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We had a neighbor who had a golden who was her diabetic alert dog. He would alert her when her blood sugar started to drop, even before she knew it was happening. She was able to train with him and ended up working with the "dogs for diabetics" organization. She told me they can be life changing, specially for families with diabetic children.
 

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I am very interested in this as well. If you google "dogs for diabetics", you will find information. There is one site that warns against an organization that scammed people out of money. So, proceed with caution. I'd be curious to know how hard it is to train your own dog/puppy to sense/smell hypoglycemia. Maybe they wouldn't be a full on always-perfect "service dog", but would be able to help out at home.

I'm going to keep reading about this too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am very interested in learning more and I would love to have a diabetic service dog. Low blood sugar unawareness is something I fear, and it would be a comfort to have a dog be able to tell me when it's dropping, before I can feel it or check it. Here is a dog I ran into a couple of years ago. I thought it was the coolest thing. The gentleman was in a wheel chair due to diabetic complications.
 

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Sugar Dogs International

Sugar Dogs International is totally non-profit. It individually assists diabetics and their families in training Poodles as diabetic alert service animals. While there are many training methods for service animals, they offer individualized training on a one-on-one basis via the Internet. What works for one animal may not work for all. The training method begins by gaining the animal’s trust as rescue dogs have often been bounced around or have lost a very nice home (for example, an elderly person dies or becomes too ill to care for them).

The website indicated to begin as if the animal (regardless of age) is a new puppy in the home, with very basic housebreaking and crate training. Starting out with a rescued Poodle as if it is a puppy seems to work well as then the dog will learn the household routine. This method is also used for new Poodle puppies, which may have been purchased from a breeder. Poodles are trained beginning at three months of age with basic obedience lessons.

It is readily apparent if rescued Poodles have had some basic housebreaking training in the past; and, if not, old dogs can learn new tricks. All Sugar Dogs must have obedience training with their diabetic partner. Obedience training helps create the loving bond between the service animal and the diabetic and their family. The more consistent humans are, the easier for the Poodle. Diabetics require a regular routine, regularly checking glucose levels, eating on time, exercising, and this method works with animals as well. We know that other trainers (i.e., Dogs for Diabetics in CA) use “bucket training,” which is used by dog trainers to teach dogs to recognize the smell of drugs and/or bombs and alert; however, Sugar Dogs get along better with individualized training to know their diabetic partners and learn to smell the molecular changes in a specific diabetic rather than being trained to alert to dirty laundry (as used in “bucket training”).

The diabetic must test their sugars consistently with a bloodletting finger stick device and a glucose meter. While we request that diabetics follow their doctors’ orders, who generally recommend testing before meals and at bedtime. The Poodle is not a substitute for glucose testing. The Sugar Dogs International premise is that if the Poodle loves you, it will alert. In the beginning, after housebreaking and crate training, a new Poodle is attached by a leash or lead to the diabetic and goes with the diabetic everywhere wearing a service dog “in training” vest. Poodles love to be with their diabetic partners.

Sugar Dogs International works with people all over the world. It is just as easy to work with a diabetic next door, as it is a diabetic in India. Currently, many glucose meters are manufactured in the United Kingdom. Many brands of insulin pumps are manufactured in Germany. There are pumpers all over the world.

The Poodle is only ever positively rewarded. They do not subscribe to any negative reinforcement or negative training at all. If the blood sugar is too high, the diabetic uses an insulin pump or insulin in a syringe (as prescribed by an endocrinologist) to basal the appropriate amount of insulin if the blood sugar is high. If the blood sugar is too low, the Poodle will alert. Sugar Dogs International teaches diabetics and their families how to recognize when the Poodle is alerting. At night during a low blood sugar episode, the Poodle may lick the face of the diabetic and if that does not awaken the person, will scratch vigorously at them until they awaken. The Poodle smells the molecular change, which is not necessarily the breath smell or diabetic halitosis. It sounds too easy, but that is what Sugar Dogs International teaches; however, the diabetic must be consistent with testing.

The Sugar Dogs International website is available at SugarDogs International. The training method is revealed to diabetics and their families in stages, to avoid it being overwhelming. Sugar Dogs International desires the training process to be positive to the diabetic, their family and the Poodle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for your post!
I have been interested in getting a diabetic service dog for some time. By "getting" I mean adopting or training my own. I test my blood sugar many times throughout the day and have a good hold on my health (hasn't always been that way, my teenage years were a bit rough). Is it possible to train your own dog? Or to have Sugardogs Int. assist you in training your own dog? My Standard Poodle may already be able to recognize my changes in Glucose, but I may just have not recognized her signals. I still have a lot to learn about Diabetic service dogs.
 

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Sugar Dogs International

Thank you for your interest in diabetic alert service Poodles!

It sounds like your Poodle may already be alerting! This is NOT news as Poodles often spontaneously alert. The proof is documenting the animal's activity and testing to document your blood glucose readings.

Under the ADA, any individual may train his/her own service animal for their own use. Presently there is no national registry requirement.

Why wait years for a dog that may not be a Poodle from another source? If your Poodle is alerting, make contact, document your training and testing activities and get your Poodle certified as a Sugar Dog.

As commercial messages are not allowed on Poodle Forum, may I suggest that you please follow the Contact instructions on SugarDogs International.

Best wishes!
 

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Odds are your SPOO already knows, I'm on my second Sugar Dog SPOO and both spontaneously alerted within a month using their method of bonding. The key is knowing when they are alerting so you will test frequently, as you get into obedience you can convert their normal alert to something useful in public, like a leg tap.
 

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Sweetheartsrodeo took in a homeless Standard that does this for her without any training. Maybe she could give you some advice. She recently had a death in her family and may not be on the forum right now, but you could pm her. Good Luck!
 

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Absolutely :) I will PM you in a moment...
 

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I had a rally student who was working with her 5 yr old daughter's alert dog. It was a young lab but was a blessing to them as the little girl's sugar is not well regulated at this time. The dog alerts to the parents or another adult like a teacher. She sleeps with the girl and wakes up the mom before there is trouble. Great dog but not a poodle lol
 

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Not that difficult. There is a really good book out that I got on the recommendation of a trainer who has trained DAD.

This is second one I don't have but it does look interesting

there are also Facebook groups where you can get information and help with DAD.
 

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Let me also recommend books by Debby Kay on training sniffer dogs, including medical alert dogs.

Debby is an AKC breeder of merit of Labradors and naturally tends to favor that breed as alert dogs--many in her line seem to be pre-programmed to be service dogs, but she's happy to help people learn to train any dog how to alert. Her resume includes groundbreaking training in all kinds of sniffer dogs, from cadaver dogs, to explosives dogs, to bedbug dogs, to snake-finding dogs (for a naturalist), and mantrailing bloodhounds.

I took a diabetes alert dog trainers' workshop from her at her farm in Harpers Ferry, WV, and am helping a family in the next town train their young dog to alert.

Debby's books set out an easy-to-follow protocol for training your dog. Another resource is Diabetes Alert Dog Alliance. Debby is executive director of the charitable group and it offers advice and resource on diabetes alert dogs, including links to trainers and to breeders. Breeders must agree to do all recommended health tests and trainers must agree to abide by the code of ethics.

Here's her book on medical alert dogs: Super Sniffer Handbook: A Guide to Scent Training for Medical Alert Dogs


Good luck!
 

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Old thread alert, eh?
Diabetes is a common enough problem that reviving an old thread with new information isn't going to hurt anyone. I never would have noticed the age of the thread if someone hadn't commented before I did--I rarely go beyond the first page of threads unless I've done a search for something specific.

The information I posted wasn't available when the thread originally started, so maybe someone can benefit.

Just a note to the poodle-proud, though ... the experienced trainers I know prefer Labradors because they don't seem to get "bored" with the job like some poodles they've worked with seem to do.
 

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Some of us older members recognize an old thread way quicker than newer members. I have no problem with the thread being revived. But it may be pointless for members to offer advice to the OP.
 

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Some of us older members recognize an old thread way quicker than newer members. I have no problem with the thread being revived. But it may be pointless for members to offer advice to the OP.
The OP may be long gone, but even old threads show up in a search when a new member is looking for something specific.

No harm, no foul, and might be helpful to some future member. :)
 

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Just tryin' to be helpful. But I do get tired of bein' called out on it. I point it out in the mildest way that I can that there maybe no point wasting your time on this thread. But still somebody's always got to point out the 'so what' angle.

Next time I'll just sit back and smile while y'all trip over each other.
 
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