What We Do
Our training philosophy is to use science-based, force-free methods with an emphasis on rewards based techniques in order to teach dogs how to alert. We specifically designed our program where the client pays as their dog progresses through the phases. Our training program focuses on four stages:
Stage 1: Evaluating Your Dog
This stage is all about getting to know you and your dog; and figuring out whether your dog would make a good candidate for diabetes alert work. It includes a 60-90 minute evaluation that identifies your goals and expectations as well as a home visit to better understand your schedule and lifestyle. For those who would like a consulation about acquiring a new family dog for the task; we use this time to get to know more about what type of breed and traits you prefer and what would fit best in your home. Any and all private health information is kept confidential and will be handled according to HIPPA guidelines.
Stage 2: We Train Your Dog To Alert
Once we have established that your dog is a possible candidate for diabetes alert work, we progress on to teaching your dog the scent itself and what it means. For more efficient training, we may require your dog to board in our home for up to several weeks. During this time, not only will your dog be learning the diabetic scent, but also learning to become comfortable initiating an alert on their own whenever they detect that the diabetic’s blood glucose levels are rapidly changing. Because each dog is an individual and learns at a different rate, total training timelines will vary. Durations typically range from 2-6 weeks. During this stage, we provide clients with weekly written progress reports as well as access to training session videos so you can watch your dog progress while boarding in our home.
Stage 3: We Train You How to Work With Your Dog
Once we are comfortable with the alerting rate of your dog in our home, we can then begin to transition them to your home. A transitional period is expected; and it's not uncommon for a dog to take up to several weeks to be alerting with confidence and efficiency back in your household. During this stage, in order to set you up for success, we require bi-weekly phone check ins, and blood glucose charting as well as keeping track of the dog's alerts to identify any undesirable alerting patterns that need to be addressed or polished. How quickly your dog reaches alerting success directly depends upon the level of commitment and work that you invest in the process. After finishing this stage, your dog should be alerting consistently and accurately. This stage's duration, again, depends on each dog & family situation.
Stage 4: After Your Dog is Alerting
Just like humans, dogs have their good days and bad; and there are environmental factors that will affect your dog’s alerting. Experiencing sudden changes of a regular schedule, the sudden loss of a loved one or heightened levels of stress will most likely affect your dog’s confidence in alerting you to fluctuating blood glucose levels. Ceasing to alert during emotionally charged time periods is completely normal. A lack of alerts does not mean that the dog has suddenly forgotten how to alert, only that something needs to be tweaked in order to make sure the program runs smoothly for all again and that the dog feels comfortable in that particular situation to come to you to alert. Whether it's getting you back to a normal routine where you are less stressed, or working towards getting your dog more comfortable with a new addition to your life, we can help you through the process to get your dog back to alerting on a consistent basis.
Have questions? Contact us to find out more about our program.