I wanted to talk about service dogs. The good, the bad and the unexpected. Here’s the reason why. I am a T1D. Dx approx five yrs ago. I had a self appointed dog who did amazing things for me and I lost him several months ago unexpectedly. It wasn’t till then that I realized the influence he made on my life with diabetes.
I have since then acquired another dog and am in the process of training him. I have close to fourth yrs of dog training experience, mainly in show and obedience. I do have friends (trainers)who will help with the formal portion of getting him properly conditioned to respond correctly to highs and lows with appropriate signals.
The dog I acquired is a 2 yr old show champion GSD. I have owned, bred, shown and trained them pretty much all my life.
Since I got him he has amazed me with his intelligence and instinctual responses to me.
To keep him enthusiastic about working I am slowly working regulation( competitive ) obedience. I figure might as well put another title on him thru AKC.
Here is the part that is amazing me about this dog. I have done no formal scent work at all. Other than when my CGM goes off to have him sniff me, just to get him used to scenting me. I had a big crash the other day. One that just wouldn’t quit. Due to that I went from a low of 31 to over 225 after I over corrected to try and stop the low. While I was low, my wife kept him away, because he gets too excited when I don’t pay attention to him and he’s still very puppyish in nature. He watched my low and me coming back to normal and then going real high from the after affects of too much sugar.
We had errands to run and while we stopped to talk with a friend, he did something he has not been trained to do yet. He stood on his hind legs and gently placed his forelegs on my arm and stood ther looking at me. My CGM went off a few minutes later saying I was over 200. During our visit, he repeated this four times, each time a minute or two before my alarm. I commented to my wife, I think he’s alerting me. But did not think too much more about it. Today because of yesterday’s roller coaster ride I remained kinda high and after I ate lunch, I spiked again, but only to 191 and he did the same thing again! No alarm, but same signal and I was high, I checked and felt it. He has never been taught anything about alerting to me or anyone else. Normally I drop low very fast and he’s used to that, me stopping what I’m doing and getting something to eat/ drink to correct the low. He does respond to the alarm and sniffs me up and down. I admitt that I have fostered that, but just to get him used to alerting In the future.
His attitude changes when I’m low, he slows down and listens to me more intently.
That’s the part of all this that has amazed me, without training, he’s already doing the job fairly well. Has anyone else had experiences like this? I’m curious as to if this is common from living with a T1D or if he is just instinctually alerting to my odors that I give off.
But anyway I would love to hear your stories of animal responses, with or without training.