers. Cue dramatic music…

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On our Facebook page last week, I asked if any of our members had a topic about DAD’s or diabetes, and several great topics came up that I will be covering here soon. The first one I wanted to cover was from Jenn Demchuk. She writes:

“I would like to hear more about the bonds developed between the DAD’s and family members. How have they developed, which DAD is closest with Stella? Does Stella have a preference for one of them? What about with the other members of your family? Do you have a preference? Who’s personality meshes best with who? And I know they have different strengths and weaknesses as DAD’s (why you have two) but which one is the stronger or even more consistent?”

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9700620539_d01101b090_bMeet Canine Hope’s Lexi. In the picture above, she is the black lab. 🙂 More »

8200976371_5017cab6ef_bLet me preface all of this by saying that I am not a dog trainer or a breeder. I’m just a dad that decided that getting a service dog was important for our family. Since then, I have become more and more involved, met a lot of people, and learned a tremendous amount along the way. These are my thoughts on considerations that should be made on the journey towards aquiring a service dog. As always, take what I’ve made here, and salt it to taste. 🙂

Okay, so you’ve officially decided you want to pursue getting a Diabetic Alert Dog for yourself or your family. Now comes some big decisions. Many organizations offer different types/levels of dog. There are puppies for self training, started dogs, and finished dogs. I’m going to discuss these, and the responsibilities required of you for each type here. But first, let’s talk about several of the most common deciding factors families use to determine which type of dog to get. More »

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