Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You have permission to get scammed...

Sorry friend. But %*it happens. To the best of us. And when it does...

It kind of hits ya' like this scene in "Grown Ups"

With the growing trend of diabetics seeking the assistance of service animals, dog trainers (certified or not) are rising to the occasion to help! This is wonderful news, except due to our circumstances, we might believe anything if we aren't savvy enough to this "industry"... 

So many organizations have been established now, that some, (with less integrity), know the tricks before we ever could. And like these guys pictured above, they KNOW WHO THEY ARE, sitting in the pool (thinking they are being sneaky), peeing together. Making a mess around OUR KIDS. SHAME ON THAT! It's not my position to cry out names and point.  Only to help educate YOU along the way...
(if only they turned BLUE!)

"DO YOUR RESEARCH", you say? Thanks... oh so not helpful.
  • Your definition of a SCAM may be different than someone else's. 

  1. You may not get a mature/"finished" dog as expected (ps- community, let's rename that "finished dog" nonsense to "prepared", can I get an AMEN?) = "I got scammed."
  2. Your organization does not follow up training after giving you your dog... = "I got scammed."
  3. You did not receive a contract ever, never, no where. = "I got scammed."
  4. Through research you discover nothing really makes any dog trainer more "certified" than the next, and your DADs don't even require registration/certification, NOT EVEN THEIR VESTS!= "I got scammed."
  5. You thought getting a DAD was a certain thing, come to experience it's another... = "I got scammed."
Let me reassure you, there are high functioning, quality organizations that have done ALL OF THE ABOVE, and continue producing DADs and happy clients. They are tooting their horn and have their happy clients singing their praises again and again all over social media.

  • know what kind of DAD you are getting and time frame it's going to take
  • expect to need follow up care and resources for that
  • READ READ READ up on this subject of "diabetic alert dogs" (yes, of course I'm suggesting you peruse my blog! DUH!)
put it all ON PAPER....CONTRACT.

Here are some (randomly organized) MAIN CONSIDERATIONS when wanting a DAD....

  • DOES it matter if the dog comes from a shelter or breeder?
  1. Some believe papers matter, the breeder matters,  or "Scent Imprinting" matters... Does it matter to you?
  1. If you go with an organization, they can charge from 6,000-20,000, depending... (make sure you get a CAP on that cost!)... and they will encourage you to fundraise. (and you CAN!)
  2. Some places are given donated dogs from breeders, etc. and pass that savings on to you and SHOULD be charging you for their expertise or by the hour (if you are hiring a trainer to work with you). You might look at it this way: when the price goes into the thousands and thousands AND SUDDENLY YOU FEEL UNEASY ABOUT IT = scam alert. You will be told good reason, & it's your decision to believe it or not. 
  3. A well established organization has many dogs in their puppy raising program, and are not short handed. With a trainer, if you self raise a puppy, you hand pick (with that trainer) the breed and dog...
  4. There are no "Custom Dogs" to you or your family life. But there are considerations.  A "dog fitting to your diabetic's personality", etc has some desireable factors, but consider that a service dog is trained to serve its purpose. Period. Regardless of you or your circumstance/age/race/religion. How to "get a dog"...
  • CAN YOU HANDLE THE WAIT?! There may be a wait list because of supply and demand issues. 
  1. Dogs in this industry can start very young and can be trained in their first year, but the OBEDIENCE and PUBLIC ACCESS are the main goals of ANY SERVICE DOG their very first year. That's one year down. What to expect...when you're expecting.
  2. Next comes the training in the second year. Consistent scent training.  ARE YOU & your organization prepared for more than one dog as a potential "Furever friend"? Is there an established "back up plan" if you think your dog "breaks"...? What you hoped for over a year (if focusing on ONE dog) just may BOMB and a good trainer knows that possibility. Detach from the emotional aspect, it can totally mess you over! 
  3. Are YOU ready to work, too?  (giving low sugar scent samples, training, etc). TOP 5 reasons DADs turn into expensive pets!
  4. The dogs are "trained to alert to lows AND highs"? Now with these dogs, alerting to highs comes NATURALLY. So the focus is driven for trainers to scent train and reward LOWS in the beginning stages. Consider carefully all the excitement and advertisement over a dog alerting to a high... (there are well known legit trainers that believe in training all THREE ranges...Normal, low and high. So just make sure you are understanding there is significance to training highs, but initial focus REALLY SHOULD BE On LOWS.)
  5. Do you keep hearing terms like "Life Saving Companion"...or "Smells the low blood sugar". RUN or Re-educate your provider. You are your child's life preserver. And these dogs are NOT smelling blood sugar. We don't know exactly what they are smelling, but it is NOT DEFINED. Research rules out Blood Sugar link HERE
WHY DO YOU WANT ONE? If you can't answer this and haven't read these 4 simple points, don't do it!

However you decide to begin or get others involved, BEWARE of going at it like little Miss Veruca Salt here: 

We all know what happened to her


Or you may turn BLUE, too ;) -jk.

Don't forget the basics! HERE's DAD 101

You hate me coz I wrote this. It's ok, you're not alone.

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