no-secrets-signI have spent a good deal of time telling you what to look for in a good DAD organization or a dog trainer. Here are a few things that should be a red flag/warning that will hopefully make you think about when you go through this process. More »

20131208-IMG_2521If you decide that a diabetic alert dog is the right thing for you or your family, you need to make that decision knowing that you already have good diabetes management, (I didn’t say control) you already are making diabetes a priority, and you already understand the basics of this disease. That is the only way this will ever work, and it is the only way these dogs will ever have a chance to be successful. More »

Today I am pleased to announce a special guest post written by Dorrie Nuttall. Many of you that follow us here know her as Luke’s mom (a young T1), self trainer of Jedi, and fellow member of our Canine Hope family. She has a huge following at her page on Facebook, where she provides wonderful information about diabetes, DAD’s, and being a parent of a type 1. That page is here: Saving Luke

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9178707077_27b02736cd_bThis 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 »

20140216-IMG_9480If you follow us on our Facebook page, you know that most every Sunday afternoon we pack up the pups and head to a rally class with other members of Canine Hope for Diabetics for their weekly hosted training session. So what exactly is rally? And what purpose does it serve?

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1548117_754204037941164_93245368_o1239441_519688824772260_297999567_n In case you didn’t know, we have 2 amazing, diabetes sniffing, low blood sugar warning, high blood sugar alerting super dogs. A couple of days ago, I met someone while I was out and about with Raven. She was behind me in line, and asked about what service she provided. As i explained her job to her, she looked at me and said “is that all she does?”. I was taken aback for a second, and then I realized that once again, I was dealing with someone that perceives diabetes as a “not so serious, user fixable” disease. And it was one of those days that I just didn’t need the aggravation. I was buying a replacement part to fix our only toilet, and was kinda in a hurry 🙂  So here is my open letter to the “woman standing behind me at Home Depot”

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Just a few images today from a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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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

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