Frequently Asked Questions
What is a diabetic alert dog?
A diabetic alert dog is a dog that uses his/her heightened sense of smell to detect changes in the scent of a diabetic individual’s saliva to detect movements in their blood glucose levels. If significant movement in BG is detected, they will alert the individual (or their handler) that some action is needed.
How are they trained?
Our diabetic alert dogs are trained by using scent training, similar to the process used to train dogs that detect narcotics/explosives. They are also trained in public access and obedience. All of our DADs are trained and housed in home environment throughout the training process. All diabetic alert dogs will be trained in specific "real life" situations.
What is a night alert?
A night alert is when a diabetic alert dog wakes his handler up when he detects a change in their blood sugar. Our DADs are all trained specifically on night alerts.
How are your diabetic alert dogs selected?
Using the information from the application as well as phone conversations, we get a good idea of the best dog for each individual’s needs. We sort through dogs in a large number of rescues, shelters, and humane societies to find the right match for each applicant. Dogs are selected based on age, temperament, food motivations, nose, and size, as well as other requested attributes (such as coat and breed/mix) when possible.
How will my diabetic alert dog alert?
The standard alert taught for our diabetic alert dogs is a bump to the hand using the dog’s nose. This is used because it is quiet, it is subtle, and it does not require other tools (bells, bringsels, etc.). This works well for adults and most children over the age of 10-12. We have used other methods, such as doorbells, based on the specific needs of the applicant and for younger children.
What does a diabetic alert dog cost?
Diabetic Alert Dogs have traditionally required a significant investment of about $20,000. However, due to a different, but proven, approach to scent training and obedience training, we are able to offer a DAD at a more affordable price of $8,500.
How long will I have to wait?
After we locate the correct dog for you from our large network of shelters and rescues, the dog’s training time will be about of 3-4 months (depending on the needs of the dog). We do have a waiting list. The length of time you will be waiting for your dog from application to hand off will vary based on the number of applicants that may be in the process and your specific requirements. Due to high demand for our DADs and our more intimate training approach, our waiting list time (from deposit to hand off) is generally around 9-12 months.
What experience does your company have in dog training?
Heads Up Hounds staff has been training Diabetic Alert Dogs for 4 years (as of fall 2017) and we have over 100 working teams in place all across the US. Additionally, our staff has well over twenty years of experience working with shelter and rescue organizations in a variety of roles.
How will the dogs be certified/registered?
Currently, ADA laws do not require certification or registry of service dogs. Our dogs will come with a vest and a photo ID card that has ADA laws printed on the back side of it.