Posts Tagged ‘assistance dog’

Congratulations Diabetic Alert Dog 101 Graduates

Spencer is the second diabetic alert trained bully breed to graduate our program

Big congratulations are in order for our 5th graduating class of diabetic alert dogs! This Sunday November 6, 2011, trainee dogs and their owners will come into the Service Dog Academy studio for their 8th and final class, and leave as certified diabetic alert dogs. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate World Diabetes Day on November 14th, than to send off a new group of diabetic alert dogs!

See the article on the West Seattle Blog where our two West Seattle graduates are featured!

diabetic alert dog training

Diabetic Alert Dog 101 Graduates from West Seattle. Image copyright 2011 West Seattle Blog

These amazing diabetes detecting dogs have learned to alert to low blood sugar in the home, retrieve sugary drinks to correct blood sugar imbalances, retrieve their owner’s meter, insulin, and get help during a low.

Student Email Testimonial From 6 Month Old Student: “Jonathan suddenly told me that Lola was bumping him. He immediately tested himself and found out that his blood sugar level was 53!!!! I just wanted you to be the first one to know and to deeply thank you for all your effort when working with us. We are all looking forward to continue working with you on training Lola.”

The next step is Diabetic Alert Dog 201, where they will train their canine companions in more complicated tasks of diabetic alert!

Service Dog Academy has had several confirmed lifesaves from our former students, and we look forward to hearing more inspirational stories going forward. Since the program’s inception in 2008, we have had had nothing but positive feedback from past graduates. Below, watch what Diabetic Alert 101 and 201 alumni have to say about our program!

If you would like your puppy or adult dog to help save your life, enroll your puppy into our Train Your Own Diabetic Alert Dog: Diabetic Alert Dog 101 class today. Spots are very limited.

Traveling with a Service Dog: Airline Travel – Seattle Dog Training Classes

Support for videos such as this one comes from our pet dog training program. When you choose to train with the Service Dog Academy, you are helping fund our low cost programs for people with disabilities.

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, is committed to continuing her education as a certified dog trainer and travels often – attending conferences and educational seminars all over the country. Overall, she has taken more than 40 different flights with both her current and previous service dogs and the owner and head trainer of Service Dog Academy would like to share her experience traveling on an airplane with a service dog by offering up a few tips on airline travel with a service dog. While this video focuses on traveling with a service dog, a lot of these tips can be applicable to people traveling with their pet dogs, too!

1. Paperwork!
Have as much paperwork as possible. Service dog rights during air travel are completely different than rights on the ground, and it is important to know these rights and have documentation at the ready.

This is especially important for psychiatric service dogs – when there is no apparent physical disability it tends to raise more skepticism from airline officials. Unfortunately, fraudulent service dogs have been a cause for this, and knowing your rights and having the right documentation to back it up will ensure there is no question from the ticket agent that your dog is a service dog.

The right paperwork can save you a lot of trouble, remember to bring the following:

  • A note from your doctor prescribing the use of task trained service dog to help you mitigate the symptoms of your disability, and proof that your service dog is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Documented training hours. Training is the biggest difference between a service dog and a pet dog, and all service dogs should have documented training hours.
  • Current health certificate for your dog – although it is not required by law to have one, it is strongly advised. Your veterinarian can provide this, and can be given up to 10 days before your flight.
  • Copy of vaccination records. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations required by the state you are traveling. Different states have different requirements, so be sure to check with that state’s department of health to find out what you need.
  • If your city has a service dog registry make sure you have a copy of that with your service dog listed in it.
  • Letter and any certification provided by your training organization to verify your dog’s status as a service dog
  • Copy of air carrier’s access rules – know your rights, and have the paperwork that shows them that you know what you’re talking about.
  • 2. Bring your vest and make sure “service dog” CLEARLY stated on it. The Service Dog Academy suggests at least three different visible places on the vest. A “service dog” bandana is more questionable than a heavy duty vest. The more official the vest looks, the better your chances of getting through the airport smoothly.

    3.Call ahead! When you make your reservation, call the airline and tell them you are traveling with a service dog and ask to be placed in bulkhead seating.

    As a side note: a person with a disability has the right to sit in this type of seating, and cannot be charged extra for these accommodations.

    It is better to be prepared than to be sorry. Even though it isn’t required by law to provide it, the last thing you want is to be in a situation where someone decides they need to see documentation. If one TSA employee is on a power trip, putting up a fight can usually result in not making your flight, missing your connections, and ruining your trip. Cover your bases with as much paperwork as possible!

    The Service Dog Academy is a service dog and pet dog training studio operating out of Seattle, Washington. We provide low cost, do-it-yourself training to all types of training needs from basic obedience for puppies and adult dogs, service dog training, and diabetic alert dog training. Have fun traveling with your service dog, and always be prepared!

    Diabetic Alert Program Featured On Komo News and At American Diabetes Association Camp

    Our hero Ian Sterling from Komo News Radio

    A trip to The Museum of Flight to check out the B-17 Bomber, Aluminum Overcast, turned fruitful for Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, CCS, BGS and for KOMO Newsradio. The local news was at the museum, covering the unveiling of the bomber for its limited engagement at the museum. After talking with Mary, Ian Sterling, reporter for Komo Newsradio, became interested in The Service Dog Academy’s Diabetic Alert program and the groundbreaking training programs she offers at her dog training school. Sterling recently caught up with Mary and Liame at the West Seattle Dog Training Studio and Mary had the opportunity to share with the Seattle area her groundbreaking program in diabetic alert, utilizing a dog’s powerful scent receptors to help monitor blood sugar, and her innovative training with a dog to alert and assist with narcolepsy. You can view the transcribed interview on Komo’s West Seattle Community Pet Website or listen to the interview here:


    Additionally The Service Dog Academy also had a chance to share more intimately with the diabetic community at the American Diabetes Association’s family weekend at Camp Berachah in Auburn on June 4th. Mary’s presentation “Turning Fido from Family Pet to Diabetes Detecting Device,” was well-received by both the kids and parents at the retreat, where she demonstrated the game “101 things to do with a box” and explained the way a dog can alert to biochemical changes in the body – and specifically for the purpose of the audience – your blood sugar going high or low. The presentation was so well received and produced so many questions that we forgot what time it was and almost made our guests late for their next camp event!

    It was a lovely day to be outside manning The Service Dog Academy’s table at the diabetic children’s camp vendor fair later that day, just hours after the presentation. One of Mary’s recent graduates of the diabetic alert dog program, Citka, his owner, Judith, and I hung out, answered questions, and shared stories with the families that came to our table. Although the fair was only slated to run from 3:00-4:30, we stayed nearly an hour after the other vendors had packed up talking with people, answering questions, and showing off everything Citka has learned in the 8 week program. After he had alerted one girl for being low, she checked her meter and the pooch had done it again, he was right! We then had kids and parents coming to us to test their blood sugar with Citka’s amazing nose. The camp and vendor fair at the beautiful Camp Berachah was a ton of fun, and we are extremely honored to have been invited to be a part of it and further share the diabetic alert dog program and service dog training with both type one and type two diabetics from all over the Pacific Northwest!

    If you would like help our groundbreaking train your own service dog program to continue, please consider donating to our program

    or by training your pet dog here at the Service Dog Academy. Our Seattle dog training classes are small and provide you with the same techniques we use to help train our remarkably well behaved service dogs.

    Featured Presenter at Seattle Diabetes Expo

    It was standing room only at Mary McNeight’s stage at the American Diabetes Expo. Mary and her lovely assistant Liame demonstrated to the diabetic community the amazing power of a dog’s nose to alert to changes in blood sugar, and her groundbreaking Diabetic Alert dog training classes in a presentation titled “Turning Fido from Family Pet to Diabetes Detector” at the expo on April 30th sponsored by the American Diabetes Association in the beautiful Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Because of her groundbreaking work with diabetic alert dogs at The Service Dog Academy, Mary McNeight CPDT-KA, CCS was invited to present among a variety of acclaimed and talented diabetes experts.

    As nerve-wracking as it was to speak in front of a full house at the breakout session stage, Mary pulled off an energetic and inspiring speech about the importance of positive reinforcement, her training philosophy, and the immaculate precision of a diabetic alert dog’s scenting abilities!

    The free event drew a large turnout, and the staff and volunteers at The Service Dog Academy had a great time meeting with all kinds of people who have or knows someone who has type I, type II diabetes, or hypoglycemia. All day at the booth, we had crowds up to four people deep with questions about our program. The public interest was exhilarating, and we got to hear inspiring stories people shared. One owner shared her story of how her dachshund begun to react to changes in her blood sugar without formal training, another told us of her Golden Retriever who only after 2 classes with Mary alerted his owner to a low of 26 (and in a 10 minute window of a coma) while she was asleep!

    Having recently obtained official CPDT-KA certification, Mary was honored to be among the talented and acclaimed guest speakers at the event and the varieties of presentations that included cooking demonstrations, medical issue awareness, and even an appearance by “Biggest Loser” winner Matt Hoover. Overall, the 2011 American diabetes Association Expo was a fun and enlightening experience! and we look forward to more events like this in the future! In the meantime, Mary will continue to teach pet and service dog classes at her West Seattle training studio, and gearing up for another round of Diabetic Alert classes that will begin on May 21st!

    Diabetic Alert Dog Training Class Starting April 7th

    The Service Dog Academy to Hold Puget Sounds First Diabetic Alert Dog Training Class

    A Diabetic Alert Dog Training Student Posing in front of our award from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Contest for Train Your Dog Month

    West Seattle, March 7, 2011—The Service Dog Academy, located in West Seattle, will be teaching the Puget Sounds groundbreaking train your own Diabetic Alert Dog training class starting April 7th at 7:30PM. The revolutionary class will teach students to train their dogs to alert to low blood sugars, retrieve sugary drinks to correct blood sugar imbalances and to get human help when needed. This class is intended for both pet dogs and dogs training for service work.

    Service Dog Academy’s owner, Mary McNeight, understands the devastating effect diabetes can have on ones entire life. Her grandmother suffered from diabetes when she was a small child and her father is living with the consequences of poor management of the condition due to memory problems. She knew that, thanks to genetics, she would eventually develop the condition. She decided that she didn’t want to suffer the same fate as her family members so she set off to educate herself on how to train her own diabetic alert dog, dogs typically used for people with type 1 diabetes only.

    “Up until recently Type 2 diabetics have been unable to get a diabetic alert dog. With Type 2 diabetes at epidemic proportions and the cost of a trained diabetic alert dog running upwards of $20,000” said Mary, “I didn’t think it fair that only the super rich Type 1 diabetics were able to afford help in managing their condition.”

    Using their incredibly powerful noses, a properly trained diabetic alert dog can alert to changes in blood sugar 10 minutes before a meter can detect it. This means diabetics no longer suffer the devastating consequences of prolonged highs or coma inducing lows. Blood sugar control becomes tighter and results in dramatically improved health.

    The Service Dog Academy’s groundbreaking class is only $650 and is for dogs 4 months and older. Dogs only need basic obedience commands to enroll in the class. Students can register for the class online at

    “Thanks to this program” Mary said, “now anyone with a well behaved dog can benefit from the use of a diabetic alert dog to better control their diabetes.”

    Mary McNeight, BGS, CCS is available for interviews to discuss the training of diabetic alert dogs, service dogs and her highly innovative dog training school located in West Seattle.

    Mary would also be willing to discuss how her dog Liame, a yellow lab, originally trained for diabetic alert due to Mary’s interest in it, inadvertently after several months of no training started alerting Mary to low blood sugar issues she has been having over the last month. Mary has not been diagnosed as a diabetic but found out that one of the medications she had been taking ended up having an unexpected side effect lowering her blood sugar.

    Service Dog Academy was founded to train pet dogs as well as service dogs. They offer a variety of classes at their West Seattle location and are also available for private appointments. The proceeds from the pet training classes help subsidize their low cost service dog training program. Although the company is not a non profit, they operate as such by funneling their profits into those that cannot afford their services. Their certified trainer is committed to helping you and your pet build an exceptional relationship. For more information or to sign up for classes, please visit


    Mary McNeight, BGS, CCS
    Service Dog Academy, LLC

    Service Dog Academy: Making News Again

    Zuzu a service dog in training in our west seattle dog training classes. Image copyright Tracy Campion.

    Our unique train your own service dog program is making news again! In celebration of National Assistance Dog Week, Tracy Campion a writer for the Examiner decided to write several amazing stories on the uniqueness of our program. Tracy visited our West Seattle service dog training classes and spoke with some of our service dogs in training.

    In one of Tracy Campion’s articles Chuck one of our first service dog puppy training clients had this to say about Mary McNeight and The Service Dog Acadmey: “Mary has done a great job with Argus. She’s been teaching me while she teaches Argus, and she’s patient and helpful with my calls and e-mails. She’s been very good about helping me through my problems,”

    Our train your own service dog program is so groundbreaking and unique that we have people coming from halfway across the state of Washington just to enroll in our weekly classes. We had a legally blind client who was traveling 4 hours each way to try to train his golden retriever to be his guide dog! He and a number of our other clients decided to forgo the $20,000 price tag and 4 year wait for an already trained service dog and do the work themselves with our program. Our clients end up saving thousands of dollars and get back years of their lives that they would have spent waiting for a trained dog.

    Currently we have been featured in a number of media outlets including Evening Magazine, Fox National News Channel, The Seattle Channel, 94.1 KMPS radio station.

    Exceeding Service Dog Trainer Standards

    Mary McNeight and her trained service dog Liame laughing with Dr. Ian Dunbar in one of his dog training Seminars.

    The Service Dog Academy is proud to be listed as a provider of service dog training on the Delta Society website, a non-profit human/pet organization based in Bellevue, Washington.

    Founded in 1977, the Delta Society’s mission is to advance human health and well-being through positive interactions with animals. Their Pet Partners programs are making a difference in communities around the globe.

    In addition to promoting their members many human/animal bonding activities including nursing home and elementary school visits, The Delta Society is devoted to setting stringent guidelines for dog trainers that are based upon kindness, compassion and respect for animals.

    The Service Dog Academy not only meets these guidelines, we exceed them in many areas. We endorse humane techniques that are based upon scientific methods that motivate dogs to learn good behavior and not aversive techniques (stimuli that dogs find unpleasant), which are stressful to both dogs and their owners.

    Achieving and Exceeding Delta Society Recommendations for Trainers

    Exceptionally Trained and Continuing Training

    Exceptional training skills, knowledge and experience are the foundation of The Service Dog Academy’s programs.

    Dog training is not regulated or licensed by any state or federal agency. Unfortunately this means that anyone call themselves a dog trainer and worse, even a service dog trainer. The Service Dog Academy has professional training credentials that are only provided to certified dog trainers. Read more our dog training credentials and methods.

    Our continuing educational efforts are second to none in the industry. We are on the cutting edge of new techniques and receive our training only from the most respected trainers-of-trainers in the business. Read more about our most recent dog training seminar with Dr. Ian Dunbar.

    We Respect Your Dog

    We understand the social and innate behavior of your dog. We never use physical, verbally and emotionally abusive behaviors in training your dog or assisting you in its training.

    Our specialized training enables us to interpret and respond appropriately to your dog’s signals through its body language and behavior.

    We understand aggression triggers, how to defuse such behavior and how your dog’s daily life such as feeding, exercise and interactions with you and other humans affect its ability to learn.

    We can clearly identify what target behaviors your dog needs help with and what help you need in reaching your dog’s training goals.

    By relying on a reward-based training system and giving both you and your dog frequent feedback about appropriate behavior and methods, you can learn together in a fun and productive environment.

    We Respect You and Your Privacy

    We want you and your dog to be successful and use only those techniques that make that possible. We will work with you to provide instructions and assistance that meet your and your dog’s needs as we understand that one size does not fit all in life or in service dog training.

    We encourage and welcome your feedback both during training and after training is completed.

    Our classes maintain a high instructor to student ratio to ensure that you receive all the attention you desire and need in class.

    We understand that training a dog can be frustrating and stressful to those without experience. We respect your limitations and challenges and provide a supportive environment to meet your comfort level.

    We want to help you form a lifetime bond with your service dog and will teach you how to protect your dog from both physical and mental harm. This is a condition that is a mandatory requirement to certifying a service dog for duty by The Service Dog Academy.

    We will educate you on the proper use, fit and type of equipment to use on your dog that will not cause discomfort or distress. We will teach your dog how to assist you and become your loyal companion as we teach you how to ensure that no harm come to your dog.

    We understand that training fees are not in everyone’s budget. We put your need for a well trained service dog over profits and base our fees upon our clients’ incomes. We make every effort to help our clients obtain training reimbursement through healthcare or social service programs.

    All Service Dog Academy client information is stored in password protected databases on password protected computers. The only information we disclose to third parties regarding disabilities or service dog training is the status of the training such as “in training” or “certified.”

    In keeping with Delta Society’s mission, you and your dog’s well-being and a positive human/animal interaction always come first at The Service Dog Academy.

    We want to make a difference in your life. Contract us today to discuss your service dog’s needs.

    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.