Monday, November 4, 2013

Your DAD is only as good as you are.

Ever get a FANTASTIC hair cut and fear going home and styling it yourself the next day?
So you:

  • Buy the products
  • Swear to memorize the technique
  • ... inevitably end up going as long as possible without a wash because you know it's not gonna happen.
How this relates to Diabetic Alert dogs:
You hire a trainer. Their skill is at its best. And then real life comes into play. The dog becomes yours, the environment alters, and the handler changes as well. So does the level of professionalism and skill. 

SO LEARN. Many successful teams go at it themselves. (Handlers self-taught, and now have a successful DAD). Some leave it up to "the pros" and give thousands to organizations. There are even those hoping to walk away with "robots" (ahem* please read ---->DADS are Dogs, too!)

At the end of the day, and as any professional will honestly tell you:
  • They are dogs, afterall
  • They will make mistakes
  • No amount of training will undo "the dog thing" in every one of them.
  • The permanent handler has a lot of consistent maintenance training. For the lifetime of the working DAD.
Become the hair-stylist or make sure you explicitly trust and understand the trainer/organization you are with. Look for the "4 C's":
  1. Credibility 
  2. Competency
  3. Chemistry
  4. Character (takes the longest to get to know, but is most important!)
  5. INTEGRITY (yea, I know I threw that in there!)
Don't get seduced. 
Impressive results do NOT equal character!
Character + skills carry WEIGHT.
Honesty is strength. 
  • Review their contract before "getting in" via application or finances
  • In their contract look for the place they are protecting themselves from your ability to get sue-happy should there be a devastating situation with your T1 while being in possession of one of their DADs...*
  • Ask about protocol/look for info in contract on if your DAD should arrive ill (it happens), need vet service, or  need surgery/meds for life, etc. Think of what options would suit you...
  • Think about the longevity of your DAD. How many years will you get from your working dog before retiring it as a pet? Will you bring in another dog? Will you insure your DAD via means other than pet insurance...?
*(as much as I care about protecting consumers via education/info on DADs I also care about the future of organizations providing them)
What other insight do you as consumers and trainers/organizations have for us to consider? Do you cover these above issues with your clients? Please comment below!

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