Cooper’s Puppy Manners, Obedience and Diabetic Alerting Impress Seattle Diabetes Crowd
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.