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 Husky as Alert Dog?

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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Husky as Alert Dog?   Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:22 pm

So to explain, several years ago I was diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope. It causes my blood pressure to plummet when triggered, leading to fainting and non-epilepsy related seizing. It hadn't happened for awhile, but it's started happening more and more in the last few months. Normally I'm pretty good at avoiding triggers (eating right/often enough, getting enough sleep, not over exerting for long periods of time), but the other day it crept up on me a little bit differently.

I was sitting on the couch playing video games, and I had forgotten to eat since I had gotten up that morning. Normally I can feel the episodes coming on, because I will start to feel nauseous and my hands start to shake. If I don't correct whatever the trigger is (in this case not eating) I inevitably pass out.

This time, I was too absorbed in my gaming, and either didn't notice the warning signs, or they didn't show up at all. All of a sudden, Gaia, who had been quietly gnawing on her bone, starts barking with this really loud, sharp high pitched bark and staring at me very intently. I told her to "Shh," and she jumped up and started spinning in circles and yapping louder. I thought maybe she needed to go outside, so I stood up to grab her leash, and passed out.

Next thing I know, I'm waking up on the floor, and Gaia is frantically licking my face. The dizziness did not subside for quite awhile, so I laid on the floor for a bit and Gaia laid down in front of me and just watched me for awhile, and whining occasionally. When I finally stood up, she walked off, plopped down, and resumed gnawing her bone.

I have a couple questions to anyone who might have any input. First, do you think she sensed the drop in blood pressure before I did? She has not had any training and I don't know how she knew to alert/lick my face.

Second question is, do you think it's worth trying to get her trained as a service dog? Is that something I can do myself?

Third, do you think it would be worth it if so? I don't faint all that often, maybe once a week, or less, but it would certainly be handy to have her there to alert me so I can curl up somewhere and wait for it to subside.


Last edited by Karu4Link on Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:51 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Husky as Alert Dog?   Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:13 pm

There are many things she could potentially sense, from the drop in blood pressure, change of heart rate or even body temperature. My mutt, keno, can tell when I'm about to pass out. I too have issues with blood pressure. He becomes concerned and nibbles at my fingers as if wanting to move me to a chair. He too has had no formal training but a dog knows what is your normal when you've had them a while and knows when things aren't normal.

If you have these episodes often, and I would think once a week would qualify, then it would be worth training her. Especially if these episodes can happen anywhere such as in a car. With proper training she maybe able to help you enough to prevent a full on passing out episode. You will want to go through a trainer to get her certified as a service dog so you can take her with you wherever you need to, and to help with teaching her signals and aid her in zeroing in on the exact change she is looking for.

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Karu4Link
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Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Husky as Alert Dog?   Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:23 pm

Do you know where I might be able to find a suitable trainer? As she's still a puppy (roughly 6 months) we are currently taking her to the Petsmart obedience classes and are planning to work her way up to being able to pass the CGC test. But obviously it might be better to use someone who actually trains service dogs.
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Husky as Alert Dog?   Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:25 pm

There is a fantastic school here in Seattle called the Seattle Service Dog Academy, which is where I took Link to puppy classes.  

You can try emailing or calling them to ask for recommendations in your area.  If you contact them you'll be speaking with a woman named Mary, the head trainer and owner of the Academy.

www.servicedogacademy.com
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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Husky as Alert Dog?   Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:42 am

@seattlesibe wrote:
There is a fantastic school here in Seattle called the Seattle Service Dog Academy, which is where I took Link to puppy classes.  

You can try emailing or calling them to ask for recommendations in your area.  If you contact them you'll be speaking with a woman named Mary, the head trainer and owner of the Academy.

www.servicedogacademy.com

Thank you! I emailed them, as well as a trainer here in Fort Worth. They look like a great company. They charge $40 per session and estimate most of the learning can be done in around 12 sessions as long as we do our "homework" and practice assigned to us by the trainer in between sessions.

The trainer for our area appears well certified with a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on behavioral analysis, a minor in communications, and several certifications in Animal Training. So at least we know we will be in good hands!

They're booked until January though, and only take applications for training the first week of every month, and they are not accepting applications over the holidays. So it looks like the earliest we can start is January, if they accept our application, and our initial in-home assessment goes well.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Husky as Alert Dog?   Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:13 pm

Good luck. Definitely don't skimp on the homework. It makes all the difference.

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