Wednesday, June 18, 2014

D.A.D experience/survival 101

If you're reading this, I hope it's to help someone else who is struggling or seeking this possibility out for their family. A LOT of people have excellent DAD experiences, so please take this with a grain of salt!

This is an industry with a learning curve; and in which things change, as our experiences, knowledge and networking change and assist us.

  • Be a critic. You should be. There are too many scams out there. 
  • Listen, but don't own something unless you are one degree away from it. There are too many rumors!
  • Keep an open mind. One way is not THE WAY. Not in this industry.
  • Pictures say 1,000 words, for the moment they are taken, and from whatever perspective desires to be conveyed through them.
  • Think big picture. Tunnel vision has it's downfalls...
  • Stay open to feedback, but in the end, know your way and move ahead in it with confidence.
  • Keep your emotions in check. This is a life-threatening disease, so try to not hand over even a DOLLAR until  you see and sign a CONTRACT.
  • Don't be offended by the truth when you read or hear it.
  • Beware of the "D.A.D know it all's," -The ones who always have something to say...the ones who always refute what is said, the ones who have been burned, ripped off, "scammed"...
I only know that last one listed just now because I was one. I wanted to SHARE, educate, help with awareness. There's strength and a weakness in that... especially if I'm WRONG (sp? What's that word mean, exactly? -jk) 

Read from everyplace, but don't take any one perspective as gospel. Be smart, do what makes SENSE. 

How to not end up with an expensive pet click HERE
How do I avoid a scam? What is a scam, anyways? 

  • Your definition of a SCAM may be different than someone else's. 

    1. Your organization does not follow up training after giving you your dog... = "I got scammed."
    2. You did not receive a contract ever, never, no where. = "I got scammed."
    3. 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."
    4. 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.

    The above from article "you have permission to get scammed" click HERE.

    CONTRACT. If you didn't click the link above here it is again. You cannot control the outcome of your DAD experience through money. Giving money means NOTHING unless a contract that is signed by both parties states so. Otherwise, you are just an easy target for manipulative people. Getting smart after the fact doesn't accomplish much, so PROTECT yourself before you even begin. 

    Have patience. I know you want a cure, but a dog is added management, that poops and eats and needs attention. No where close to a cure. Life saving? Maybe. Be careful of your expectations. Dogs are reliable but they miss moments, they make mistakes; just like we do. D.AD.s are dogs, too.

    Above all, you must eventually be the dog trainer, as you will be the handler. Your DAD is only gonna be as good as you are.
    My best to you. Keep me posted in comments!

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Our diabetic alert dog is like a psychic meter; definitely not his pancreas.

    If you expect a diabetic alert dog to be an organ, you're not getting it. I expect readers here to at least realize that much...a diabetic alert dog is a TOOL for your health, not a replacement.

    Most of us expect the technology to rule above all else (common sense)...even the dog.

    Dogs are reliable. They are sensitive, and alert-capable once trained. They WILL miss alerts, but over-all, I've come to find that the RIGHT dog, will not miss less than 85-95% of blood sugar out of range moments...

    In my humble opinion, I think that how we train these dogs, and what we are looking for, MATTERS.

    My son's trainer is married. Her partner is not diabetic, but suffers a pancreatic disorder that causes her to suffer low blood sugar moments; therefore, our D.A.D (diabetic alert dog) has "real time" moments in the home he is training at.

    The trainer and I had a significant conversation recently. It included the fact that most DAD trainers don't reward until under 80. Even dogs I/we know of that aren't "rewarded" until under 80, are clearly stir-crazy until...

    Diabetes doesn't "self-correct." So we must consider, in all logic, that since dogs are NOT truly hypoglycemic aware, and ONLY alert to the "x-factor", (thank you Debby Kay), that is within the rise and fall of normal range; THAT is where the reward should never fail and keep on!

    It wasn't until our fourth visit or so, that it hit me. My son's DAD alerted ME to a low B.S. (blood sugar) of 58. I am not diabetic, but I suffer hypoglycemia. I have a meter, just like my son. So I took my BS 5-6 times as if it were a pregnancy test; I couldn't believe it! One out of the 6 times I checked was completely messed up. It put me in range though I wasn't.

    Sometimes when my son tests significantly out of range, we have him test AGAIN. And I recently calibrated our son's meter (with liquid given with the technology to help it perform accurately).

    Overall, I believe his D.A.D is his "natural" meter. This little guy FLINT knows the FALL, not the number. He knows when Sean is going lower and declining, which is what matters to us.

    Sean can't play rugby under 130 and "Flint," his D.A.D, alerts under 100. Some of the best DAD's we've trained with and from other organizations, alert under the "100" number. There's something to it...

    How do you feel about all this? Comment below!