Blog Posts – Free Training Advice

Midwest Diabetic Alert Dog Training Advice – How Young Is Too Young?

At least three times a week I get emails from potential students looking to train their own medical alert dogs. Most of them either ask how old the dog has to be to start medical alert dog training or assume that their dog is too young to start medical alert dog training. In the video, Lavoyce from Kansas wants to know how old the dog has to be to start his training. In this YouTube Medical Alert Dog Monday video you will learn how neuroplasticity, cognitive pathways and critical socialization windows play a significant role in how soon you should start your dogs medical alert dog training. Hint: its probably alot earlier than you think!

With Christmas coming up right around the corner, its possible there might be a puppy landing under your tree on Christmas day. If so, be prepared for their arrival by purchasing the Service Puppy 101 – Survival Supplies Package on our store. On the list hand crafted by Mary McNeight specifically for you, you will find everything from the types of crates to buy, toys that can reduce puppy chewing, the best types of treats to use and even books on positive reinforcement puppy training.

This is list isnt just for service dogs, its a perfect list for anyone who is bringing a puppy home. Please forward the link to our store to your friends list. We guarantee your friends will think you are da bomb!

Diabetic Alert Dog Training Advice – Should I Get A Male Or Female Puppy

Battle of the Sexes: Male or Female Puppy For Diabetic Alert?

One of the more frequent questions I get from people who want to train their own diabetic alert dog or people who want to purchase a diabetic alert dog is if a male or a female puppy would be a better choice for their specific needs.

This is a controversial question in the service dog training community. You will find trainers who prefer males over females and some that prefer females over males. You will find that some people say you should have a dog that is the opposite sex you are and then others that say that your dog should be the same sex as you.

Im hoping I can clear up this controversial issue in our first Medical Alert Dog Monday Question from Chip in Washington state. He is a diabetic who is going be be getting a goldendoodle puppy. Some people are suggesting he get a female. But knowing how much experience I have having helped over 100 people train their own medical alert dog, he wants to get my opinion.

What do you think my answer to this question is going to be? Watch the video below to find out.

Do you agree with my conclusions? If yes or no, please leave your comments on our YouTube page for this video.

If you would like to know more about the classes featured in the video, visit the diabetic alert dog training classes webpage.

Diabetic Alert Dog Travel – Free Advice – Missouri Illinois

We have three videos on travel tips for your turkey day adventures with your pups. Whether you are traveling from one coast to another on an airplane or just over the hill and through the woods to grandmothers house, you can count on these travel tips to take the headaches out of commuting long distances with your pup, diabetic alert dog or not.

Although we no longer train pet dogs, you can still support our program by using our link when you purchase your Christmas Gifts.

Free Tips For Preparing for Diabetic Alert Dog Travel Emergencies & Overall Medical Alert Dog Comfort

Free Tips For Airplane Travel With A Pet Or A Diabetic Alert Dog – Video 1

Free Tips For Airplane Travel With A Pet Or A Diabetic Alert Dog – Video 2

This video not only includes tips for travel on a airplane with your service dog but great tips for just generalized travel with any dog in any form of transportation.

Please share this webpage with your friends and invite them to get on our email list for more great free resources for the pet and medical alert dog.

If you would like to find out more about our Diabetic Alert Dog / Medical Alert Dog Training Classes you can visit our Classes webpage. If you would like more info about our train your own Diabetic Alert Dog Videos you can go to our partner program at Diabetic Alert Dog University.

Migraine Alert Dog Training Could Prevent Brain Damage

We cant wait to help you prevent migraines from robbing you of your quality of life on this planet with the use of a trained Migraine Alert Dog – Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS

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St. Louis Missouri Classes Teaching Migraine Alert Dog Training

Use the power of your dogs nose to save you from misery and suffering from a Migraine!

Unfortunately Im sitting here at my desk about ready to hurl. My eyes are slightly light sensitive and I appear to have developed a heartbeat in my throbbing head. What’s wrong with me you ask? Is your blood sugar low? Unfortunately not. It a migraine.

Ive had them since freshman year in college. It starts out with a flash in my vision and within about 30 minutes Ive had a psychedelic aura eye trip that resembles a moving rainbow in a 1960s music video. Thankfully my aura only leaves me temporarily blind but I know the MOMENT I see the first signs of an aura I have less than thirty minutes to get the medication in me that could save my entire day. Its the difference between feeling blah or spending then entire day in my room waiting to hurl, with a eye mask blocking out all the light while someone repeatedly stabs an ice pick into my left temple.

Historically migraines were thought of as just a nuisance. But modern science now knows what migraine suffers have been telling them for years, these are no ordinary headaches. Migraines are not just headaches, they are brain aches. Scientists and medical professionals now know that migraines permanently alter the brain causing white matter abnormalities. Just like transient mini-strokes, migraines literally starve the brain of life sustaining oxygen.

So, what’s a migraine sufferer to do? Train their dog to alert them PRIOR to the start of a migraine in our Intensive 4 Day Medical Alert Dog Training Class on the border of Missouri and Illinois!

There is a rumor online that seizure alert dogs and migraine alert dogs cannot be trained to alert, that they have to come by their alert naturally. This is an old mindset that isnt based in modern medical alert dog training. Although my personal service dog Liame came about his migraine alerting ability naturally, we know that with proper training, dogs can be trained to alert you sometimes up to 30 minutes prior to your migraine so you can get your migraine medicine in your system quickly. And as any of you migraine sufferers know, taking your medication as early as possible can make the difference between a no pain day and an emergency room visit level 10 pain day.

Not only are migraine alert dogs valuable for symptom relief but its possible that getting your medication in prior to the start of the episode may reduce the level of brain damage done by your migraine episode.

Want to learn how to get your dog to alert to an oncoming migraine? You can do so in our 4 Day Intensive Diabetic Alert Dog Class or by using our online video program Diabetic Alert Dog University. We know that the name of the class and online video program is confusing because it sounds like all the class teaches is diabetic alert but in reality all you have to do is replace the words Diabetic Alert Scent Sample with the term Migraine Alert Scent Sample. Its literally as simple as that!

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The photo above is one of our first migraine alert dogs. He is a Yorkshire Terrier named Cracker Jack and was trained OVER 3 years ago! Although Service Dog Academy’s main mission is diabetic alert, we use the same training techniques used to train diabetic alert dogs as we do for seizure and migraine alert dogs.

Within the month, Service Dog Academy will be adding an additional Seattle 4 Day Intensive Diabetic Alert Dog Training Class scheduled for mid September 2014. Please forward this article to anyone you know who you think might be interested in managing their migraines with the use of an alert dog.

We cant wait to help you prevent migraines from robbing you of your quality of life on this planet!

How To Make Your Own Diabetic Alert Dog Training Scent Wheel

A few of you had some interest in the scent wheel I brought into class. I have decided to add an additional bonus to your Diabetic Alert Dog Training Program by providing you with all the information you will need to create yourself a scent wheel. Scent Wheels can increase pavlovian responses and drive to search in your dog. Its also a great way to test whether or not your dog is actually responding to your low blood sugar scent or to the smell of your food.

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Supplies You Will Need To Make Your Diabetic Alert Class Scent Wheel:

1. Solid wood circular cutout (the one in the photo is about 18 inches in diameter)
2. Drill
3. Phillips drill head
4. Small drill bit
5. Tape measure
6. Lazy Susan
7. 16 – 3/8 inch or smaller screws (anything longer and you might pierce through the wooden board)
8. 6 scent sample containers
9. 6 dog food cans that are all of the same size, brand and type of food
10. Goo Gone goo remover
11. Rubber gloves
12. Towel or rags

Instructions For Making A Diabetes Alert Dog Trainer Training Scent Wheel

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Step 1. Clean the left over glue that held the label onto the can with the goo remover and towel/rag. You dont have to use the rubber gloves but I do because I am very scent sensitive.
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Step 2. Place the lazy susan into the center of the board and screw it down with 4 of your screws
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Step 3. Drill 2 holes into the bottoms of each can
Step 4. Mark out six equidistant spots on the top side of the wooden board for placement of the cans
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Step 5. Use the screws to secure the cans, one by one, onto the wooden board
Step 6. Drill 2-5 holes in the top of the 6 sample containers (the ones from Week 1s video) all in the same location on each container top.
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Step 7. Start using your scent wheel with only one scent sample container inside the cans. Click and reward your dog for putting their nose near the scent sample container.
Step 8. Once your dog is proficient with finding the diabetic alert scent sample container in only 1 can, add another scent container to your scent wheel that has just cotton in it. Click and reward your dog for finding the container with the scent sample in it.
Step 9. Repeat step 8 until you have a dog who can find the one low blood sugar scent sample from among the 6 containers
Step 10. Repeat step 9 about 30 times, then move onto getting your dog to locate the low blood sugar sample among the 5 remaining containers that have cotton that is soaked in normal blood sugar spit.

Diabetic Alert Dog Puppy Training – Preventing Guarding Or Growling Around Toys And Bones

Train Your Service Dog / Pet Dog or Diabetic Alert Dog To Never Guard Bones

Service dogs need to be completely safe around other dogs and humans. They need to think that no matter who approaches them when they have something in their mouth, be it a two year old child, an autistic adult or even another dog, that there is never a need to guard anything. Watch our free youtube video on how we teach both pet dogs and service dogs to never guard anything.

Our advice is so highly esteemed by training professionals and breeders across the country that this article was recently featured on, a website with over 800,000 members!

Medical Alert Service Dog Training Advice For Free For Pet Dogs

This technique is very useful for diabetic alert dogs, seizure alert dogs, narcolepsy alert dogs and even migraine alert dogs. Our labrador puppies in training for diabetic alert, Luke and Leia, show you how easy it is to teach a dog that guarding is pointless. Humans rule because they never take stuff away from you!

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes Symptoms Can Go Unnoticed

Diabetes can often go undiagnosed because the symptoms seem harmless. According to the Center for Disease Control, around 20 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, and roughy 7 million more are undiagnosed. World Diabetes Day on November 14th as part of Diabetes Awareness month is set aside to recognize the symptoms and talk about this disease that adversely affects so many lives.

Symptoms for Type 1 can be hard to spot, which is why so many people go undiagnosed, but the complications can be much worse, even deadly. Complications to untreated type 1 or type 2 diabetes include glaucoma, skin infections, hypertension, heart disease, nerve damage, and stroke.

Diabetic Alert Dogs, a Tool for Success

In the meantime, there are several tools a person can use to manage their diabetes, but one interesting way is through the use of a service dog. A dog’s nose contains more than 225 million scent receptors, able to pick up on the slightest variation in smells – biochemical changes in your body is one of them. Trainers all over the United States have been trying to harness this ability to help diabetics stay on top of blood sugar fluctuations. This can be totally lifesaving to children with diabetes and the elderly who may not be able to pick up on the physical changes brought on by a blood sugar crash, and brittle diabetics whose sugar can be normal one minute and suddenly crash within seconds. These amazing dogs take highly specialized training and years to become fully trained, and the price tag for a diabetic’s best friend can be upwards of $20,000. Maggie, a chocolate Lab from Service Dog Academy right here in Seattle is one such lifesaver, and may be the solution to someone without the time or energy to train their own.

Train Your Own Diabetic Alert Dog

Training your own dog is an alternative to those without such deep pockets. Service Dog Academy pioneered the concept in 2008, and students at the West Seattle dog training studio have been doing the work themselves and get quite a bargain for something so priceless. They can train for Type 1, Type 2, Hypoglycemia, or pre-diabetes which can be a bigger lifesaver at managing something before it gets worse.

Our students seek out their own dog, either from a breeder or in some rare cases, adopt from a shelter. Then, they go to classes, learn from Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS and go home and practice the training every single day. It’s a lot of hard work, but the payoff can be even bigger than having a ready-made service dog. Jeff, a client since last year, trained Cooper, an adorable 11-month old yellow Lab, says he and his family do the training together, and it has brought them all closer because of it.

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Day, take a look at the symptoms below and visit the American Diabetes Association to learn about the complications from untreated diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and Irritability
  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Any of the type 1 symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
  • Classes for Pet Dogs, Too!

    If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we highly encourage you do visit your doctor and get tested. For more information on Service Dog Academy’s diabetic alert dog training program, or Maggie, who is an already trained diabetic alert dog soon to be available for purchase email We also use our strict positive reinforcement training methods to train pet dogs, too! If you like what you see, but don’t need service dog training, we offer an array of obedience classes to suit your needs. Who wouldn’t want a pet dog with service dog manners? Check out the class schedule today!

    Your Dog Prefers to Work for Food. Here’s the Proof!

    Rondo gets food from his Premier Twist 'n' Treat

    Work to Eat: The Foundation of our Training

    If you’re familiar with Service Dog Academy’s training program, you know we can’t express enough how much we love work-to-eat puzzles. For puppies and adult dogs, and even older dog training, Service Dog Academy’s work to eat program creates more than just a smarter dog, but a happy one, too! At our Seattle dog training classes, we preach the work-to-eat strategy for many good reasons, but one scientific study found that animals actually prefer to work for their food!

    In the 1960′s Glen Jensen discovered that when given the choice between free food laid out in a dish, or performing a task to receive bits of food at a time, most animals chose the latter. Using 200 albino rats, Jensen gave the rats a regular feeding time for 10 straight days. On the 11th day, Jensen didn’t show up with food and the rats were ravenous.

    When they paced their cages in a state of hunger and desperation, they accidentally bumped into a feeding tube. When this happened, food pellets came out. Over time, they learned that all they had to do was push a lever and would automatically get fed. When they got used to this process, they were given a choice. Both a cup of free food, and access to the lever. Contrary to what most might think about such small-brained animals, the rats chose the feeding lever!

    Later experiments showed that this worked on most animals from fish, to gerbils, to monkeys. The only lazy ones in the bunch, Jensen found, were cats. You can read the full article here.

    Manage your Dog’s Boredom, and Get a Smarter Pup

    Service Dog Academy’s positive reinforcement training methods are set in creating an environment for your dog where nothing in life is free. Hold a sit for 5-seconds and get some food; shake on command, more food, and many other ways to create a real life work-to-eat strategy. Puzzles, and positive reinforcement training are a great way for your pup to manage his frustration tolerance, boredom, and create an improvisational dog, a thinking dog. Positive reinforcement training, and puzzles like the Premier “Linkable” or the Kong, are also the foundation to Service Dog Academy’s groundbreaking diabetic alert service dog training program. Follow the link to learn how to make a quick and easy toy that feeds your dog, and occupies his brain and nose at the same time, the Kongsicle!

    Advice on Puppy Manners: Taking Treats Nicely

    It’s not a Trick, Just Good Puppy Manners: How to Train your Puppy to Take Treats Nicely

    Do you have “Jaws” in your home? When you reward your puppy or adult dog with kibble, do they tend to bite the fingers attached to it, too?

    In this video, Maggie, our very special diabetic alert dog in training and Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS show you how to get your puppy to lick your fingers to get to her treats instead of chomping at them. In order to promote the best manners in your puppy, you must feed your puppy kibble by hand, not from a bowl. Do this consistently, and your shark will turn back into the puppy you know and love.

    Maggie, the Diabetic Alert Puppy

    Maggie is training to be someone’s very special diabetic alert dog. At Service Dog Academy we offer several ways to obtain a diabetic alert dog, from training your own pet dog, board and train, or if you can’t take the time to train your pup the initial scent detection and alerting, we understand. That’s where Maggie comes in. For more information on Maggie and our already trained dog program click here.

    Dog Obedience Classes in Seattle

    You can get more tips and tricks on dog and puppy training like this one by enrolling in any of our pet dog training classes right here in West Seattle. We offer basic obedience for puppies and adult dogs, or have fun learning party tricks, or refine your dogs manners and make it official with the Canine Good Citizen certification. The small class sizes mean you can work closely with our trainers, and get one-on-one attention and personalized dog training advice whether you and Fido learn the basics, or are training to alert to your medical condition!

    Pet Puppy Socialization: The Service Dog Way Pt. 2

    How do you get a fearless dog? By great socialization training, of course! Socialization is a not only a key component of a well-behaved service dog, it’s important for pet dogs, too! In fact, the number one reason dogs end up in shelters is under socialization.

    Socializing Puppies: The Service Dog Way

    To show how awesome well-socialized puppies can be, watch how two of our board and train pups, Cooper and Daisy, handle themselves around emergency personnel during a critical stage in their development.

    Mary McNeight, with the help of fireman Andy from Engine 32, and a bag of treats, proceeded to get Daisy and Cooper used to his big uniform and funny hat. They didn’t seem phased at all in part thanks to the positive reinforcement training and socialization they received in Service Dog Academy pet puppy classes.

    Next, we visited the Southwest Precinct of the Seattle Police Department, and gave officers Andy Bass and Buzzy the same opportunity to greet and treat the pups. Hopefully, as Cooper and Daisy grow up to be reliable diabetic alert service dogs they wont have to meet again, but just in case emergency personnel do show up in response to their owners’ medical issue, Cooper and Daisy will have had a positive association with these men in uniform.

    Do you want your puppy to be as well-socialized as a service dog? Don’t have the time or energy to make sure your puppy gets the exercise he or she needs? Then, Puppy Day Camp is your answer!

    Service Dog Academy will soon open its studio space for your puppy to get the ultimate socialization and training experience. Puppy Day Camp will run from 7:30am-11:30am Monday through Thursday. Drop off your pup in the morning, run some errands, go to work, or just sit back and relax while our professional dog trainers on staff work on basic obedience and supervise play sessions with a small group of pups. Come back a few hours later to a worn-out, happy, better socialized puppy! The cost is $269 for four days of camp. Email for more information and keep checking the website for official start dates!

    Service dogs as well as pet dogs should never display traits of fear, aggression, or reactivity, so to avoid this, it’s crucial for puppies between the ages for 7 weeks and 3 months to be socialized to many different situations and people. The Service Dog Academy also offers pet puppy classes that are designed for setting a foundation for socialization during this critical time, whether training your puppy good manners, or the American Diabetes Association recognized diabetic alert, migraine alert, seizures, or another type of service work. Service Dog Academy classes also cater to adult dog basic obedience, and advanced dog training classes at the dog training studio located in West Seattle.

    With so many options to choose from for your pet puppy, you’ll have a fearless, happy dog, in no time!

    Neighborhoods We Serve

    We are a simple hop skip and a jump off of the West Seattle Bridge and are within a mile of the neighborhoods of South Park, West Seattle, Alki Point, North Admiral, West Seattle, Seaview, Fauntleroy, Arbor Heights, Gatewood, Genesee, Fairmount Park, Delridge, Pigeon Point, Riverview, Highland Park, Roxhill, High Point and White Center And are within 3 miles or less of Magnolia, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Montlake, Downtown, Belltown, First Hill, Pioneer Square, International District, Central Waterfront, Madrona, Central District, Leschi, Rainier Valley, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, Seward Park, Beacon Hill, Industrial District, Sodo, and Georgetown

    Free Medical Alert Dog Training Advice - Youtube Videos