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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 info@servicedogacademy.com. 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 info@servicedogacademy.com 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!

    Diabetic Alert Dog Facts & FAQ Webinar – Know The Truth

    Watch the World Famous, Eye Opening, Myth Vs. Reality Webinar on Diabetic Alert Dogs

    puppy training classes that teach diabetic alert dog trainer expert best obedience manners socialization

    Click on the photo above to be taken to the Webinar! If that doesnt work, option click on the photo, copy the link and open it up in a new web browser window.

    Participant Testimonial: What an amazing webinar. Very informative. I learned a lot!

    This webinar was originally broadcast on August 8th 2012. We had attendees from all over the United States, Canada and even some in India. The email response from this webinar flooded our email box and a week later we are still trying to sort it.

    In this webinar you will hear from the director of training and behavior at Service Dog Academy and Diabetic Alert Dog University, and find out what’s real when it comes to diabetic alert dogs (and other types of medical alert dogs). You’ve heard all about them in the media, you’ve seen how they can save lives, now hear the rest of the story in this free webinar hosted by Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS, Seattle, Washington’s renowned diabetic and medical alert dog trainer.

    Diabetic Alert Dogs: Myth vs. Reality will reveal the truth behind myths such as:

    • A diabetic alert dog will either require you to test less often or not test at all
    • Diabetic alert dogs can only be trained for type 1 diabetics
    • A diabetic alert dog that costs $20,000 is better than one I train myself
    • I can get a free diabetic alert dog
    • Alert dogs under six months of age are not reliable alerters
    • A diabetic alert dog will catch all my lows and highs

    Mary will be sharing her expertise, and taking the presentation featured at the 2012 American Diabetes Association Expo, Diabetic Alert Dogs: Myth Vs. Reality to the comfort of your own home.

    Facebook Review Participant Testimonial: I am a dog trainer from India, it’s so difficult to come by useful and authentic information and help with this kind of training! Thanks again!

    As you will learn from the free webinar, it takes a lot of dedication to train your own diabetic alert dog. In this webinar you will find out the truth about what Mary’s own students have had to say about their diabetic alert dogs, and training at Service Dog Academy.

    So what are you waiting for? Learn the facts no other diabetic alert dog trainer wants to tell you!

    More Praises from our Diabetic Alert Dog Graduates

    It’s always great to hear feedback from our diabetic alert 101 graduates, and when they have a success story to tell, it gives us chills.

    Whether you’re looking to positively train for diabetic alert, get an already trained dog through Service Dog Academy, or just train the basics in puppy class using all positive reinforcement, Jeff and Rich have some helpful advice.

    Jeff and Rich took their dogs to Service Dog Academy to train with one of the best pet puppy, pet adult dog obedience training programs in Seattle, and then went on to Diabetic Alert Dog 101 to learn how to train these pups to be reliable diabetic alert dogs to manage their serious medical conditions. Jeff was sick of waking up to paramedics standing over him far too often, and was ready for a new approach. Rich was tired of being worried about being alone, and in a life-threatening situation – his body seems to give him absolutely zero warning before a rapid crash.

    Jeff took Cooper, then 11-weeks-old through puppy kindergarten at our West Seattle training studio where we teach puppy dog training classes for pet dogs and future diabetic alert dogs! It wasn’t long before Cooper started to pick up on Jeff’s low blood sugar. Now, the father of seven kids can be confident another body can be around to make sure he stays alive.

    Violet’s stable temperament during adult dog obedience class proved she would be a good candidate as Rich’s diabetic alert service dog. “Being alone isn’t a problem like it used to be…” Rich recalls, as Violet’s persistence has made sure he checks his blood sugar – even if he feels fine.

    See for yourself how effective the positive reinforcement training methods at Service Dog Academy can be. Go to our basic classes page to enroll in basic puppy obedience or basic adult dog today!

    If you don’t have a dog yet, but like what you see, we can help you find a dog, and if your interest is piqued by our already trained dog program, click here to see if an already trained dog is right for you, and get on that list before it fills up!

    Fireworks Anxiety In Dogs – Free Puppy Dog Training Advice

    PLASE NOTE: We train pet dogs too. By enrolling in one of our pet dog training classes in Seattle you help support the low cost medical alert dog training program. Click here to enroll in our award winning pet dog classes today!

    Liame and Jasper in their Thundershirts on the 4th of July in 2010

    Since I used to have a VERY sound sensitive dog service dog, I knew what a pain the 4th of July can be for both human and dog alike. The lack of sleep, the pacing dogs and the ultimate fear that they might jump through the window in an attempt to get out of the house are all my daily companions in the days preceding, during and after the fourth. Remember dogs have feelings just like humans do and its not fun to exist in a state of anxiety in which you fear for your life for hours upon end.

    What most people dont realize is that with a little bit of planning you can make sure your dog doesn’t suffer from severe anxiety during the sometimes illegal festivities enjoyed by your neighbors.

    PREPARATION FOR THE DAYS LEADING UP TO FIREWORKS SEASON:

    • GO TO THE VET NOW – Be prepared with medication ahead of time, a puppy doggie emergency room visit can run over $200. Call your vet TODAY, tell them you have a sound sensitive dog and ask them for recommendations on medications to help ease your dogs anxiety. Its better to be prepared than sorry that you didn’t get to the vet in time. Remember to ask for several days worth of medication. We have neighbors who regularly set off fireworks on the 3rd, 4th and the 5th!
    • Purchase a homeopathic anxiety reducing solution if you cannot get to the vet or in addition to what the vet prescribes. A product like Rescue Remedy is great for a number of anxiety producing stimuli, not just fireworks.
    • Make sure your dogs tags and microchip information is up to date. If your dog does escape (more dogs are lost during the 4th than any other holiday) at least he will be able to come home safely if found by a stranger.
    • Prevent this problem from ever occurring in the first place. When you get your next dog, immediately enroll him or her into a positive reinforcement puppy class like the ones at the Service Dog Academy in Seattle. We will help you get your dog used to firecrackers in a safe environment.

    CONTROLLING THE ENVIRONMENT ON CELEBRATION DAYS:


    Its not just the noise that the fireworks make but also the smell and light given off by them that can have an effect on your dog.

    • Put your dog in a “safe” room with as few windows and doors as possible. Dogs have been known to try to escape by jumping through plate glass windows!
    • Keep the windows and curtains drawn during the festivities. You want your dog to be as stimulus free as possible.
    • Make your own noise to drown out the sound of the fireworks. I usually make it a movie holiday and watch the entire Back to the Future series and the Indiana Jones series (Indiana was named after his dog!) as loud as I can tolerate it. We also set up numerous fans in the safe room so that they produce a fairly decent amount of background noise.

     

    Liame and Jasper playing in the dog park on 4th of July getting as exhausted as possible.

    TO MANAGE / EASE FEAR IN YOUR DOG OR PUPPY

    • Never EVER punish a fearful dog. You will only make the fear even worse.
    • Make sure your dog is as TIRED as possible. I usually don’t recommend my clients go to the dog park but I make an exception on the 4th. A tired dog is a calmer dog.
    • Use some type of pressure wrap. Although wraps such as the Thundershirt claim to completely eliminate anxiety we here at the Service Dog Academy have only seen them help in reducing the overall level of anxiety. We have several Thundershirts available for sale but you can make your own anxiety reducing wrap by using an ace bandage. See this webpage for more information on how to make your own anxiety reducing pressure wrap.
    • Only feed your dog half of his morning meal so that by the time evening rolls around he is hungry and wants the food more than they care about the fireworks.
    • Associate fireworks noise with food. Dogs have 250 million scent receptors and their noses are 200 times more sensitive than a humans! The use of food with an anxious dog helps replace the feeling of fear with a positive action, eating food. If every time your dog hears a firework, the best treats in the world rained from the sky, your dog might not feel so scared.
    • The act of chewing helps a dog to relieve anxiety in dogs. Try to keep your dog entertained all night long with Kongsicles or work to eat puzzles and plenty of high value bones to chew on. You can view our free youtube video on how to make a Kongsicle on our recent blog posting.
    • Try practicing a little T-Touch massage therapy on your dog. Sometimes just stroking from the base of the ear to the tip of the ear slowly can help relieve anxiety.
    • Add a little Parmesan cheese and/or egg whites to your dogs kibble or Kongsicle. They have 8 times the tryptophan that turkey has in it. Tryptophan is the precursor to the production of serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain. We cant give you exact amounts of parmesan or egg whites on this post since dogs vary in size, but just a sprinkle of these two foods over your dogs kibble should suffice.

    I hope these tips help you make the 4th more enjoyable for both you and your fur kids. I look forward to seeing you in our upcoming classes or around town sometime!

    Click here to enroll in our award winning pet dog class today and support our mission to provide affordable medical alert dog training to people with disabilities. We were voted best dog & puppy trainer / training by our students!

    Happy Tails To You!
    Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS

    Featured Presenter For 2012 Diabetes Expo


    While Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS is behind the camera, Liame makes friends with booth visitor, and operations manager, Carrie Rubens, and Assistant Trainer, Tracy Walsh hold down the fort.

    Some of the best-trained puppies in town represented the Service Dog Academy at the annual American Diabetes Association Expo at the Washington State Convention Center on April 21st. Cooper, a 6-month old labrador who started alerting at 4-months-old wowed everyone with his manners and sniffing abilities! Cecelia and her gentle giant, Marduk, the world’s first narcolepsy alert Great Dane stole the show, and Judith and Citka long-time students at Service Dog Academy were an impressive showing of how the initial training done through our program has lasted throughout the years.

    It’s rare to see four young dogs together in a space no bigger than a bathroom have the ability to remain completely focused on their handlers, and calmly accepting of all the human attendees who couldn’t wait to greet and pet them. At times, there was loud music and dancing going on just a few feet away, and from time to time strange-looking creatures would walk by – this is, for example, a person in a giant kidney costume!


    Liame ignores the giant kidney behind him

     
    Those great socialization opportunities and resistance to distraction is just the kind of training that our puppy training classes at our West Seattle dog-training studio teach. Not only were these pups taught proper manners and socialization, each continued their puppy school education through our medical alert training program to become full-fledged service dogs.

    It was a long, full, day and with all those improvisational service dogs in the house something was bound to happen! Members of the diabetic community were able to witness first-hand some of these impressive dogs in action.  Liame alerted his owner with a paw swipe that her sugar was dropping, Citka alerted two members of the public via a nose bump that they were running high, and Cooper only 6 months old at the time, with his good puppy manners managed to resist temptation to play with the other dogs.

    Cecelia and Marduk had an incredible story of their own to share about trip to the convention center that morning. While on the bus, Marduk alerted Cecelia with a nose bump that a cataplectic episode, a form of narcolepsy, was imminent. She had just enough time to have him lay across her lap so that when she did doze off, she was safely seated and protected by him.  It’s understandable why Judith, Citka’s owner, would say, “I never go anywhere without him”.  These dogs truly are life-savers.

    There wasn’t just action at our booth, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS director of training and behavior at Service Dog Academy, gave a well-received lecture at one of the Expo’s breakout stages to the public about the myths surrounding diabetic alert dogs. The presentation ran well over it’s 45-minute allotment from all the questions and comments from the audience afterward.

    Here are some of the highlights from the presentation titled Diabetic Alert Dogs: Myth Vs. Reality:

    Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

    Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

    Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

    Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

    Myth:Im a type 2 diabetic and consequently don’t go low.  I don’t need to train for low blood sugar.

    Reality: Most of the type 2 individuals who come into classes find out when they start to train for low blood sugar first, they actually go low 1-5 times per day but didn’t know about it until the dog started to alert them.

    Myth: A diabetic alert dog will either require you to test lest often or not test at all

    Reality: Our students find that their dogs actually pick up on more lows and highs than any device they have owned, which actually means MORE testing. For example if dog alerts to a high, you will have to test to see how much insulin to give yourself

    Myth: Diabetic alert dogs can only be trained for type 1 diabetics.

    Reality: Dogs can be trained to alert for type 1, 2, 1.5, and hypoglycemia.

    Myth: Diabetic alert dogs under six months of age are not reliable alerters.

    Reality: They can sometimes be incredibly reliable as long as they are properly trained.

    6-month-old Cooper happily poses with Jeff and daughter. Cooper started alerting at 4-months-old and has give Jeff his independence back.

    This was Service Dog Academy’s second appearance at the ADA Expo, and we look forward to many more. Last year at the 2011 ADA Expo we had a great time introducing our groundbreaking program to the diabetic community, and we can say the same for this with a something a little extra. Not only could we share how we use positive reinforcement training techniques to train our dogs to detect blood sugar imbalances in their type 1, type 2, and hypoglycemic owners, but since last year we have been able to help the lives of many more people, and train truly lifesaving dogs.

    How to Find your Service Dog or Puppy – For Diabetes, Seizure & Medical Alert Work

    We get it. Driving out here to West Seattle for an information seminar about how to find the right dog for service dog training and what to expect living with a service dog might be easier said than done. And for some people who want to use our dog training or diabetic alert dog training services, it might not be practical – especially if they live outside of the Seattle area – or Washington State for that matter. Finally, we’ve come up with a way for you to soak up this valuable information from the comfort of your own home.

    For anyone about to embark on getting a service dog Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS director of training and behavior at Service Dog Academy has released part one of two essential ebooks that anyone interested in getting a service dog should read.

    Adapting the original Before Your Service Dog class into a free, downloadable, shareable ebook with the help of myself – Service Dog Academy’s Operations Manager – Mary decided it was time to set her students up for success. Super Puppy: Service Dog – Life Partner, Life-Changer, Life-Saver How to Find the Right Dog for Service Work is available for free, and you can share it, too – as long as you give credit to the authors, of course!

    Mary saw too many students in Service Dog Academy’s positive reinforcement training classes let down because their dogs proved unsuitable for service work. On the flipside, there had been so much positive feedback from students who came to this 1.5 hour information session that we just had to find a way to get it to more people!

    In fact, students who had come to this class have an 85% increase in their training success at our diabetic alert 101 and service dog training classes vs. students who have entered our service dog training or alert classes without it! It was time to make such valuable information not just available to potential students, but accessible on their own time, and in the comfort of their own homes.

    For anyone who is considering getting a service dog, but doesn’t know where to begin Super Puppy: Service Dog – Life Partner, Life-Changer, Life-Saver How to Find the Right Dog for Service Work is the number one step to take. If you ever wondered if it was a better idea to spend the time and money training your own service or medical alert dog or spend $15,000 – $25,000 for an already trained service dog; if you wondered how much time and effort it will take to train a successful service dog, then here is professional, Washington state-certified, positive reinforcement dog trainer, and the Pacific Northwest’s foremost leader in medical alert dog training Mary McNeight’s free professional advice!

    Free puppy trainer training advice to teach you how to train your own service dog find best trainer Seattle

    Our new free ebook covers where to find a dog suitable for service work, what kind of behavior, obedience or pet puppy dog training is required, and even what kind of dog to get.

    • Chapter 1: Train your Own Vs. Buying an Already Trained Dog
    • Chapter 2: Success Rides on the Dog, and YOU
    • Chapter 3: What am I Looking for in a Service Dog Candidate?
    • Chapter 4: The Importance of Temperament Testing
    • Chapter 5: Where To Find Your Service Dog Candidate

    It’s not just for service dogs, too. While this is the culmination of McNeight’s eight years of experience training her own and training other dogs for service work in medical alert, service dog access and task training, the ebook covers the importance of temperament testing in puppies and adult dogs, and also the importance of socialization for puppies, too! Here at Service Dog Academy, we cannot stress enough the importance of socialization – it can mean the difference between a dog with a long, happy life with a loving family, or having behavior problems that may never be fully remedied.

    No more excuses, and no more wondering how to get started. If your doctor recommends the use of a service dog, for mobility or to respond to a psychiatric issue, or you need a companion to alert you before a debilitating seizure or blood sugar crash because you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or even hypoglycemia, then we want to set you up for success whether you decide to buy an already trained dog, or decide to train your own through our groundbreaking American Diabetes Association recognized diabetic alert dog and medical alert dog program.

    You can download part one of the two free ebooks that will help you choose a diabetic or medical alert dog candidate here. Stay tuned for the second free ebook which will cover service dog lifestyle! Don’t forget, feel free to share it with anyone about to embark on getting a service dog or just interested parties. All we ask is that you give the authors some credit, and link back to us! We would also appreciate a blog post from your website commenting on the content you found useful in the ebook.

    If you would like to set up an appointment to talk to us about your service dog candidate dog or the training process for these amazing alert dogs please click on our medical alert service dog training appointment webpage.

    Puppy Class Techniques To The Rescue – Even Dog Trainers Are Human


    Want your dog to be able to deal with injuries without biting, squirming, barking or running away? See what our Seattle Puppy Classes Can Teach You!

    Ever try to treat a medical issue on a very wiggly and unhappy dog?  Not fun for anyone involved.  Here are some tips to help make it an easier and less painful process.

    Counterconditioning your Puppy

    When our dogs are in pain or discomfort, our love and concern for inflatable snowman their well-being makes us act quickly to try to help alleviate their suffering.

    Recently Mary noticed that Liame’s neck was red, itch and his hair was falling out. We sprung into action and broke out the scissors, clippers, and skin-soothing lotion.  But Liame wasn’t particularly happy about having his sore skin touched and was wiggling around like a 3 month old puppy.  Yes, thats right students, even your State Certified Professional Dog Trainer makes mistakes sometimes inflatable bouncer.

    What’s the best way to calm an upset dog and redirect his energies?  The answers are Desensitization and Counterconditioning, big scientific words that means we try to re-teach an animal to have a pleasant feeling and reaction toward something that he once feared or disliked.

    40% of your dogs brain is devoted strictly to his nose so allowing a dog to smell something can result in an amazingly pleasant feeling. In our Seattle puppy classes, we use food to achieve this pleasant feeling.  Just like you and me dogs can only have ONE thought at a time.  If they’re happily engaged in something pleasant (food), then there’s no room for those unpleasant thoughts (scissors are scary).

     

    Lesson Learned From Puppy Classes

    So our idea for Liame was for Mary to tend to the skin and fur while I treated with small pieces of food.  It worked; Liame forgot all about what was happening, but was so excited about the food that he wouldn’t sit still. The job got done but we realized a better way would have been something we usually suggest to our puppy training class students:

    • Take a Kong, filled it with something yummy
    • Have helper person hold in in front of your dogs head kind of like a baby bottle.
    • Let dog lick while another person does something mildly unpleasant to the dog.

    The result of this type of set up is that you get a calm puppy who is oblivious to what is going on around him (be that bathing, clipping nails, brushing their coat, or in our case, using clippers to shave hair off your dogs neck.)

     

    Desensitization Dog Training Techniques Learned in Puppy Class

     

    Our Seattle Positive Reinforcement Puppy Classes Can Make Your Puppy Calm

    This experience could have been so much worse if Mary hadn’t spent a lot of time throughout Liame’s life desensitizing him to having every part of his body touched and handled.  Desensitizing simply means to make less sensitive.  Part of our puppy training class involves teaching dog owners the importance of having their dog handled, a little bit every day, as part of their daily routine, and of course by using food (counterconditioning) to make it a pleasant experience.  At our Seattle dog training studio, we teach our students the following method:

    • Put a treat in front of the nose
    • Touch/handle the body part
    • Let your dog eat the treat
    • Let go of body part

    By doing this, you’re teaching your dog that it’s not a big deal when you loom over them, or open up their mouth, or pull their tail.  They’ll begin to think, “I get food when people stick their fingers in my ear?  I LOVE when people stick their finger in my ear!”  That way, when an emergency arises, it will be much easier to tend to your dog because they will already be so used to having their body handled.  It will just be normal to them.

    So, while Liame would have preferred to NOT have his fur cut and lotion applied, he was obviously not SCARED because he’d been desensitized from puppyhood and was trained often to accept and enjoy being touched and handled.

    If you would like to have your puppy enjoy going to the vet, love having their teeth brushed, sit calmly in your lap and love being petted, check out our Award Winning, 5 Star Google Rated Seattle Puppy Classes.

    Donate To Support The Program That Saves Lives Hundreds Of Times Per Day

    Mary McNeight and Service Dog Academy have been pillars of justice, advocacy and education in the medical alert dog community. If you would like to support this mission, you may do so using the paypal link below.