How to Train Your Dog to Alert for Seizures

Hard
6-48 Months
Work

Introduction

Every parent dreads not being able to help when their child is in grave danger. For moms and dads of kids with epilepsy, this fear is something that they have to live with day in and day out. Even letting their son or daughter play in the backyard can stir up feelings of anxiety.

A seizure assistance dogs can take the worry out of everyday life if your family is affected by epilepsy. Our canine friends are much more than just cute, furry faces. You can buy a pre-trained pooch (for a fairly hefty sum) or you can embark on teaching a dog how to properly react to a seizure.

Defining Tasks

A dog's nose is so much better at smelling than a human's. They can actually tell when a seizure is about to happen by the scent of the chemicals released inside the victim. Once a pup has seen a seizure take place, they can be trained to soften the fall of the person, or to go alert another human by barking.

Many canines will respond or alert to a seizure without any training at all, however properly teaching a dog what to do greatly increases how effective they will be for the task. Buying a dog who is already trained can cost up to $20,000, giving you some more motivation to try some teaching yourself. The process can take anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years, and works best if your pooch is exposed to someone who has at least three episodes a month.

Getting Started

To help kickstart your training process, there are some things you're going to need. These include:

  • The Right Dog: Certain breeds do better at this kind of thing than others. Beyond that, each dog's individual personality also impacts on whether they would make a good service dog or not.
  • Professional Help: Whether you work with an organization or you hire a trainer with experience dealing with epilepsy assistance, you're going to want to work with someone who knows what they're doing. The way that your dog responds could really be life or death for the person involved.
  • Treats: As with any type of conditioning, treats will be your new best friend. Try to find a large bag of small treats for the most effective use.

Remember, teaching your dog to alert while someone is having a seizure is not a small feat. It's going to take a lot of time and determination for this training to be complete.

Below are some methods that will help you on your way to shaping an amazing service animal.

The Positive Reinforcement Method

Most Recommended
5 Votes
Positive Reinforcement method for Alert for Seizures
Step
1
Have the dog around
Once again, you need to make sure that your pooch sees as many seizures as possible during training.
Step
2
Make the seizure "fun"
It sounds backwards, but if you want your dog to be as alert as possible to a seizure, you need to help them anticipate the event.
Step
3
Use treats and praise
As soon as your pup shows that they know a seizure is coming, try to make it a big deal and give them tons of praise.
Step
4
Keep doing this
For the training to be effective, you're likely going to have to work at it for months on end.
Step
5
Maximize exposure
The more seizures that your dog experiences and that you have a chance to reward, the more deeply ingrained the reaction will be.
Recommend training method?

The Stay Close Method

Effective
3 Votes
Stay Close method for Alert for Seizures
Step
1
Grab the treats
Make sure you have the bag of treats with you at all times that your dog is near the seizure patient.
Step
2
Reward clinginess
Toss over some treats and praise your good pup whenever he gets up close to this person.
Step
3
Do this a lot
Constantly encourage your doggo to be by the victim's side so that he starts to pick up in all of their little subtleties.
Step
4
Ensure he sees a seizure
Always have the dog around, so that he can witness a real seizure.
Step
5
Repeat!
After the first seizure, continue to praise him for all contact. Once he has been through several seizures with the person, he should recognize what's about to happen and alert you in some way.
Recommend training method?

The Watch Her Method

Least Recommended
2 Votes
Watch Her method for Alert for Seizures
Step
1
Let your dog see a seizure
Have your pupper be there during an entire seizure. The closer the better (while still keeping her safe).
Step
2
Do it again
Try to keep your dog close to the person prone to seizures so that she witnesses a few more.
Step
3
Watch her
After she's seen enough to understand what follows those initial warning signs, watch her closely at the beginning of the next seizure.
Step
4
Learn her signal
At first, it might be something as little as a nudge, but most likely she will exhibit some behavior when she suspects a seizure is imminent.
Step
5
Work to make it obvious
Once you know her warning sign, reward the behavior and work to make it more noticeable. You could teach her to speak each time she shows her signal, until she learns to bark at the beginning of the episode.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 10/11/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Winston
Rough Collie
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Winston
Rough Collie
4 Months

My daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy in January. Because most of her seizures happen at night, we would like to train our new collie to help alert us when she is having one. We don't know where to start. Any help or advice welcome!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tyson, The first part of the training will be similar to any really well behaved dog - work on socialization a ton, including a good puppy class, work on intermediate obedience, and perhaps join a Canine Good Citizen class to teach pup to ignore distractions in public - all of this training is important for public access, so the dog qualifies to go with your daughter whenever needed and be well mannered enough, calm, and attentive enough to her to avoid being asked to leave places - which store owners can do if the dog is causing a disturbance because of bad behavior. This training will take up most of the first year of life, with on going training to keep pup sharp after that as needed, most likely. The task training can start as soon as possible or closer to 1 year- different groups do it different ways. I like to encourage generally using his nose, being focus on her, and calmness like lying near her at least - to pave the way during puppihood for more detailed stuff later. Some seizures can be alerted beforehand by dogs and some can only be responded to once they are already happening - by doing something like going to get you. This depends on the type of seizure and whether the body has changes that are detectable to the dog beforehand or not - either way the dog could normally be trainer to at least go get help during one. If you plan to train the dog yourself for task training - seizure alert or assistance, then some good resources are training videos on youtube, private trainers who specialize in service dog training and have done anxiety, scent, and ideally seizure training beforehand - seizure alerting is similar to the combination of panic attack and medical alert by scent detection combined so you at least want someone who has done those two things if you can't find someone who has done seizure specifically. Even if you do most of the training yourself, finding a private trainer with experience who can show you what to do, let you practice for a while, and hire on an as needed bases to guide you is helpful. Online communities of other owner trainer's who are training their own service dogs is another great resource to learn from, such as Instagram groups and facebook groups. Following people like kaladin.theservicedog on instagram and others like her who follow them as well. These trainers will often post progress and trouble shooting things, and possibly even resources they found helpful along the way. Best of luck traininig, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jax
Husky
6 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Jax
Husky
6 Weeks

My neurologist did some testing and I am having seizures. I'm not sure where or how to start the process of making him a service dog. I was hoping you could help lead me in the right direction.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Breianna, The firs step if you do not have a dog yet is to decide if you want to purchase a trained dog through a Service Dog program or purchase a puppy and train and raise it yourself, with the hopes of the dog becoming a Service Dog. Dogs that are intelligent, people focused, food or toy motivated at least to a certain degree, and have stable enough temperaments to be in public (no timidity or aggression issues) are best candidates for Service Dog work. Many alert dogs depend on smelling body chemicals that proceed things like seizures also, so they need to have at least a decent sense of smell (no smooshed nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs). Do some research into breeds when choosing a dog, and be picky about where you get a puppy from. Look for a well bred pup, from intelligent, willing to please, healthy parents, who do not have aggression or timidity issues (temperament is genetic also). This is one time when I do not recommend rescuing a puppy since you cannot evaluate parents. Adult rescues occasionally turn out to be good Service Dogs but these dogs are the exception not the rule, and they are not puppies whose temperaments are less obvious while young. Once you have your puppy, he needs to learn general manners, thorough socialization, and to generally get to the point where he can be calm, focused, and friendly (but still focused on you). This requires an intermediate or advanced level of training in obedience. Most dogs spend the first year simply learning manners so that they can qualify to be with their owners in public (by definition Service Dogs cannot be distributive in public), in addition to being able to perform specialized tests. Getting in a good puppy kindergarten class, an intermediate obedience class, then a canine good citizen class are great ways to accomplish the obedience, focus, and socialization needed. You of course have to practice everything you are learning between class weeks though, especially socialization, which is probably the single most important thing to do with a Service Dog (most other things can be improved later, but a lack of socialization can lead to aggression or timidity and not be treatable enough to become a Service Dog once present). Once you have basic manners down, work on task training (alerting to the seizures or assisting during the seizure). This can be done at the same time as other training, but doesn't have to be started as early as puppy training does. Check out the website linked below for more information on seizure alert and assistance training. You will need to decide what you want your dog to do to help your seizures (For example: alert you before one happens, go get someone during a seizure, bring you something to help like medication, or something else). You can teach multiple things but to qualify as a Service Dog your dog will have to learn at least one task that helps. https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Peggy
Beagle
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Peggy
Beagle
8 Weeks

My husband and I are adopting a beagle puppy. I have brain cancer, which puts me at risk of seizures. I will need to be on anti-seizure meds for ever, according to my doctor. While I’ve never had a seizure, this is still a large threat in my life. Would it be possible to train our puppy as she grows to be a seizure alert dog, even if I’ve never had a seizure (knock on wood)?

Thanks in advance,
Maddie

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maddie, You could train her to assist you during a seizure by performing pressure therapy, getting help, bringing medication, or doing another helpful task during a seizure. You can roll play having a seizure and teach her based on your actions how to respond. To teach a dog to alert you ahead of time you need a saliva sample taken from the person right after a seizure. Without this saliva sample it would be hard to teach her to detect an oncoming seizure and there are some types of seizures that cannot be detected ahead of time at all. It depends on the kind of seizure and how or if your body chemistry changes beforehand. If you prepare her as a service dog, teach her to help during a seizure by doing something like going to get help, and work on helping her learn to use her nose in general with fun games like hiding treats, then teaching her to detect oncoming seizures later if they were to begin (when you could then get saliva samples) should be doable since she will already have a good foundation to learn from. If you know someone else who has seizures who would be willing to collect saliva samples right after one (they would probably need help with that while disoriented), then you might be able to teach her now using their samples, but your chemistry could be different so there is no guarantee that ithe training would transfer to you, so I can't fully recommend doing that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Husky
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Daisy
Husky
5 Months

Hi my name is Alondra and i have a question. My husband has had 3 seizures in the past year the first one was to the second one was 8 months apart and then the second one to the third one was 2 months apart it seems like they’re getting closer but we got pup in January she’s now 5 months old and i was curious if she’s trainable ? Do we HAVE to get a dog that’s not ours or can we get our dog train , we would like to know an approximately a cost ? Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alondra, You do not have to get a trained service dog but training your own dog typically takes about two years of hard work training and socializing, and not all dogs are cut out for service dog work. A service dog needs to have a natural aptitude for detection (a good nose, focus on people, motivated to work and train, a balanced temperament). Service dog training is a combination of genetically choosing the right dog and spending on average two years preparing the dog for it's work. One of the most important parts of service dog training is socialization. A Service dog needs to be so familiar and relaxed around other people, dogs, environments, sights, sounds, and experiences that he is able to be well behaved and calm in almost any environment. Without that level of behavior he will not be allowed public Access and will not be able to be with you when needed to detect seizures. A well bred dog with a great temperament can learn those things from their owner and through classes like puppy class and a canine good citizen class but the owner needs to be dedicated. You also have to evaluate if Daisy has a good nose and is focused enough on people - many Huskies are independent and prey driven and not used as service dogs for that reason, but there are exceptions and there are a handful of Husky Service Dogs. To purchase a fully trained Service Dog can vary in price. Check out the websites linked below for some examples: (Check out their application for a break down on cost): https://k94life.org/programs/applications/ https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/apply/ https://4pawsforability.org/the-process/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dodger
Golden Retriever
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dodger
Golden Retriever
1 Year

I just need help on where to look to find someone to train dodger to detect my sons seizures. I’ve called organizations, I’ve visited assistance dogs international, and so far no one can help. I’m lost on what to search or where to look next.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Montana, If a larger organization isn't able to help you, then I suggest googling "service dog training (your state)" or "service dog trainer (your state)", or "medical alert dog training (your state or city)" or "medical alert dog trainer (your state)". There are some private trainers who offer service dog training. A private trainer or private training group that also does service dog training may be easier to locate in your area. Some trainer or organizations shy away from seizure alert training other's dogs because many believe that the dog has to naturally start to indicate a seizure is oncoming in their own, then if they show good potential for being a seizure alert dog by doing that, you can work on official training for it with that dog, others have shown that dogs with the right temperments and a good sense of smell can be trainer using saliva samples to detect even if they haven't detected on their on in the past. There are also some types of seizures that can't be alerted to beforehand because there is not a biochemical change in the body that happens before symptoms appear for the dog to pick up on and alert to. In those cases the dog is taught to go get help, medication, or offer comfort after, but they can't be trained to alert beforehand because there isn't anything to alert to until it is already happening. Look for a trainer who has taught service dogs things like diabetic alert, allergen alert, celiac alert, or another alert that was based on scent or biochemical changes in the body, even if they haven't done seizure before. The training is similar to other scent based alerts. Your best chance is probably to find an individual trainer on Google who offers service dog training, then call and ask about seizure alert specifically. You may have to drive a ways to someone if you are not in a really large city. You may even want to email potential trainers who have service dog experience the article linked below about seizure alert dogs being trained to detect seizures using saliva samples - in case they haven't trained seizure alert but have done other alerts and scent training and could help you still. https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Duchess
Mutt
5 Years
0 found helpful
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Duchess
Mutt
5 Years

Hi I’m 29 and I started having seizures about 3 years ago. After lots of tests and changes of medications I’ve managed to find out I have left temporal lobe brain damage from some previous domestic abuse. I have recently adopted a dog from a friend who could not keep her due to homelessness. She’s sweet she’s great she loves everyone and other dogs but she is HYPER. Not chewing or bad behaviors just very excited even other dogs get annoyed at her sometimes. I’m kind of determined to train her into my own personal service dog. Mostly because she’s become closely attached to me quickly over other humans in the house and her temperament is great she’s not anxious or scared just happy and overly excited sometimes. I’ve looked into trying to adopt or get a service dog previously but due to my financial situation it just won’t ever be a possibility for me unfortunately. I’m thinking duchess is going to be my best bet as she already sits at my feet and sleeps next to my legs. Any advice would be extremely appreciated!
Thanks so much in advance!!!
Meredith

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meredith, If she doesn't have any behavior issues and has a great temperament, then with dedication she might make a good service dog. She needs to be focused on you, willing to please, decently intelligent, and have a good nose. You can work on calming exercises to help with the energy. Teach commands like the ones liked below to help her develop an "Off" switch" inside. Also, working on training that stimulates her mind a bit each day should not only help her learn the things she needs as a Service Dog but also take the edge off of her energy. Many energetic dogs do best with mental stimulation in addition to moderate physical exercise. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo I would look on facebook and instagram to connect with other service dog owner-trainers (those who train their own service dogs). It can be a great place to connect and learn from others who are doing what you are doing when you don't want to pay for a trainer's help. Check out the article linked below for a little information on seizure alert dogs and training based on scent. Be aware that some seizures cannot be detected beforehand because of the type of seizure. In those cases, seizure service dogs are trained to do things that help during the seizure, such as going for help, retrieving medication, pressure therapy, recovery support, anxiety reduction, ect...but not as early warning dogs because the person's body chemistry doesn't change enough beforehand to detect an oncoming seizure. https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Hydrangea
Husky
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hydrangea
Husky
2 Years

I don't have re-occurring seizures. I happened to experience one recently and currently under medication and observation for six months. Want to prepare my dogs in case there is ever a time I am alone even for a split second. So training my dog with experience won't be easy. What would you recommend?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Arizhay, The answer to this depends on what you normally do during a seizure. If you tend to fall or do something specific that can be mimicked, you can teach the dog to go get help when you do that behavior by practicing that "signal" times outside of a seizure. To teach a dog to alert beforehand (which is only possible with some types of seizures" you will need a saliva sample taken right after a seizure. When dogs are taught to alert someone of an oncoming panic attack, the dog is often trained to alert a person when they do certain nervous behaviors that are commonly associated with their anxiety, like rubbing arms, breathing hard, biting nails, wiggling a foot, ect...The person pretends to be anxious by doing those behaviors and teaches the dog to do something specific, like lead them somewhere, apply pressure, interrupt them, ect...when they do those things. When the dog practices that alert enough during actual times of anxiety, the dog will often also pick up on other things the person is unaware of, and sometimes even changes in the way the person smells before an oncoming panic attack, making the dog even better at detecting actual anxiety.... Seizure alerting can be similar. If you don't have them frequently enough to teach a scent detection, you can teach the dog to respond to the actions associated with a seizure, then the dog might begin to alert even more accurately later on with practice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Em
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
One Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Em
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
One Year

(she's not trained)I generally have three to four absence seizures a month. She experienced three within the past few days, and from what my mom says she alerted her then ran back to my side. What are some trainers that can help train me train her?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Selena, Generally you will want a trainer who specializes in Service Dog Training, and has trained a seizure alert dog before, or at least has experience training scent detection dogs and PTSD/anxiety dogs, since the skills are somewhere similar for training scent plus anxiety dogs. Without knowing what area you are located in I cannot help with specifics. Also, I am located in Georgia myself so likely do not know trainers on your side of the country if you are not in the southeast. I good place to start though, is contact organizations that do seizure alert dog training, and ask for connections to trainers in your area who could help train a dog you already have. You can also googling service dog trainers in your area and look at their websites to see if they do private training and have seizure alert training experience, then speaking with those who seem to qualify to see if their experience matches what you need. Here are some organizations who train seizure alert dogs that you may want to email and ask for recommendations from, or gain assistance from if they are near you: https://k94life.org/seizure-alert/ https://www.icarol.info/Search.aspx?org=72318&Page=1&Count=15&Search=seizure+dogs&NameOnly=False&pst=Coverage&sort=Proximity&TaxExact=False&Country=-1 https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety/seizure-dogs/perspective-training-seizure-dogs https://4pawsforability.org/seizure-assistance-dog/ https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ https://www.pawswithacause.org/what-we-do/assistance-dogs/seizure-response-dogs/ https://www.pawsitivityservicedogs.com/seizure When searching for an individual trainer in your area to help you, you can google things like "Service Dog Training (your state)", "Service dog trainer (your state)", "Service dog training (your city)", "Service dog trainer (your city)"...and then investigate the trainers' websites to see if they will do private training with your current dog and if they have any experience with seizure alert or respond training. In the very least you want someone who has scent detection training and PTSD service dog training because the skills for seizure alert are similar to the combination of scent detection training and training a dog to detect an oncoming panic attack. Once you have found some good options, call and ask questions and explain what you are needing before buying a package and committing, to make sure it's a good fit. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Butter
Yorkshire Terrier
3 Years
0 found helpful
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Butter
Yorkshire Terrier
3 Years

Hi, I currently have epilepsy and haven't had a seizure in over a year. I normally have the absense seizures or convulsions. I was on medication for 4 years and came off last year because of the side effects and damage it was doing to my body. Recently I have been have symptoms of seizures but I am not sure if I have actually had them. My mom recommended me in using Butter as a service dog for epilepsy alert/ response. My dog and I have a close bond, but he needs a lot of training to recognize and handle them. What steps do I need to take?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ty-Liyiah, First, you need to teach pup to go find your mom and bring her back to you. Once pup knows a "Go Find" command, then you will need to pretend like you are having a seizure (ask others who have seen it what it normally looks like for you). When you are pretending to have a seizure give pup the "Go Find" type command. Once they reach help, have the person assisting you reward pup and then tell them to "Go Find Ty-Lihiah" or something similar. When pup brings the person back to you reward pup. Practice this until pup can find someone anywhere in the house, yard or nearby area and bring them back to you. When pup can do that, then stop giving the commands but do all the same actions, like pretending to have a seizure and reward pup if they get help without having to be told and bring help back without having to be told. If pup gets confused repeat the "Go Find" commands as a hint. Practice, giving hints as needed until pup can do it reliably without. After experiencing enough real seizures pup may begin to alert you on their own right before a seizure happens instead of just getting help during one - this is typically learned on their own by the dog or can sometimes be taught using saliva samples taken right after a seizure - so that certain chemicals and changes in the body are still in the saliva for the dog to detect. These saliva samples are then frozen, and thawed out and used during training to teach pup an alert like pawing at you or barking when the dog smells the change in your body chemistry. Not all seizures are detectable beforehand so it depends on your own body whether that training can be done. Start by teaching pup to find you and family members on command. You can make a fun game out of this using treats. I suggest playing the "Find ____" game. First, clip a leash on your dog. Have your mom sit across the room or several feet away. Tell her to "Go Find Mom" and lead her over to your mom. When she gets to her, have your mom give her a treat. Repeat this until you can say "Go Find Mom" and she will go to your mom without being lead. Your mom can make a little noise as a hint if she seems confused. When she can go to your mom in the same room, practice this randomly throughout the day when your mom is close by. If she won't do it, have your mom make a noise as a hint or you walk her over to your mom, then have your mom reward her when she gets there. When she can consistently do this while your mom is within eye-sight, start practicing it while your mom is in another room close by or further away outside. Give her hints by having your mom make a little noise or walking pup to her if she cannot figure it out after seven-seconds of trying on her own. When she can consistently find your mom (or other family member or roommate) in any room of the house or outside, and has learned how to persistently search for her until she locates her, then have your mom practice the same thing with you, telling pup to "Go Find Ty-Liyiah". Practice pup finding you just like you did with your mom, starting in the same room with her first, and gradually adding more distance as she improves. When she has learned what "Go Find Mom" and "Go Find Ty-Liyiah" mean and can do both well, then practice the commands on a long leash on walks, parks, fields, and dog-friendly stores. Have the person she is supposed to be finding hide somewhere nearby when she is not looking, like the next isle over or behind a bush. Tell her to "Go Find Mom" or "Go Find Ty-Liyiah" and give her hints if she needs them. When she finds the person, give her lots or praise and rewards. When you need your mom, you can tell pup to "Go Find Mom" and when pup arrives without you, your mom can tell her to "Go Find Ty-Liyiah" so that she will lead your mom back to you. If you practice having your mom automatically telling her to go find Ty-Liyiah every time she finds your mom at this point, she will likely begin to lead your mom to you automatically, even before your mom tells her to. At that point you will pretend like you are having a seizure and tell her to Go Find mom and practice that until you can phase out the Go find part and she will simply go get your mom whenever you act like you are having a seizure. Reward her each time she gets something correct. Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/training/track-humans Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sadie
Mix breed
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Sadie
Mix breed
3 Years

Sadie is a smart dog aced her obediance training and is still learning all she can. My question is is she to old to be trained as a seziure response dog?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dana, She is probably not too old. Whether she can succeed at it depends more on how she was raised and her genetic temperament more than her age, as long as she doesn't have any medical conditions that would interfere. 1. She needs to be extremely well socialized already - which isn't something you can change enough at this point if she isn't already good around people, other dogs, and adapting to new things and places. That's the main thing that has to be worked on as a puppy to raise a good service dog, and is the number one reason why an older dog would fail as a service dog. 2. She needs to be well mannered and obedient, so that she can go places and have public access without being a disruption at all - a store owner can legally ask you to leave if a service dog is a disruption, so manners, quietness, and a good temperament are super important. You could teach her to alert you at home if she doesn't have this, but she wouldn't be a true service dog or be able to help as much without public access places. 3. She needs to be focused on people (at least, specifically the person she will be helping) and willing to please so that she is tuned in enough to the person she is helping to notice when something is wrong. 4. She probably needs to have a good sense of smell - if she will be trained to detect an oncoming seizure (not all seizures can be detected ahead of time - it depends on the type o seizure). Even without a good sense of smell she may still be able to be trained to get help or offer other assistance during a current seizure or right after a seizure - during recovery, but not alerting ahead of time. It can take 1-2 years to fully train a service dog. An older dog may learn more quickly if she already has all of her obedience, manners, and socialization out of the way, and just needs mostly the task training. Expect at least a year of training work though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mia
German Shepherd
4 Months
1 found helpful
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1 found helpful
Mia
German Shepherd
4 Months

I got this puppy with the intentions of training it to become a service dog and notice the issues of when I get choked up I get to where I can't breathe and I get light-headed in there I've been in some cases where I passed out and my wife currently is a type 1 diabetic that has a critical type of type 1 diabetes and deals with fluctuations in her diabetes and more wanted to train the dog as best we can to notice and react to the different situations that vary in between me and her together

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kelly, First, focus on socialization, manners in public, trust and respect for you and your wife, and overall obedience skills so that the dog will qualify to be with you both in public as a Service Dog. That training is the most time sensitive while raising the dog, the task training can be taught as you go but is not as age dependent. Second, choose which task you want to train first. Do you want to teach diabetic alert to low or high blood sugar first, or oncoming seizure alert, bringing someone to you when you are in the midst of a seizure, or another task that helps either you or your wife. Focus on one task at a time though, especially if that task involves scent detection (which low and high blood sugar alerts do by training the dog to alert to a saliva sample taken during low or high blood sugar). Once you have taught the first alert and she can do that one consistency, then you can try to add a second task, teaching it the way you would if she hadn't learned another task first, in most cases. You will essentially be teaching two different things, just like you can teach a dog two different commands. For example, my sister has a Service dog who is trained as an anxiety support dog, who also does Celiac alert, which detects trace amounts of a protein in food for her, and he detects low blood sugar for her. The three tasks are different but she has several needs with two things being part of the same medical condition (the blood sugar is a separate condition) so the dog has been taught to perform multiple tasks. She taught anxiety detection first, blood sugar second, then Celiac third, focusing on one task at a time until he knew that task well. Before she began any task training they focused on intensive socialization through puppy classes and outings, and obedience training and manners until they had accomplished an intermediate to advanced level of obedience. At that point she added in task training for Service work - which a dog often needs to have a naturally good nose to do when it comes to detecting things through scent, he needs to be focused on people (or his own person specifically), he needs a balanced temperament (without aggressive or fearful tendencies), and he needs a desire to please, to succeed at Service Dog work. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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star
German Shepherd lab
1 Year
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star
German Shepherd lab
1 Year

im haveing trouble traing my dog on my own to become a seizure response dog

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I can understand the difficulty you may be having - often a professional trainer is required to give both you and Star the guidelines needed for the training required. Search in your area for a professional who has the qualifications you need and see if they can help or point you in the right direction to train Star yourself. Qualities that a seizure dog needs are a willing personality and good socialization so you can take them wherever you need to go. As well, excellent obedience skills so that they listen to you in every environment and situation. A service dog needs a good nose, excellent focus, and no fear of people and unfamiliar surroundings. Remember that the training will take at least a year to complete. The lengthy time will also allow you and Star to form an even closer bond. Here are a couple of sites that may be able to help you: https://k94life.org/seizure-alert/ and https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ All the best and good luck!

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Sonja
German Shepherd
6 Months
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Sonja
German Shepherd
6 Months

I have stress/anxiety seizures. I'm wanting to start training her. When it's just me and her in public she stays right with me doesn't bark is very calm. When I stop to look at something or just to stop moving for a few mintues she will lay at my feet and not move people will walk by and she wont even move. But I'm not sure how to help with training her for my seizures.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I believe, based on Sonja's behavior so far, that she can be trained to help you out when needed. However, I also feel that in order to do this right, so that Sonja knows exactly what to do when you have a seizure, professional assistance is the only way to go. Until you can locate a private trainer in your area, work on her obedience levels. I'm sure she will pick up the commands quickly and the more responsive she is, and the closer your bond is (both achieved by positive reinforcement obedience classes) the better chance she'll have at succeeding as a seizure dog. As well, look for an online resource with a community that you can connect with. Any tips you can learn from others who have trained their dogs on their own to detect seizures will help. Good luck and enjoy training Sonja!

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Teddy
Australian Shepherd
10 Years
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Teddy
Australian Shepherd
10 Years

Do u train an Australian Shepard to become a seizure dog

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I do, but I am only certified to train for seizure alert dogs in my state, which is Colorado. Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there.

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Ghost
Border Collie
1 Year
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Ghost
Border Collie
1 Year

Photo of Ghost with owner
My epileptic son.

Ghost has more and more been alerting me to any pending seizure the my son is going to have. Over the last 2 weeks my son has been having a lot of episodes in the last month( absent seizures during the day) no memory, wobbly, etc occasionally falling in to the wall. And physical fitting at night while asleep. At the moment Ghost doesn't not leave my sons side. Nudging him gently if his starting to lean. And kissing him or getting close for a cuddle, until my son comes out of it.
Originally we decided to leave ghost entire and allow him to kinda be a guard dog, by barking if someone arrived. But I am now wondering if I would be better focusing on him supporting my son and alerting me, and getting him neutered. He is currently attending puppy kinder play and train, as he was a little anxious out of the yard walking initially but now loves it after 3 sessions.
So can I train ghost more specifics signs in barking to alert me if his physically fitting rather then running to me to alert me. And what is the best methods for me to train him. And can her actually be classed as a support dog or alert dog once his trained and pasted any tests required? Unfortunately I feel it will be a while before we get control over the seizures again and that it would be good for son to have confidence to go to friends in the future. As ghost and my son have had a great connection as soon as they meet, and now I am becoming aware the even hours before a seizure if my son is off even slightly and he doesn't realise, ghost is and alerting me to it..
Learning tricks and commands is easy with ghost you do it once and his on it. The only i suppose niggling issue is his still learning appropriate behaviour with dogs he doesn't know at his first meet with them. Even though I have 2 other dogs at home an not tested yet but ready, therapy dog for myself (cavalier 3y F) and a 5 month staffy x mastiff female pup that is overly aware of and anxiety or panic in my children and will gently rub next to there leg as the walk and the sits near them and just cuddles them until she feels they are better. I do hope you can point me in the right direction with training and honing Ghosts skills. As it is an extreme wait off me since Ghost has started alerting me prior to it.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the picture and question. A big congrats to Ghost for his excellent work. I do not have experience in this area but from what you tell me, I would concentrate on Ghost and his alert work as opposed to guarding work. I think if you neuter him, he may act more appropriately with other dogs, which is one of your concerns. Talk to the vet about that. You can speak to the trainers at the kinder play and train class, and definitely register him for the next level, too. You may find more information here, or possibly pose your question: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/service-dog-training-101/. There is a section on training your own dog and you may be able to contact them for information. Also search online for possible training options in your immediate area. All the best to your son and to Ghost!

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Thunder
Labrador
8 Weeks
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Thunder
Labrador
8 Weeks

I mainly have absence seizures however when I have a tonic-clonic, I am normally alone and they will go for 20/30 minutes.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashleigh, I suggest teaching pup to alert to two things. Teach pup to alert to seizure like movements and teaching pup during non seizure times to go get help when you make those seizure like movements for the tonic clonic seizures mainly. I also suggest taking saliva samples right after a seizure ends, freezing that sample, then later using it teaching pup to get help and alert you whenever pup smells the frozen saliva samples. This helps pup learn to detect your body chemistry changes that sometimes happen right before an oncoming seizure or at least during a seizure - to help pup also learn to alert to the absence seizures, which are likely not associated with your body language as much - although pup might be able to learn to alert to those if you tend to get really rigid or have usual body language then too that pup would be able to detect, that could be mimicked during practice. Once a dog learns to alert to seizure like movements, and alerts to several real seizures with time, some dogs will also begin to alert to the body chemistry changes they discover are associated with an on-coming or active seizure as well on their own. This type of alert is more intuitive and dependent on the dog's natural ability, but it starts with teaching pup to alert to things like saliva and mimicking seizure like activity. Have those who have witnessed your seizures show you what movements or body language are associated with the seizures to practice those things with pup. If there is anything very noticeable about the absence seizures you can teach that body language to pup also, like if you because unusually rigid for example. Finally, some seizures actually change your body chemistry before symptoms appear - giving a dog the ability to let you know when a seizure is about to come. Other types of seizures don't create changes until symptoms are also present - only giving a dog the ability to get help and not alert you ahead of time. That depends a lot on what your own body is doing. You may or may not be able to teach pup to alert you of an on-coming one, but pup should at least be able to be trained to get help once one is happening. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jake
Rottweiler
6 Months
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Jake
Rottweiler
6 Months

my Seziures are not always physical most of the time I space out (absent seziure) for long periods of time. What would be the best way to get him to respond to these?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there. This is something that needs to be done one on one, in person. But in the mean time, I do have a great article that goes over how you can begin training yourself if you are up for the task. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Seizure-Alert-Dogs-for-Under-10-000-Bucks

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Daisy
Border Collie
2 Years
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Daisy
Border Collie
2 Years

My dog is in training for sciezure response. I train her myself. She stopped my head from falling on her own once. But I'm not sure where to go from here. She runs away when I fake a sciezure

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kathryn, I suggest breaking the training down into smaller steps. Begin with slower, gentler versions of your seizure act. Toss pup treats when you first display this behavior, until she is not afraid of it. As she becomes confident, make the seizure act more life-like, only gradually increasing the movement and activity bit by bit while rewarding her for staying engaged. When she can handle your seizure like activity without fear, then fine tune the activity so that pup is only rewarded when you do the seizure act AND pup alerts. The first goal is just getting pup over their fear before you start the alert training part. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cooper
Chocolate lab
7 Months
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Cooper
Chocolate lab
7 Months

Our daughter has Absence Epilepsy with mixed tonic clonic seizures. She is 12. This, along with Covid, has presented some challenges for her. School has become difficult, and we have transitioned to home online school. We are hoping that Cooper can be a support for her.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there.

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Cardi
Yorkipoo
8 Months
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Cardi
Yorkipoo
8 Months

Very friendly. Gets overly excited around visitors.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Edward, I suggest practicing something called "Jazz up and Settle Down". Which is a bit like red light, green light for dogs. During training, get him a little excited, then command "Stop" or something he knows like "Sit", and freeze. Wait and completely ignore him until he calms back down. As soon as he gets calm or sits, praise and give a treat. Tell him "Let's Play!" again, and start playing and getting him a bit excited again. As soon as he starts to get a little worked up (not too much at first), command "Stop" or "Sit" again, then wait, reward with a treat when he calms down, then continue the game after he is rewarded. Repeat this a few times each training session, then end the session (have lots of frequent shorter sessions throughout the day at his age). As he improves, and can really calm down quickly, let him get a bit more excited before calling Stop. Gradually work up to him becoming more and more excited and having to calm down quickly from a higher level of excitement as he improves. Also, understand that this will take some time and practice. Puppies have to learn self-control just like any other skill, while young. This game can help him develop it sooner though. I also suggest teaching the Leave It command, Out - which means leave the area, and working up to pup being able to do a 1 hour place command gradually, from the articles linked below: Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another good option would be an intermediate obedience class - a good one should specifically work on pup being able to obey basic obedience commands, but with added distractions and difficulty. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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MIA
american pitbull
4 Months
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MIA
american pitbull
4 Months

She's very hiper, very lovely n very friendly

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there. This is something that needs to be done one on one, in person.

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Zucko
Bernese Mountain Dog
8 Weeks
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Zucko
Bernese Mountain Dog
8 Weeks

I don’t have a dog yet. I have been an epileptic for 15 years and I am controlled with medication for my grandmal seizures. I also have Myoclonic Seizures with my eyes. So I was wondering if I trained a puppy to help steer me out of the sun since I am triggered by light into the shade or away from flashing lights. Possibly even train a puppy to help me if I were to have a Grandmal seizure by helping to break my fall or curling up under my head. I have very violent seizures. I just wanted to know if that would be possible even though my Grandmal seizures are controlled. I do have children and I am home by myself a lot and I just want to make sure that if I am out with them or home by myself I am not totally alone without help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kasey, At least part of what you are wanting to train is likely doable. Since you don't have the seizures often and don't want to have to have them in order to train, you would have to replicate what you look like when you have a seizure, rather than train pup to detect your scent during one. You would need to teach pup to direct you out of the sun on cue, then you would add acting like you are having a seizure to the cue, then phase out the cue so that you acting like you are having a seizure would become the cue to redirect you from the sun. For the breaking your fall, you could teach pup to stand behind you when you begin to act like you are having a seizure. You would need a large dog with a high pain tolerance, in order for them not to be deterred by your weight landing on them - it would need to not hurt pup but just be hard pressure, which is specific to how sensitive and large pup is - this would be a little harder to train depending on the dog, and them cooperating would need to be heavily rewarded so they would still be motivated to do it even with you ending up on them. You might be able to train pup to drag something under your head, like a soft purse you carry, with the head convulsions while lying on the ground as a cue to do that - again, starting with a cue, then adding the movement of your head to the cue, then phasing out the verbal cue and having the head movements be the cue. You would likely need a second person for this training, so one could act out the lying on the ground movement, while the other rewards pup for dragging something under the head. Depending on pup's size and any possible pain involved with curling under your head (and fitting right so that they don't lift the head too high and cause your air to be cut off, the curling could likely be taught with the right dog, but with a small dog is may cause too much pain, and with a larger dog might lift the head too much, so that will simply take some trial and error with training to see whether that's an option with the dog you choose - an item like a padded purse that you carry often, may be easier to teach. I would also add, teaching pup to go fetch help and bring them to you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Beethoven
Shih Tzu mix
4 Years
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Beethoven
Shih Tzu mix
4 Years

I have seizures and I think my dog knows

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there.

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Colt
Border Collie
3 Years
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Colt
Border Collie
3 Years

For the past 5 yrs I’ve been having random seizures. Thankfully at home or a friends house, but I never know when they’re coming, and doctors don’t know what causes them. I bought my border collie 2 yrs ago as a puppy and didn’t have any intentions on him becoming a service dog. But since they are so random and unpredictable I figured it would be helpful. I’m also pregnant so I think that increased the interest. Is there a way I could have him trained to be my seizure alert dog.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mackenzie, Check out the article linked below for some tips on how to train an alert, the different types of seizures that affect a dog's ability to alert ahead of time vs. simply get or offer help during one (some seizures can be detected ahead of time and others cannot - but a dog can still be trained to offer assistance during one and get help, even if alerting beforehand isn't an option). https://www.littleangelsservicedogs.org/seizure-alert-dogs/ I suggest contacting trainers in your city who offer private training and have worked on scent detection training for Service Dog work. A saliva sample taken right after a seizure will be needed to train a dog to detect the chemical change that takes place in some people's bodies right before a seizure, to teach an alert. The saliva sample can be taken by sucking on something cotton, like medical gauze, then placed it into a zip lock bag, then into a closed container and freezing it until you are ready to take it out of the freezer to use during a training session. These samples can often be used a few times before you will need a new sample. There is also a good online community of owner-trainer Service Dog handlers who train their own dogs. That might be a good resource to connect with others in your city who are working on teaching their dogs the same tasks, or to learn from others' training journey online. Instagram and Facebook both have a community of Service Dog owners. Youtube also has some resources, but I suggest sticking to videos put out by Service Dog Trainers mostly, since YouTube is so broad. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zeus
Border Collie
3 Years
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Zeus
Border Collie
3 Years

My husband has seizures that do not include gran Mal. He just spaced out. But towards the end he will pass out. I would like to train Zeus to alert neighbors when this happens outside when they go for a walk

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
225 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your best bet with this is to contact a trainer in your area for more information. Often, there are non-profit organizations that can help you with this, free of charge. You may have to do some digging, but they are out there. This is something that needs to be done one on one, in person.

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Bella
chihu
10 Months
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Bella
chihu
10 Months

I deal with seizures Bella will sit next to me but she doesn’t bark to warn my parents I have had one. She licks and beside me

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maria, Most dogs need to be taught to alert, but a dog who will stay with you and notice and provide support does show promise for teaching able to be taught how to also alert. There are different types of seizures. There are those that cause chemical changes in the body before the seizure is evident, and those that don't until the seizure is evident. What a dog can be trained to do partially depends on whether something happens in your body before the seizure is evident. If the seizure changes your chemistry before its evident, many dogs can be taught to alert before a seizure has begun. If your chemistry doesn't change until after the seizure is evident, then the dog can only be taught to alert people that one is actively happening to you. Training a dog to alert before one is evident when your body chemistry changes, is often done by taking saliva samples right after a seizure and teaching pup to perform an alert like barking whenever they smell a saliva sample taken after a seizure, opposed to your normal daily saliva samples pup is taught not to alert to. If your body chemistry doesn't change, or if you want to train pup to also alert when one is actively happening - like to get help, then you can either teach pup to alert with a saliva scent sample or by pretending to have a seizure. Pup is taught an alert on cue, like Barking when you say speak. Then you act out the seizure while saying "Speak", and practice it until pup will bark before you say Speak, when you just pretend to have the seizure. For scent detection, pup is taught an alert on cue like Speak, then pup is given that command when they sniff the seizure saliva sample, practicing until pup will Speak when they sniff the sample before you say Speak. There is a lot of practice then helping pup be able to do it reliably and only when the sample or situation mimics a seizure, and not at other times. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Unknown
1 Month
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...
Unknown
1 Month

My daughter (almost 4 years old) was diagnosed with seizures finally. She has them about every other night and we feel confident that we could at least start to train a dog to alert us for seizures. I've been looking into different breeds but keep getting mixed answers. We need a dog good with young kids, other pets, and preferably hypoallergenic. German Shepards and labs mess with my husband's allergies. We currently have 2 pitbull mixes and we would love to train them. But unfortunately, they are both nearing the end of their lives and don't care much to learn any new training. Any recommendations for a breed that would fit well for our family and any training tips are greatly appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natasha, Goldendoodles, labradoodles, and poodles are often used for those who are sensitize to dogs. For scent detection you want something with a decent nose, trainability, and it doesn't necessarily need to be a huge dog, although it can be. Poodle crosses can still shed. It will depend on the individual and how many generations that the dog has been breed with that type of hair consistently, so pay attention to the individual puppy's hair to make sure they inherited that trait, as well as how consistently the parents have hair instead of fur. Temperament is also largely inherited so parents with a history of producing other service dogs, therapy dogs, or emotional support animals, or with those qualifications themselves can help you know what some of the puppies may inherit. Poodles will be the smallest option if you choose that size and be the least likely to shed, but they can have a lot of energy and a smaller dog can be less patient with kids. A labradoodle can be a good option but often is a bit higher in energy too. A goldendoodle with the right temperament inherited from mom and dad is often the most kid friendly choice, but you will want to make sure the one you choose is well bred temperament wise, and that doesn't shed. Also, be aware that most people are actually allergic to the dander or saliva on the dog's fur, not always the fur itself, so there can still be some allergic reaction, but the saliva and dander tends to be spread most from pup's fur so a non-shedding trait often helps because there is less spread, not because the person isn't allergic to that dog at all. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zeus
Pit bull
3 Years
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Zeus
Pit bull
3 Years

I'm trying to figure out how to get my out trained as a service dog for epilepsy.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kaitlynn, There are different types of seizures. There are those that cause chemical changes in the body before the seizure is evident, and those that don't until the seizure is evident. What a dog can be trained to do partially depends on whether something happens in your body before the seizure is evident. If the seizure changes your chemistry before its evident, many dogs can be taught to alert before a seizure has begun. If your chemistry doesn't change until after the seizure is evident, then the dog can only be taught to alert people that one is actively happening to you. Training a dog to alert before one is evident when your body chemistry changes, is often done by taking saliva samples right after a seizure and teaching pup to perform an alert like barking whenever they smell a saliva sample taken after a seizure, opposed to your normal daily saliva samples pup is taught not to alert to. If your body chemistry doesn't change, or if you want to train pup to also alert when one is actively happening - like to get help, then you can either teach pup to alert with a saliva scent sample or by pretending to have a seizure. Pup is taught an alert on cue, like barking when you say Speak. Then you act out the seizure while saying "Speak", and practice it until pup will bark before you say Speak, when you just pretend to have the seizure. For scent detection, pup is taught an alert on cue like Speak, then pup is given that command when they sniff the seizure saliva sample, practicing until pup will Speak when they sniff the sample before you say Speak. There is a lot of practice then, helping pup be able to do it reliably and only when the sample or situation mimics a seizure, and not at other times. In addition to the alert, pup can also be taught to "Go Find" help and bring that person back to you. Pup will also need to have general manners for public access to come with you places. This means working on pups general obedience, socialization, and manners, so that pup can go places, get along well with everyone, and be well mannered enough not to disturb others. Joining a Canine Good Citizen or Intermediate obedience class is a good way to work on those things. How is pup around kids, various ages, races, and personalities of people, new objects, noises, other animals? Pup needs to be able to be calm and not distracted by those things. To qualify as a Service Dog, a dog needs to be well mannered in public as mentioned above, and be able to perform at least one specialized task that directly assists with the medical or psychological condition they are trained to help with, like alerting you of an on coming seizure, or going for help when you are having one. The person also has to have a doctor approved medical or psychological condition that qualifies, like epilepsy. For now, I suggest starting with pup's public access - with socialization, manners, and obedience. You can work on task training at the same time if you have time, but obedience and socialization is often more time sensitive. While doing that, you can certainly reward pup's natural alerts right now to further encourage them. In the United States there is no official certification required for a dog to pass as a Service Dog. A qualifying medical or psychological condition, great behavior while in public, and at least one task that directly helps with your condition is all that is required. Carrying a copy of ADA law regarding service dogs, pup's vet papers, a note from your doctor simply stating your need for a service dog (you don't have to disclose what condition you need help with to anyone), and a vest for pup letting people know pup is a working service dog can help people allow pup into places more easily though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ayesha
Golden retriver german sheapard
4 Months
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Ayesha
Golden retriver german sheapard
4 Months

New to training dogs need to know how to train Ayesha for my seizures I do not have that many anymore because of medication but once or twice a month I do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
833 Dog owners recommended

Hello Victor, There are different types of seizures. There are those that cause chemical changes in the body before the seizure is evident, and those that don't until the seizure is evident. What a dog can be trained to do partially depends on whether something happens in your body before the seizure is evident. If the seizure changes your chemistry before its evident, many dogs can be taught to alert before a seizure has begun. If your chemistry doesn't change until after the seizure is evident, then the dog can only be taught to alert other people that one is actively happening to you. Training a dog to alert before one is evident when your body chemistry changes, is often done by taking saliva samples right after a seizure and teaching pup to perform an alert like barking whenever they smell a saliva sample taken after a seizure, opposed to your normal daily saliva samples pup is taught not to alert to. If your body chemistry doesn't change, or if you want to train pup to also alert when one is actively happening - like to get help, then you can either teach pup to alert with a saliva scent sample or by pretending to have a seizure. Pup is taught an alert on cue, like Barking when you say speak. Then you act out the seizure while saying "Speak", and practice it until pup will bark before you say Speak, when you just pretend to have the seizure. For scent detection, pup is taught an alert on cue like Speak, then pup is given that command when they sniff the seizure saliva sample, rewarding when they Speak, and practicing until pup will Speak when they sniff the sample before you say Speak. There is a lot of practice then, helping pup be able to do it reliably, and then around distractions too and only when the sample or situation mimics a seizure, and not at other times. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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