4 Paws For Ability
Seizure Assistance Dogs With Facilitated Alert Training (Seizure Alert Dogs)
Some people refer to dogs assisting during seizures as seizure alert dogs. In other words, they are saying that the dog actually sense when a seizure is about to occur and warn the person of the oncoming seizure. It is believed that the dogs are able to smell chemical changes in the body several minutes before the seizure occurs. Often the dog will develop a behavioral pattern that the owner recognizes, as alerting to a seizure is going to occur. The person can then put themselves in a safe position before the seizure starts.
Some seizures cause the person to lose consciousness immediately, and-if they are standing up- they will fall to the ground. Once alerted, the person can lie down so that he is not injured during the seizure. Many believe that this behavior cannot be trained and to a degree at this time, they are correct. It is difficult to work with the scent from the seizure.
In addition, not all dogs seem to have the ability to alert seizures. Some dogs do it with no training at all and some can be around daily seizures and never develop any behavior in response to it at all. It is difficult to determine which dogs might respond and which may not.
Seizure alerting behavior is a naturally occurring behavior in some dogs. One way to explain how this works, is to discuss housebreaking. When you bring a new puppy home, you can't say to the puppy, "When you have to go outside, run in a circle three times so I will know you need to go."
What we do is to watch the puppy closely, after a period of time the person will learn to "read" the dog's nonverbal behavior, indicating the need to go outside. For instance, the owner begins to notice that every time the puppy runs in circles, they then proceed to "Go potty."
|May 2008. Note from the Trey Taylor Family regarding seizure service dog, Promise: "Had to tell you what happened this morning. Trey had a Grand Mal seizure at 7:30 am today...Promise went nuts, barking and barking till Dell woke up! This is what we dreamed would happen when we started this whole experience a year ago. My heart belongs to PROMISE for this wonderful day. Karen and Jeremy: The Taylors can't thank you enough for giving us PROMISE! WE LOVE YOU!"...Tammy Taylor ~ Deputy, Indiana.|
Eventually, the owner will let the puppy outside immediately after observing this behavior and no further accidents occur in the home. This is the same principle as understanding how dogs alert to seizures. If the dog is able to make the connection between the chemical changes he senses and the occurrence of seizures, he may begin to act in a certain way when these changes begin.
For example, they may come and stare at the owner, or they may begin barking and/or even nipping at their owners. Eventually people who seize realize that every time their dog barks madly and nips at them they will have a seizure and they will begin to prepare themselves for the seizure before it actually starts.
The one thing scientists have been able to come to an agreement on is that the dog smells a chemical body change on the person just prior to and during a seizure. We have developed a program here at 4 Paws to work with some children who have very frequent, obvious seizures. We have seen some great success with this training and have noticed that more dogs begin to alert the seizures with the training than without.
Without going into training details, we are able to do the training if the child has frequent seizures. For us frequent means three to four a month on a regular basis. We work with the dog here to facilitate a natural response after the dog is placed. While it still does not guarantee the response, it greatly increases it if used in conjunction with a skill trained as a part of the behavior disruption in which the dog is trained to interact with the child in a specific manner on parent command.Note: There are many service dog programs that work with teens and adults in the placement of Seizure Assistance Dogs but very few that work with children. We are the only agency we know of that has no age requirement at all.
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4 Paws For Ability
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385