Diabetic Alert Dogs
Our diabetic alert dog program gives a person suffering from diabetes another aid in controlling their disease. *Note diabetic alert dogs do not replace medicine, or monitors used to control a person’s diabetes, they are another helping aid to manage the disease. * Most of the Diabetic alert dogs trained here are from our breeding’s. We hand select the parents based on the positive attributes they carry for the service industry. These puppies are then put through a series of tests to select the puppies that carry the strongest attributes looked for in diabetic alert dog.
Our diabetic alert dogs are started from an early age to ensure that sent imprinting is strongly in place prior to beginning of the training process. We start introducing scent samples at 2 weeks of age to get the puppy’s used to the odor of low sugar. The puppies then begin training at around 4 weeks of age to learn the fundamentals involved with their future job. Our program is broken into 3 phases of training. Once a puppy has made it past the puppy testing phase they begin the journey to becoming a Diabetic Alert Dog. Because of the intensity of this program not every dog will fit this need and dogs are culled out after phases 1 and phase 2 to ensure that the best candidates proceed forward to become Diabetic alert dogs.
Begins at 7 weeks of age. In this phase the puppies are being conditioned to the odor of low sugar, at this point samples are used from multiple children and adults. The puppies begin the public socialization process that will prepare them for future work as a service dog. Puppies in phase 1 generally get around 5 hrs. a week in public socialization time. These outings will include PetSmart, Lowes, BestBuy, shopping malls, and outdoor restaurants. These outings will start in small durations and increase as the puppies get older. The puppies in this phase will begin their obedience. Here are a list of commands that will be learned in this phase:
- Potty on command
- Come closer
- Alert signal (Paw swipe or bringstel pull)
- Open cabinets and refrigerators
- Retrieve cell phones
- Retrieve meter cases
- Retrieve juice bottles from cabinets or refrigerators
Some of the other skills covered in this phase are scent location and how to use their nose to locate odor. At this phase we make our second round of cuts, it important to understand not every dog is capable of becoming a diabetic alert dog. Dogs that are cut at this point are usually either used for other service work or other types of working dog applications. Once the dogs have graduated this phase of training they go on to Phase 2.
This Phase usually begins around 13-15 months of age. The dogs in this Phase go out in public for training 7 days a week and average no less than 15 hrs. of public time per week. They are exposed to everyday life activities such as: banks, post offices, schools, grocery stores, department stores, restaurants indoors and out, sporting events, zoos, elevators, escalators, streetcars, planes, cars, boats, movie theaters, etc. At this stage the dogs will begin wearing there vests that say STOP DO NOT PET ME WORKING DOG, we want the dogs to understand that their only focus through any distraction is their handler. The dogs will begin learning the following tasks in phase 2:
- Sent imprinting on the handlers odor
- Drills to learn to locate sent on the body regardless of time and body position
- Learning the alert chain once the odor is detected.
- Learning to alert in a variety of locations both in the home and in public.
This phase is generally the longest of all of the phases it can last from 8 – 10 months of age, each dog is different and progress at different rates. Like with Phase 1 at this point or during the actual phase some dogs may get culled out of the program. Each client that is in our program will sign a contract stating that Cody Bellanger at any point reserves the right to take a dog out of the program that is not showing the traits needed to become a successful Diabetic alert dog. Once the dog graduates from phase 2 they will then begin the last and final phase.
This phase begins at around 18 - 20 months of age. The dogs in this phase should be alerting to changes in sugar with a high accuracy in a variety of locations. The tasks covered in the phase are as follows:
- More advanced alerting, such as among large crowds or being longer distances away from the handler.
- Passing out drills ( The dog will learn how to try to wake an unconcise handler up)
- Go Get help ( The dog will learn how to leave the handler to get needed help)
- Night alerts (Note not every dog is capable of night alerting)
This phase generally lasts around 6-8 months. Once the dog completes this phase they graduate our program and become official D.A.D Dogs (Diabetic Alert Dogs). If you are interested in obtaining a Diabetic alert dog from Team Wild Wings please contact us.
Mobility Assistance Dogs
Our assistance dog program focuses on the needs of the individual client and how this dog can make a difference in that person’s life. The life of an elderly person or a disable person is can be hard enough, so our mind set is if we can pair a dog with a person and teach this dog to help in normal activities throughout the day then we have made their life that much easier. The main goal of the training methods utilized here are to make a difference and help people.
Some of the daily tasks that can be built into an assistance dog:
- Potty on Command
- Come Closer
- Retrieve a cell phone or house phone on command and if it rings.
- Load clothes into the washing machine and take clothes out of the washer and place them in the dryer. (Front load washer and Dryer)
- Open and close refrigerators and cabinets.
- Open and close doors
- Turn on and off lights
- Retrieve the remote to the TV
- Pick up and hand any dropped items
- Assist in bracing a person with unstable footing
- Retrieve specific items on command (Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, towels, cups, plates, etc.)
Each of the Assistance dogs trained in the program are a custom fit to the needs of the individual client. On occasion we have trained assistance dogs for sale, however this is not the norm due to the personalization of each training program to the handler.
Please see the contact page for more information on purchasing an Assistance dog.
Other Service Dogs
We do offer training for other service dogs such as:
- Hearing dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Autism dogs for autistic children
- PTSD dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
For more information on Service dogs please contact us we will be glad to answer any questions you may have.