Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Choosing to Disagree

                  With the growing trend of people flocking to get diabetic alert dogs I have also seen a growing trend of bad ideas from people training their own diabetic alert dogs. Recently I was on an online forum and a young woman was asking questions about alerts for her diabetic alert dog. I know she said she wanted the dog to alert by barking. That is the kind of alert that will get you kicked out of business. I know some people will argue that that is acceptable but it is not. A service dog should always be as transparent as possible. They are here to help us but quietly when ever possible. The whole idea even though it does not always work that way is to blend in as much as possible which means being quite and well behaved. A dog barking in the middle of a movie will get you kicked out for sure. I know I was warned by my movie theater if my dog barked I would be kicked out and that is true for most places. Barking is not an acceptable alert because it disrupts the general public.

                     A diabetic alert dog can be trained to have several alert levels for example Duchess will start off with a lick on my hand then proceeds to a pawing of the legs or calf and then finally pawing at my chest. If I am unresponsive still she will get me help. When I am at the office she will alert with a bringsel because the alert is more clear to my coworkers and she will tell them if I don't respond. This has really helped to get me help much faster. I know each diabetic alert dog team is different and so our their alerts but barking goes against service dog etiquette that should be followed. I know someone on the forum said he wants his dog to bark in case of emergency but I think this creates more a spectacle and also would stress the dog out as well as others. I know Duchess had been through emergencies with me but never barks but still gets me help so I disagree completely with the excuse to use barking. I know Duchess will scratch on door, whine other things to get attention without barking.

Also I am guest posting today on Diabetesmine. Here is a link to the article. Thanks again Mike it was wonderful meeting you in person and loved working with you on the guest post.



  1. cripes, barking service dogs..... I can see it now, barking dogs, during meals, movies, stores.... great.... next thing they'll outlaw ALL service dogs, even good acting ones! :(

  2. I still can't believe another person who was currently training his DAD said the ADA supported that being an alert is was a definite face palm moment. I was thinking the same thing. I need to stay off my Soapbox this week but I am already up there might as well talk about it all.

  3. This is amazing and as a type 1 myself I find this fascinating!! Never heard of service dogs for diabetics, I wonder if I can train my boxer, lol. Great article! Now time to research on the amazing animals :-)

  4. They have been around for several years but have grown in popularity in the past two years. There is quite a few blogs and articles as diabetic alert dogs online as well.