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Is a service dog right for your child?

Service Dogs that help with autism, diabetes and even anxiety disorders can be incredibly life changing. But how do you know if a Service Dog is right for your child? The answer to this question definitely takes some soul searching and lots of research.

As a Service Dog specialist, it has been inspiring to see the benefits that my clients have experienced in incorporating a Service Dog into their lives.

I’ve seen teenagers on the spectrum make great strides in their communication barriers; I’ve seen the calming results of a young child having the pressure therapy of their dog while in a hospital setting. Some of the main reasons these dogs make such a difference is the intense partnership that can be formed between the child and the dog.

Here is a very short list of just a few of the benefits a service animal can provide:

Autism:

  • Calming Effect
  • Emotional Anchor
  • Increased Social Interaction
  • Reduced Problem Behaviors
  • Often times, Service Dogs can assist in calming down a meltdown
  • Interruption of self-harm
  • Tethering & Search & Rescue skills

Diabetes:

  • Dogs are known to be able to detect blood sugar swings even when the person is still unaware.
  • Early detection of blood sugar changes allows for the person to regulate their blood sugar before a life-threatening situation occurs.

Anxiety & Social Disorders:

  • Redirection from self harm
  • Often time’s children can develop confidence in helping develop and train their own Service dog.
  • Their dog can help bridge the social gap in social settings
  • Preventing Anxiety attacks and meltdowns
  • Continue functioning in situations that would generally be over stimulating.
  • Help with sensory overload

One of the most overlooked benefits of Service Dogs is the improvement to family dynamics, reduced family stress and the therapeutic benefits to both the child as well as the parents.

As you are researching the benefits to whether a Service Dog is right for your family. The best advice I can give you is to find a highly experienced Service Dog Specialist to consult with. Take the time to sit down and have a meeting with the specialist to discuss the pros and cons to getting a Service Dog. Your specialist will help you assess whether a Service Dog will be helpful in your unique situation. This is one of those categories in life where experience cannot be overlooked. The name of the game is quality results; otherwise what could have been a monumental lifestyle improvement can turn into a horrendous mess.

If you have read through this article then you are definitely dedicated to finding the best solutions to help your family. As a Service Dog Specialist in Boise, Idaho I can help you map out the game plan on how to get the perfect Service Dog for your needs. Simply contact us when you’re ready to take the next step.

 

T.J. Smith

Service Dog Specialist

www.CompanionTraining.com

Boise, Idaho

Diabetic Alert Dogs are Undeniably Effective

            Science and studies have shown that dogs that have been through Diabetic Alert Dog training have proven to be highly effective. Recent scientific research completed, provided information on a study where 17 Diabetic Alert Dog owners were monitored and paired with Diabetic Alert Dogs that were trained to alert owners of low blood sugars. Trained alerting behaviors included; licking, pawing, jumping, staring, vocalizing, and even fetching a blood testing kit. The researchers relied on the Diabetic Alert Dog’s owners to share information about how effective the dogs were at keeping the owners within healthy blood sugar ranges. According to the study, all 17 of the Diabetic Alert Dog’s owners said they would not change their decision to get a Diabetic Alert Dog based on the perceived health benefits they experienced, which included:

  • Fewer paramedic calls
  • Fewer unconscious episodes
  • Greater independence

             At the conclusion of the study researchers pointed to the value of the Diabetic Alert Dogs, for increasing glycemic control, client independence, and consequently quality of life and even reducing the costs of long-term health care.

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Why should you consider a Diabetic Alert Dog?

            Medical science has made amazing advances in diabetic detection and treatment in the last fifty years, in many instances drastically raising and even eliminating lowered life expectancy projections for people with insulin-dependent diabetes (also known as type 1 diabetes, juvenile diabetes mellitus, sugar diabetes and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes). Tools like diabetic ID bracelets, diabetes insulin pumps, finger-prick blood glucose testing kits, and real-time continuous glucose monitoring have drastically reduced instances of long-term diabetic complications in the insulin-dependent community.

             However, most of the available hypoglycemic alert equipment relies on accurate and continuous input from the diabetic, which is only effective when the diabetic is awake, alert, and thinking about it. In addition to human and mechanical errors, there are many factors which can mitigate the efficacy of these tools. These range from temporary inattentiveness (such as when the diabetic is sleeping or concentrating on something else for a period of time) to medical complications such as insulin resistance or hypoglycemic unawareness. In cases with diabetic children, a child’s potential inability to unerringly recognize and effectively communicate blood sugar changes can be a major stumbling block for caretakers trying to manage their disease.

             The danger here is that blood sugar can drop rapidly in anyone using insulin therapy, resulting in disorientation, confusion, temporary mobility impairment and a whole host of other compromising symptoms. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can even result in unconsciousness, coma or death in as few as twenty minutes. High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, is not as immediately dangerous as hypoglycemia, but can take a terrible toll on a diabetic’s health over a period of time.

             A Diabetic Alert Service dog will alert a diabetic to an impending shift in their blood glucose levels, giving them plenty of time to ascertain the gravity of the problem and take the necessary precautions or treatment. Diabetic Alert Dogs will alert in any location, under nearly any circumstances, and even wake their diabetic partners up in the middle of the night if necessary. This early alert to shifts in blood sugar is a huge relief to diabetics and parents of diabetics struggling to identify such changes before they result in uncomfortable symptoms and eventual debilitation, an invaluable tool in a diabetic’s efforts to achieve and obtain optimal blood sugar levels and in many cases a life-saving warning.

 

Why Companion Training®?

            The advanced training your Diabetic Alert Dog receives through Companion Training® is tailored specifically to your unique needs: 

  • You have the option to have your dog trained for public access if you prefer having your dog with you 24hrs a day.
  • Your handler training is done through private one-on-one sessions. This private approach allows you to master your   handler skills in a very comfortable setting, providing you the confidence to handle & maintain your dog’s training for the years to come.
  • Companion Training® utilizes the official Public Access Test® to prepare your dog for public work and Service Dog Certification if you would like your dog to work in public with you.

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How Many People in the United States Have Diabetes?

Answer: 25.8 million (8.3%)

Let’s break that down:

  • Diagnosed: 18.8 million persons 
  • Undiagnosed: 7.0 million persons
  • Prediabetes: 79 million persons
  • New Cases: 1.9 million persons

Source: The American Diabetes Association, 2011www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

Answer: Men

It’s close though, 13 million for the guys, 12.6 for the ladies.

Source: The American Diabetes Association, 2011www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

 

How many people die every year from diabetes?

Answer: About 231,404 people

That’s just an estimate and an old one at that. The data was gathered in 2007 by, you guessed it, the American Diabetes Association. Of the 231,404 people that died that year from diabetes 71,382 listed diabetes as the root cause of death on their death certificates while the rest listed it as a contributing factor. This won’t surprise many, diabetes is often accompanied by a slew of other health problems, heart disease taking the helm.

Source: The American Diabetes Association, 2011http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/

 

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