There are a lot of stories of puppies being delivered to clients way to early to be called “service dogs”. These are dogs in training, and the reality is that many of them may never go on to become service dogs, alert at night, or even alert consistently/accurately. These dogs are 8-12 weeks old.

There are people that have been swindled out of thousands of dollars and sold puppies that have any number of the following: fear issues, aggression issues, no health guarantees, little or no training, were removed from mom too early, have no socialization, and are placed with clients way to young, many times with very recently diagnosed children, and are most likely overwhelmed by the disease and in way over their heads to even consider self training a puppy.

These puppies are being placed with little or no follow up training, for either the person handling the dog, or the dog itself. The dogs may have been “imprinted”, or introduced to diabetic scent from birth. And as such, the clients are being told these young puppies are already “alerting”. Here is the definition of “Alert”:


adjective: alert; comparative adjective: alerter; superlative adjective: alertest
  1. 1.
    quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant.
    “an alert police officer discovered a truck full of explosives”
    synonyms: vigilant, watchful, attentive, observant, wide awake, circumspect;
    • able to think clearly; intellectually active.


These dogs are doing no such thing. They are NOT alerting at 4, 6, or 8 weeks old. I’d be hard pressed to say they are alerting at 6 months old, but they may start to exhibit some pre-alert behaviors at that point. An alert, by definition is to be quick to notice. In many cases, well trained dogs are beating technology by alerting to rapid fluctuations in blood sugar before the CGM or meter show the out of range condition.

What these dogs MAY be doing, (and I’m giving these puppies the benefit of the doubt) is “recognizing” scent.

verb: recognize; 3rd person present: recognizes; past tense: recognized; past participle: recognized; gerund or present participle: recognizing; verb: recognise; 3rd person present: recognises; past tense: recognised; past participle: recognised; gerund or present participle: recognising
  1. 1.
    identify (someone or something) from having encountered them before; know again.
    “I recognized her when her wig fell off”
    • identify from knowledge of appearance or character.

They may be noticing the scent when they are in it’s presence, and often times they are being “led” to it by someone that already knows it’s there, or the dog offers up some behavior (in some cases people will even equate a puppy urinating on the floor as an alert) at the same time which is more likely to be coincidental to the out of range blood sugar.

Paying upwards of $25,000 for a dog that is 8-12 weeks old, in many cases fundraising from friends and family, puts pressure on people to show value, that the money was put to good use. In most cases, dogs at this young age may not even be house trained, let alone capable of alerting. Wishful thinking, high expectations, and hope all cloud rational thinking. These families are scared for their children, battling a disease that is relentless, exhausting, and never ending. They may have been preyed upon by scam organizations, or led astray by other families that may be getting a kick back, even by other people that are ashamed to admit they made a horrible, expensive mistake.

All I can offer is the knowledge that these examples are real. These horrible circumstances, organizations, and people exist. Buyer beware, and please do your homework. Don’t be confused. Recognizing scent is NOT the same as alerting to it.

Team Blackdogsrule


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1 Comment

  1. I will share this! Thank you for educating everyone on this topic.