Posts Tagged ‘american diabetes association’

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!

    Liame Recognized as ‘Hero’ by PAWS

    Best Award Winning Dog Training Classes in Seattle

    Liame and Mary McNeight with the other PAWS award winners.

    Liame’s hard work over the years has paid off! On May 19th, professional positive reinforcement dog trainer Mary McNeight’s 4-year old yellow Lab walked the red carpet to receive a plaque for his outstanding service to the community at the annual PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Spotlight on Community Hero Pets ‘Hero Dog Awards!

    Liame’s very existence fueled Mary’s passion for dog training, and inspired the creation of the Service Dog Academy. The all-positive reinforcement pet puppy, pet dog, and service dog training studio has helped more than 525 dogs be well-mannered, well-behaved and even lifesaving medical alert dogs. Thanks to Liame, more people with disabilities in the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle area are empowered to live more independent lives through the use of a service dog. Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, BGS spent countless hours working toward getting her Canine Studies Degree, and went to six hours of puppy classes per week with Liame in order to become a certified professional dog trainer, and the Northwest’s leading resource for diabetic alert dog training for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and hypoglycemia.

    Through Mary’s positive reinforcement dog training methods, Liame is also a very persistent diabetic alert dog. His powerful nose has detected low blood sugar in people who didn’t even know they were hypoglycemic! His success in alerting has paved the way to make Service Dog Academy a reliable source for anyone who wants to train their own dogs for diabetic alert, seizure alert, migraine alert, and now because of Liame and Mary’s dedication to medical alert training, the world’s first narcolepsy alert program!

    The theme of the the Spotlight on PAWS benefit and dinner auction at the lovely Wing Point Golf and Country Club on Bainbridge Island was “People Helping Pets and Pets Helping People.” We couldn’t agree more! Surrounded by a beautiful landscape, guests at the event had the opportunity to bid on a myriad of donated goodies from local businesses and artists, and meet the six amazing animals who, like Liame in the “service animal” category, demonstrated the strong bond of companionship between animals and their humans.

    Among the winners of each category was Amber, a drug and arson detection dog who was responsible for the seizure of over 60 pieces of drug paraphernalia, and more than 1300 grams of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine combined. Kitty, a dog who averages more than 20 hours per week visiting hospitals, prisons, troubled high school students, and the elderly, providing therapy and comfort, Romeo a search and rescue Schnauzer who helped local police track down a missing Alzheimer’s patient, and even a cat named Cheeto who acts as a decoy cat to help train search and rescue dogs to find missing find cats for the Missing Pet Partnership!

    We were surrounded by animal lovers, as the event was in support of the PAWS that without any government funding advocates, educates, and provides services for the health and well-being of pets and the companionship with their people. They offer adoptions, spay/neuter assistance, lost and found, financial assistance for veterinary care, and operate programs like Pets and Loving Pals, and the Buddy Brigade.

    We know about trying to run an organization without government subsidies, so we were excited to be included with PAWS and the generous donors who support them. Service Dog Academy’s low-cost medical alert dog training program wouldn’t be possible without funding from our pert dog training. Pet puppy training, and adult dog basic obedience positive reinforcement training classes are a not just a great way to train your puppy or dog with service dog training techniques for the best-behaved dog in town, but it keeps Service Dog Academy’s groundbreaking service dog training program afloat! Liame may have been the “hero” on May 19th, but the real hero is each and every one of our students who come to train at Service Dog Academy!

    If you would like to experience our award winning dog training classes please visit our classes page for more info.

    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!

    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.

    Seattle Puppy Class Work To Eat Strategy Creates Improvisational Diabetic Alert Dogs

    Article as featured on Premier’s blog.

    Seattle, Washington has a unique brand of dog trainer at Service Dog Academy. Nowhere else in the Pacific Northwest can people with diabetes learn to train their dogs to alert to blood sugar imbalances. As a part of Service Dog Academy staff, we work hard to get this highly specialized training to more and more people each day. Our dog training studio was founded on the principles that people with disabilities should have affordable resources to live a manageable, independent life, and to us that means being able to train your own service dog. Having first-hand experiences with hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes, Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, head trainer and founder knows that manageability means a lot to those seeking out a diabetic alert dog. The costs of insurance, medicals services, and peace of mind that they wont pass out in a shopping mall only to wake up with emergency personnel at their side is worth the work it takes to have a canine companion on the ready to alert when blood sugar starts to drop.

    As part of her diabetic alert dog training methods, Premier puzzles are a main part of the work to eat strategy. In the wild, dogs had to work for hours on end to find their food, and with a work to eat strategy, it emulates this as best as we can. Here’s why we love this method:

    • You get a dog that thinks your are the coolest thing since sliced bread. When your dog feels this way, he’ll do what it takes to get your attention, never be far from your side, and for a medical alert assistance dog, a trait you can’t live without.
    • What happens when you get frustrated? The inclination to give-up – and just like you and me, Fido can feel frustrated, too. Puzzles create frustration tolerance. We want a dog to try over and over and over again to get your attention, and tolerate a little frustration. Citka, a 1 1/2 year old Golden Retreiver and graduate of the program jumped on a fabric store cutting counter to get his owner’s attention when her blood sugar was crashing; Buddy, a one-year old black lab was behind a closed door when his owner passed out, so the puppy who barely ever barked before howled at the top of his lungs to get anyone’s attention. We’re proud of our thinking dogs, dogs who don’t take “no” for an answer!
    • Your dog gets vigorous mental exercise that is the equivalent of a 10-minute walk. Something that is quite valuable to a person who is disabled and/or wheelchair bound – and pretty nice overall on those cold and rainy days when neither of you feel like being outside for those treks.

    At our train-your-own diabetic alert dog program, we see dogs of all different shapes and sizes come into class, and some may have been using work to eat strategies since birth, and others might not be as proficient. We need puzzles to match that diversity. Thank goodness for Premier’s line of customizable puzzles that are made for every dog from purse pooches to great danes. The range of levels from easy to hard are one feature, but we found that complexity can be added to each one just by adding a part – for example, Linkables have lots of opportunity to throw in a curveball for those genius dogs, or you could add a ball to the Tug A Jug. And for got an excessive chewers or apartment dwellers who needs a quieter toy, there is something for both puppies and adult dogs in the Premier line of work to eat puzzles.

    An estimated 25.8 million people in the United States are affected by diabetes whether diagnosed or not, according to the CDC. All those people seeking medical help costs the American health care system nearly double the cost of a world without diabetes. As the 6th most common disability among U.S. adults, it causes quite a strain on the economy, and the need for preventative measures is dire. While we don’t have the resources to cure diabetes, Service Dog Academy and Diabetic Alert Dog University in Seattle Washington strives to create a system that makes living with diabetes much more manageable.

    If you would like an improvisational diabetic alert dog please contact us for further information.

    Cooper’s Puppy Manners Impress Seattle Diabetes Crowd

    Cooper’s Puppy Manners, Obedience and Diabetic Alerting Impress Seattle Diabetes Crowdinflatable abominable snowman

    by Tracy Walsh

    A beautiful Seattle day brought us through gridlock traffic to Seattle’s Phinney Neighborhood Center on the afternoon of March 24th.  We were there to represent the Service Dog Academy at the 22nd Annual ADA Family Retreat.

    The Annual Family Retreat is just one unique way that the American Diabetes Association realizes their mission – to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  The ADA Family Retreat is the leading diabetes education and awareness program for families with children ages 13 and younger who have diabetes throughout Western Washington and beyond.

    What Potential Diabetic Alert Dog Training Students Learned

    As a vendor with a prime location along the food line, we were able to talk with and help educate many families on the lifesaving benefits of having a specially trained Diabetic Alert Dog.  One such dog is Cooper, a 6 month old Yellow Lab, who was trained at our Seattle dog training studio.  The importance of education and awareness was evident as many we spoke with were not even aware that this type of service dog existed.  There is a lot of information that we shared about these amazing dogs, including:

    • Our dogs are trained with positive reinforcement to use their highly sensitive scent capabilities to identify the changed in blood chemistry that occur during rapid changes in blood sugar levels
    • Dogs are trained to give an alert to the person before they are even aware that these changes are taking place
    • Dogs as young as 6 months of age can be trained to alert their diabetic owners of their highs and lows
    • They can detect a low 20 minutes before a meter can.
    • That a diabetic alert dog doesnt have to cost $20,000. Service Dog Academy can help you train your own with as little as a $1000 investment.
    • Almost any breed of dog can be trained to become alert dogs.  The one consistent exception are dogs that are brachycephalic (flat-nosed), such as pugs and bulldogs.

    Cooper has broken the mold of a diabetic alert dog.  Thanks to the rigorous training of our Seattle Diabetic Alert Dog program, he has been alerting his owner, Jeff, since 3 months of age.   Surprisingly, he has even been able to alert Jeff of a low 30 minutes before it registered on the meter.   Before Cooper even learned how to give an official alert, he even went so far as to “retrieve” Jeff’s wife when his attempts at waking Jeff failed and his blood sugar was dangerously low.  It’s scary to contemplate the dangerous situations Jeff was saved from by the awareness of his wonderful dog.

    Cooper’s Puppy Training Classes Helped Create The Diabetic Alert Dog He Is Today

    At the retreat, Cooper was a prime example of the importance of creating a calm and stable dog that can tolerate crowds of strangers.   This was achieved by the training methods we use at our Seattle puppy classes at the Service Dog Academy dog training studio in West Seattle.  Using positive reinforcement dog training techniques and teaching proper puppy socialization to dogs through puppy play and intensive human interaction is vital in creating a dog that will need to perform the work necessary for a service dog.

    Cooper proved that our positive reinforcement puppy training techniques really work.  At any given time, Cooper was surrounded by a crowd of 4-5 kids, with twice as many hands, petting and touching him, vying for his attention, crowding around him, and Cooper just lapped it all up.  According to Jeff, he really loves to play, but also knows how to calm down when needed.  Jeff noted that people at the camp were amazed that such a young puppy was so well behaved.

    Dogs like Cooper exemplify what it means to be a well-adjusted and stable service dog.  Whether your goal is to have your dog eventually perform service work, or if you just want a well-balanced, happy dog, our Seattle dog training educational studio classes can help!

    If you would like to train your dog for service work or specifically for diabetic alert dog work, please browse our website and take a look at our FAQ.

    Diabetic Alert Dog Television Debut

    With four trained diabetic alert dogsin the studio audience at the live taping of New Day Northwest, Seattle’s local morning talk show featuring musicians, artists, chefs, and other notable newsmakers, it was a relief none of the dogs alerted during Margaret Larson’s interviews! Instead, it happened before the cameras started rolling.

    In the studio audience to support Mary McNeight’s appearance promoting the Pacific Northwest’s only train-your-own diabetic alert dog program at the Service Dog Academy, Judith began to experience a blood sugar crash. Judith is one of the 25.8 million people in the United States afflicted with diabetes, and has trained her dog, Citka, to help manage the unexpected drops in her blood sugar – and save her life. What she began to feel, is what the American Diabetes Association refers to as symptoms of diabetes- dizziness, confusion, extreme fatigue, and are symptoms that could lead to much worse if not treated in time. Judith was about to take her seat, when Citka alerted to Judith’s low blood sugar by bumping her with his nose and swiping her with his paw. As she was sitting down and the show’s producer was getting her a snack to balance the blood sugar, Mary’s service dog Liame began to alert to the sudden scent of low blood sugar in the air. Then, 8-year old Jonathan, currently enrolled in Diabetic Alert 101, started getting nose bumps and paw swipes from his 8-month old diabetic alert dog, Lola. It was a swift recovery for Judith, thanks to Citka’s alerts – and the support from Citka’s classmates!

    After the camera’s started rolling, every dog was well-behaved. Marduk, a one-year old Great Dane who is training for narcolepsy alert, and 8-month-olds Indy and Lola, sat quietly in the audience during the hour-long taping – pizza-making segments and commercial breaks included! Each dog has gone through our pet dog training and puppy obedience classes before entering the diabetic alert dog program, and their behavior during the show, around so many different people, bright lights, and boom mikes is proof that Service Dog Academy students are some of the best behaved puppies and adult dogs in town!

    After the show, Margaret Larson, host of New Day Northwest later said via twitter, “@ServiceDogAcdmy thanks! That was very inspiring!”

    Everyone had a great time at the show, as well! @margaretnewday and producers at King 5, thanks for featuring us on your show! Watch Mary McNeight’s segment here.

    Anxiety or Hypoglycemia? Know the Signs

    Shaking, sweating, feeling dizzy, nervous, and confused, not being able to sleep or concentrate, according to the National Institute of Health, are symptoms of clinical anxiety; Nearly 40% of students at The Service Dog Academy who come in to train their pet dog for service work come in for psychiatric or anxiety related symptoms, says Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA owner and head trainer at the West Seattle dog training school. It wasn’t until a fateful day during one of the first train your own diabetic alert dog classes that Mary made a connection between hypoglycemia and anxiety, and realizing for many of her students who have anxiety, something else must be happening.

    Mary dedicated hours to teaching her own service dog, Liame, to recognize the distinct scent of low blood sugar and since has become a reliable diabetes detecting dog at the only train your own diabetic alert dog program in Washington State. Seven months into Liame’s training, Mary was teaching one of her first rounds of diabetic alert classes, when Liame started barking and pawing at the partition that separated him from the rest of the studio. Mary had everyone check their blood sugar, but surprisingly, in a room of type one and type two diabetics, no one was low. In the meantime, Mary was feeling tired, unable to concentrate, and attributed this to spikes in her own anxiety and depression. By day three of Liame’s unusual behavior, she finally used a meter to check herself, revealing low blood sugar. Anxiety and hypoglycemia’s shared symptoms led Mary to ignore the signs – hence putting her in danger every day. In the end, Liame used his powerful nose and persistence to alert Mary to hypoglycemia.

    Although it was the first time Liame has alerted an unsuspecting person to low blood sugar, it certainly hasn’t been the last. Last February, it happened again to a student training her dog for anxiety during a private apointment, and since then, there have been several other similar cases.

    Liame is now more than a year and a half into diabetic alert training, and regardless of who its coming from, Liame recognizes the signal and will alert by barking, panting, and generally acting very excited. When Mary asks him what’s wrong, he will swipe her with his paw, thus signaling that he smells low blood sugar. Now, with Liame making a name for himself as a reliable diabetes detector, some of these students have been able to manage their conditions more effectively because they are now aware of the cause.

    Anxiety disorders affect about 18% of americans over the age of 18 each year, and the varieties and symptoms of anxiety are vast and can look different from person to person, so it is crucial to see your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, and make sure to be tested for hypoglycemia as well to prevent further complications.

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