What Breed Of Dog Should I Get To Alert Me To My Medical Condition.
Cooper from Memphis Tennessee has our question of the week. Cooper has dysautonomia. He wants to train his own medical alert service dog to alert to his passing out episodes and wants to know what type or breed of dog would be best for this type of job. What Cooper doesnt know is, in 2012, we wrote a book on the topic about how to find the appropriate candidate for service work and in it we listed some breeds of dogs we recommend working with. However, times have changed and our opinions on what type of dog we recommend has changed too. See what our controversial answer is based on our PERSONAL experience after living in different areas of the country with stereotypical and non stereotypical types of service dogs in this weeks Medical Alert Dog Monday video.
So what do you think of our answer? Did you ever think you would have to take big companies’ opinion’s into consideration about what type of service dog to get?
I unfortunately understand the situation and 100% agree that my own perception is skewed based on things I’ve seen my whole life. I always take labs, golden retrievers and GSDs as service dogs because of what we’ve seen in the past. When I see other dogs I become skeptical. However I do live in Los Angeles and most people do lie about the authenticity of their service dog.
I think however we should strive disprove these stereotypes. Talk openly and share more videos that have positive connotations with certain breeds that otherwise people would see negatively. There is one out there of a pit bull who helps protect his owner from seizures and seeing things like that has completely opened my eyes. Organizations could open up classes or meet and greets with certain dog breeds that are “scary” to show the general public otherwise and disprove those horrible stereotypes.
It’s a long uphill battle but I think we should keep fighting it. Though it is VERY tempting for me to just buy an already trained medical alert dog breed. But I know I want a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to begin with and having a pet who can also assist me is my goal. It’s just training takes a lot of effort and I’m afraid I may screw up and mess up the opportunity. I am so glad you have these resources! <3 Thank you for talking and sharing your experiences!
Also fingers crossed we get Trump out of office. I cannot believe the direction that administration has been going.
I have a toy poodle that is going thru diabetic alert training now. I chose her as she is small and easy for me to manage. I have a pitador and a gsd but both r too old for training, however they do try to follow the poodle when I am working her. They also want treats for doing what she does. It will be a long road for little MAGGIE MAY but we are praying she “gets it”. She is 4 and just on the cusp of too old. I have a once a week training hr with a very nice trainer and we are working her in the right direction so far.
Well I have a different view. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before states started passing laws to limit service animals or require some sort of proof of training. Anyone can go online and order a cute vest in their fav color but that doesn’t make Fluffy a service dog. My dogs are very well trained and behave better than most people. They do not bark or act aggressively in any way. They do not jump or interact with other dogs while they are working. They are focused and working with Four on the Floor. It makes me sick to see people with fake, untrained “service animals” scamming the law that is intended for those who truly benefit from it. It’s the same as buying a fake handicapped sticker in order to benefit from a primo parking space. This is giving all service dogs a bad name. It’s not a Trump/Republican thing. It’s a disgusting and selfish practice that is making it difficult for those who actually need their dogs. Several states began tightening up on laws pertaining to service animals due to fraud. Colorado, Virginia, Massachusetts…13 States so far. Cathy Zemaites,the director of development for National Education for Assistance Dog Services helped draft the bill. Her organization has trained over 1700 service dogs. The goal is to create a national registry and certification program for legitimitly trained dogs. I agree with this. We have fake service dogs biting people, running through stores, and attacking other dogs. Some of these dogs are not even trained in basic obedience. Service dogs are amazing to work with and not just any dog can be one. They MUST have the right temperament, have a desire to please their owner, have a keen sense of smell ( if trained for diabetic alert), a desire to stay close to their owner, and be intelligent enough to learn the tasks needed and think independently. This cuts a lot of breeds out and dogs riding in carts and in purses need to stay the heck home! Purse dogs are not service dogs. I’m all for anyone who will crack down on sleazy scammers and protect the rights and integrity of our amazing, beloved service animals.
The oldest dog Ive taught was 9 years old. 4 years old is just a baby 😉
I think the points you brought up are all valid. Its not the problem of real service dog teams that are causing these issues, it really is scammers. I think cracking down on dog breeds though isnt the right type of legislation that is needed. The type of crack down that you are referring to prevents self trainers from being able to access the public. Ive already seen VA hospitals refuse to allow owner trained dogs, instead bowing to ADIs program dogs as the only dogs they will now let in. Service dog access is already being limited all around the country, that is why I suggest my students now go incognito with a stereotypical breed.
Your own personal perceptions about what is a real service dog is the quick assumptions most people make when around a non stereotypical breed. I make the recommendations that I do to help my students to not have to have one more fight in their lives. Its exhausting enough to be sick. To have to constantly justify your service dog to the public and access grantors is just one more daily hurdle I do not recommend my students attempt. Ive even had students who have decided that their current dog is their last one they will ever have because of continual access problems. Its a sad reality.
I have a Yorkie Diabetic alert dog. He has saved my life a few times and alerts properly. I do sometimes have problems with access to places because he is “too small to be a working dog”. Lucky me I always have something to prove he is real. Plus, he always wears his working dog vest. This would not be an issue if people would be honest about their dog and not try to use the loophole in order to get their dog in places that they should not be. Also, my dog is now 11 years old. He is still very healthy. But, soon I will have to start looking for my next working dog. Because of the way I have been treated over the past 10 years, I have been thinking long and hard about the breed of my next dog. I agree, that because of the public, I should get a more stereo typical alert dog. I am not happy about it either.