What we're about
Type 1 diabetics interested in training their own alert dog with the guidance of a professional trainer.
Service Dog self training for autism, PTSD, anxiety, balance and other specific tasks.
Type 1 Diabetes Alert Dog (D.A.D.) Progression Training Program
Diabetes Alert Dogs (D.A.D.’s) are specially trained to detect dangerously low or high blood glucose events in a person. This is done by teaching the dog to detect and alert to significant blood glucose changes, generally below 70 and over 300 BGL. When the BGL drops, the chemical Isoprene rises, while undetectable by human, the scent can be smelled by dogs. When the BGL rises, they are detecting ketones in the body, which also effect the breath, giving off a sweet smell. It is much easier to teach the dogs to alert to highs than lows, because the odor is much more predominant. At A Canine Experience Inc., we work as a team with you and your endocrinologist to determine the appropriate levels.
Our Type 1 D.A.D. Progression Training Program is dedicated to meeting each individual’s unique needs. The application process is designed to predetermine specific provisions, assess viability of requests and develop a team strategy to reach goals.
To start the Type 1 D.A.D. Progression Training Program process, you must fill out the on-line application and submit it to us.
Upon acceptance of the application, we will contact you to set up a phone conference with your endocrinologist.
Following the phone conference, we will schedule a planning meeting to develop a training strategy including goals, action steps with a timeline, financing, choosing the right dog and other considerations.
If you have a dog you are considering as a D.A.D., we will schedule an evaluation to determine suitability.
Preferably, we work together to find a suitable dog capable of learning and performing essential tasks as determined in the application process. We consider breed traits, health, age, temperament and drive when choosing an appropriate dog.
Puppies from a trustworthy breeder give us opportunity to learn about the health and behavior of the ancestors, perform puppy temperament testing to evaluate tendencies, begin imprinting at a young age and provide early exposure to a variety of surfaces, sounds, sights, smells and stimuli. We only choose responsible breeders who administer standard health screenings, plus any additional testing recommended for the specific breed.
Selecting a puppy or adult dog from a rescue possesses additional challenges, but great dogs can come from these sources. Through temperament testing and health screening, we can often find healthy, suitable canines with in the rescue community. This process of selection can be very emotional because you must be prepared to turn down a dog if the health screening results aren’t good. The cost of any health exams, tests and screenings are the responsibility of the adopter and are non-refundable whether you choose to adopt or not.
Our D.A.D. Progression Training Program will consist of a combination of Boarding and Training in the home of one of our trainers, Private Lessons and Group Classes. Throughout the puppies early days, it will spend time with us during critical training phases and will return home with the owner to practice those skills. Private lessons and group classes will be incorporated to continue the progression. This training rotation will continue until the puppy has developed the required skills to perform reliably.
Frequently asked questions:
What considerations should be made before committing to a D.A.D.?
Dogs are a huge responsibility and take a considerable amount of time and money to care for and train properly. Does your schedule allow for the time needed to care for and train a dog?
Cost of a dog from a good breeder who performs all the proper health screenings for the breed, range from $1,600 - $3,800. Can you afford a well-bred, health certified puppy or put the time, money and effort into temperament and health tests for a rescue?
Even with screening and testing, health issues can arise. Will the breeder replace the puppy if there are health issues?
Can you afford vet expenses, food, supplements, training and the unexpected?
If you choose to look at rescues, are you emotionally and financially prepared to turn down a dog who doesn’t have good health screening results? Are you willing to risk paying for health screenings on multiple dogs to find the right one?
Dogs in public attract a lot of attention. Are you going to be comfortable with attention being drawn to you and telling people “No” when they want to pet your dog?
Do you need a D.A.D. for at home purposes only or for constant supervision?
Are you able to manage and care for a dog 24/7? In public? At the restaurant or store? At work? While visiting friends? On the bus? Getting in and out of car? In parking lots? While traveling? Flying? When it needs to eliminate? At appointments? In everyday life?
Who do you have that can care for your dog on short notice if you are hospitalized or during other emergency situations?
Who should consider a D.A.D.?
We specialize in training D.A.D.’s for Type 1 Diabetics who are hypoglycemic unaware. Some Type 1 Diabetics are capable of feeling a blood glucose event and their need for a D.A.D. is less than those who are unable to recognize the symptoms. For those who do not feel the shifts, a D.A.D. can be a very beneficial tool in managing the disease.
How long does it take to train a D.A.D.?
The amount of time will vary depending on the nature of the dog, the ability of the owner and the consistency of the training. On average, a D.A.D. undergoes about 1,600 hours of training divided between the trainer and the owner. The process generally takes about 2 years of intensive training plus ongoing maintenance. The training is never truly over, it is a depreciable skill that needs to be practice throughout the lifetime of the dog.
How much does it cost to train a D.A.D.?
The price can vary greatly. Our program is pay as you go, so the cost can be spread out making it more feasible on a budget. It allows you to determine the amount of training you do verses us, giving you more control over the overall cost. This method greatly reduces the cost over buying a fully trained D.A.D. for 25k-30k.
Our pricing is $100 per day while they are staying with us for boarding and training. The Board and Train portions will generally be a 2-3 week time frame done at key stages of the training. They will stay in the home of their trainer who will be working on house manners, traveling and public access in addition to the alert training. Private Lessons are $75 per hour at our facility or $125 off-site. Group classes are offered as a membership for $500 for 6 months or $100 per month after completion of first Board and Train segment.
Two samples of pricing below:
Family A has lots of time and committed to providing as much of the training as they can to cut costs. We helped choose an 8 week puppy, who stays with us for 3 weeks to begin the process at a cost of $2,100. The owner continues the training at home via phone support. They come in for two private lessons at a cost of $75 each, total of $150 before the next Board and Train segment. At 5-1/2 months, the puppy came for another 2 weeks of training to transition to alerting at a cost of $1,400. The owners continued the training and joined 6 month group training membership at $500. At one year, we did another 2 week Board and Train to really focus on public access at a cost of $1,400. Over the next year, we met for private lessons one time per month at a cost of $900. Spread out over two years, the cost of training is $6,450.
Family B is very busy and finances are less of a challenge. They understand they will not be able to dedicate enough time to the training, especially during the important early phases. We select an 8 week puppy who stays with us for 4 weeks Board and Train at a cost of $2,800. The puppy goes home for 2 months, then back for a month Board and Train at $2,800. We did this for the 1st 18 months for a total $16,800 on Board and Train segments and another $1,100 on private lessons for a total of $17,900.
Each situation is unique and we do our best to work within your means. This program allows the most flexibility and control over your finances. Of course, this does not consider the cost to purchase or care for the dog. Fundraising is also a good way to raise funds for your D.A.D. You can get a lot of support from local clubs, churches and communities. We will gladly support your fundraising efforts.
A Canine Experience Inc. is dedicated to helping Type 1 Diabetics who are hypoglycemic unaware as a priority, because they pose the greatest need. Once we have determined suitability, we do all we can to provide affordable options to obtain and train a life-saving D.A.D. After you’ve completed your research and determined a D.A.D. may be right for you, complete the on-line application to begin the process.
We look forward to helping you along your journey of life with a Diabetes Alert Dog (D.A.D.).