Dogs make incredible friends. Their constant companionship can be a source of joy and comfort. However, they are also intelligent animals that can perform tasks very well. If you suffer from a health condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, a service dog can improve your quality of life. Unfortunately, service dogs can be prohibitively expensive, and there may even be a waiting list to obtain one. If you would like a service dog, you also have the option of raising one yourself. Here are three steps you can follow to raise your own medical alert service dog:
1. Talk to your doctor about your desire for a service dog.
When you decide you want a service dog, you should talk to your doctor about your plans. They can help you decide if a service dog will benefit your condition. Service dogs can let you know when your blood sugar reaches unhealthy levels so you can take your medication. They can also help to keep you safe in the event of a seizure, either by giving you advance notice so you can lie down or by protecting you using their body.
2. Choose a dog from a reputable breeder.
All dogs can make loving companions, but it takes a special kind of dog to be a service animal. Service dogs must be calm, intelligent, and able to follow directions. They must be able to do their job and alert you of a health crisis, even in the midst of distractions. In order to raise a service dog, you should adopt a puppy from one of the breeds traditionally raised for such work. Golden retrievers, German shepherds, and Labradors all make fine service dogs.
3. Start your dog's training when they are a puppy.
While you may be able to teach your dog basic obedience commands and tricks on your own, service dog training is much more complex. It's best if you contact a medical alert service dog training service. A skilled professional will work with your dog to teach it the behaviors it will need to be an effective medical alert dog. In some cases, the training service may want to train your dog exclusively at their facility for a period of time. This will allow your dog to learn without distractions. Eventually, they will include you in the training sessions since you need to learn how to handle your service dog.