I just wanted to let everyone know a little bit about how service dogs work. I have found the majority of people do not know, and everyone thinks I am a trainer because I do not look sick. You do not need to look sick to require a service dog, you need to be disabled, but so many disabilities are not seen.

I had gotten my dog from the pound. The likelyhood of a dog from the pound passing as a service dog is not high, it is actually low, but it does happen. A service dog must pass a health test, behavior test, training, how they behave in the public and so on. A service dog can never be taught to alert you before you get ill, not all dog's know how. It is just something that happens, and only some can learn, or teach themselves. Service dog organizations use breeds that have been bred by previous service dogs that worked, and hope the new dog will alert you. All they teach the dog is how to help you if you are sick.

For instance a seizure dog is taught to lay you on your side after the seizure in case you vomit and can be taught to call 911, among other things. My dog is taught to "go get" my meds, a person by name, or anyone, things that will help with my life threatning allergy. When an attack comes on my blood pressure drops and I can not stand up or I will pass out, so I have a voice and hand signals to give if I can't breathe to go get my meds. My dog was not taught to alert me. Once we knew he knew we trained him, we taught him how to tell me.

I found out he knew by the fact he was terrified for me and would not leave me alone, then he grabbed my Epi-pen and gave it to me once, he had been watching what I do to recover. Next I had to hide all the Epi-pens so he would not get hurt. So one day when I had left and come back he got a box of Benadryl from my bedroom, shredded the box, took out the aluminum capletes and put them right at the front door for me to step on when I walked in. So it was clear he knew, his complete training took only two months tops.

Spirit may take a few years training as most dogs do. The way the small amount of dog know how to alert you has a lot to do with your strong bond, and the dog always at your side. When ever anyone has a metabulism change, seizure, diabetic sugar levels, migrains, Parkinsons, Fibromyalgia, almost anything, they can alert you. For me my main metabulism change is a blood pressure drop and then shock. So when my BP drops, even before I know my body puts off a very slight scent. Only some dogs can detect it, like cancer sniffing dogs, not all dogs can do it. So a lot of service dogs come about from watching the owners get sick, they observe this, then try and help them. That is where all the big rescue stories come from. So any metabolic change in your body puts off a small order and then the dog alerts you, my dog puts his paw on my leg.

I was real sick once. my sister came towatch me. She did not look like she felt good. I heard her keep asking Rusty what he wanted, I asked her what was wrong? He was pawing her. I asked her if she had a headache? She said she was just getting a horrible aura and horrible pain. I said take your meds now, he is alerting you. I also get migraines. The first time he alerted me for a migraine I was confused on what he was doing. Because he was using BOTH paws! I thought what are you trying to tell me? Then I got the headache, so now I understand.

I hope this helps everyone a little. If you see someone with a service dog it does not mean they are blind or deaf. They can have one of so many hidden disorders. About 99% of people approach me thinking I am training my dog. Even though his jacket says "I am working" it does not say he is training.

So many people are facinated by it, most people are fine if you ask if they have a working service dog. Some do not like to tell their disorder, I do not mind educating people.

I just wanted to educate, hope it was not too long!


I will include an attatchement of a news press story from a couple of years ago.

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Kara, Thanks for sharing your knowledge and education on service dogs.. They are truly amazing. You have had such a great gift in Rusty. Especially since he was a pound dog. Many dogs are rescued and do such grat things. My Rusty was also a rescue dog who is not a service dog but a real smart little guy. I also suffer form migraine headsches and he will not leave my side when I'm down with one. Also when I take off my prosthetic he will put his paws and head on my stump and looks at me with his adoring eye.. He is just and ordinary dog with knowledge of a service dog training. But very intoned with me. He walks at a slower pace with me than he dose my husband.

Thanks for the knowledge and education on service dogs. Your Rusty is surley blessed and are you to have found each other.

If your dog is aware of your headaches, or just staying with you if you are down, you should try and observe it a little more closely. If Rusty acts up just before one of your migraines you can easily train him to alert you. He does not need to become a full service dog, but can be of a huge help to you. As with migraines the earlier you take the migraine prevention meds, the better the relief!

Let me know if you think your dog actually sences your issues. I can give some tips. I trained Rusty with a friend of mine who is a dog trainer. She told me what to do, and I did the work, got lots of books and video's, it was so easy!

Oh yes I take relpax for the migraines. The other prevention meds did not help and created other issues. My Rusty is a good boy keeps a close eye on me and he aslways has. I do pay attention to his "telling me" he is very intoned to me and he was all over me wanted love and pets he was snuggling along with pacing...A hour later I received a phone call that my Uncle died who I was very close with..I truly believe rusty was warning me.
I felt the same about my Rusty. When he brought me the meds from the other room it was so clear! So my trainer wanted to allow me to understand what "he" is telling me. He already knew, I was the dumb one not knowing for sure. So we found a way to teach him to "paw" me for communication. I often cough real bad at the start of an attact. So this is what we used to try and teach him to "alert" me. I would fake cough, he waould "paw" me and get treated. Somehow in the process he learned or understood what why were trying to do. He pawed me when I coughed, but only when sick. He would often run up to me if I coughed and smell my breathe, then walk away. I was concerned about the silent attacks, or attacks at night. My husband had just been in the hospital that I can not even enter due to my latex. He came home after one night but was very tired. I was very concerned about teaching Rusty to wake me in case my husband did not hear me. That night I woke with deep clwas in my chest digging and digging. I guess it took a lot to wake me, I was hardly getting any air and the sound woke Rusty. I could barely wake my husband for help, but was able too and he gave me meds.

If you read the attatchment you will see he learned that the training was for attacks. He alerted me with no coughing, and no symptoms like in the story. That is how he is now.

I would not know how to train your dog to alert you for headaches. Maybe if he is acting up at the start of a headache give him huge praise and encouragement. If you want let me know and I will ask my trainer for you on how you can do it.

I have been trying to read the attachment with no luck..I hope I can open it I'll try again. All in all dogs are truly amazing a nd one of god's creatures he has blessed us with these beautiful animals.


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