Addison's Disease Service Dog - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Addison's Disease Service Dog

Hi All!

I was looking into the possibility of training my youngest golden, Oliver, to be my service dog. I have addison's disease and therefore run the risk of going into adrenal crisis at any time. The severity of the condition varies greatly, from feeling unwell all the way to needing to go to the ER. I knew there were service dogs for individuals with diabetes who could detect low blood sugar. I didn't know there were dogs that could do this for my condition (detect drops in cortisol levels). I saw this video though:

BBC - Life saving dog is a world first

and it would be absolutely amazing if I could somehow train Oliver to do this for me. I know this isn't something I could train him to do myself, I'd need to work with someone who has experience with this kind of detection training. So to my questions...

How do I go about finding a trainer to assist me in this feat?
Is Oliver too old to be trained to do this (he is 18 months)?
What are the steps I need to take to have him be my service dog?
(I've read about Public Access Tests, needing approval from a doctor, CGC's etc). Oliver has his CGC (at 8 months) and we are pursuing competition obedience and hunt/field work.

This would be unbelievably amazing, but I have no idea how to accomplish it. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

ETA: Another Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u7RJ8kCu4s

Last edited by coaraujo; 01-27-2014 at 11:33 PM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 09:15 AM
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Hello, I am training my pup to be a service dog for my epileptic daughter. Her seizure are brought on by stress which I know is the same with Addisons disease, if he cannot detect your cortisone levels he could still be of service be keeping you calm. I have not had any issues bringing my 6 month old pup into stores, he actually was just down at the Mayo clinic with my daughter and was a rock star. It sound like his obedience is in check having his CGC etc. Maybe you can get him approved as am emotional support dog. Best of luck to you.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GRluver View Post
Hello, I am training my pup to be a service dog for my epileptic daughter. Her seizure are brought on by stress which I know is the same with Addisons disease, if he cannot detect your cortisone levels he could still be of service be keeping you calm. I have not had any issues bringing my 6 month old pup into stores, he actually was just down at the Mayo clinic with my daughter and was a rock star. It sound like his obedience is in check having his CGC etc. Maybe you can get him approved as am emotional support dog. Best of luck to you.
Thank you for your response! Are you working with a special trainer to train your pup? How are you going about training him to detect drops in cortisol levels?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 09:25 AM
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I work with a pro trainer but do all the work myself. I can ask her if she know if dogs can detect cortisone levels. She trains seizure alert, diabetic alert, autism etc. I will let you know when I hear back from her.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 09:47 AM
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Best of luck to both of you!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GRluver View Post
I work with a pro trainer but do all the work myself. I can ask her if she know if dogs can detect cortisone levels. She trains seizure alert, diabetic alert, autism etc. I will let you know when I hear back from her.
Thank you I really appreciate it, im going to meet with my obedience trainer and see if she can point me in the right direction. Would a good first step be to take him out to more public places? I was thinking of asking my professors if I can brimg him to class. Campus is always bustling so I think itd be great exposure for him. Im just nervous about what to do if he acts up (like barks or somethimg)

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update, I found this training center in MA - only 1.5 hours from my current apartment. Could be a possibility. Emailed them today, Fingers crossed.

Diggity Dogs | In Dogs We Trust |
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 09:57 AM
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That school looks really good. If you need more resources, there is a Guiding Eyes facility near me in Patterson, NY https://www.guidingeyes.org/
I don't know if they offer the type of training you're looking for, but they may be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 10:11 AM
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Please keep us posted on Oliver's training.

Tucker, Tonka, and Karen

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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I got an email back from the training facility "In Dogs We Trust"

They said they haven't ever trained dogs for Addison's disease, but they would like to still work with us and see if we can just use a modified version of what they do for diabetic alert dogs. I'm sending in an official application and will have a conference call with them soon. I'm really excited for the process to start. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I'm thinking this could really help my condition!

I'll get more information from the training center (I have so many questions), but when can I start working on Oliver's public service dog training - like when can we start going in buildings? Do I need a vest for him? I walked him around my campus today, I'm going to start doing that a lot more often so he can get used to being around people and the hustle and bustle of daily life. I also did some practice walking in and out of a building. He needs to learn to calmly walk through and not dart through. He picked up on it very quickly, so that's good. He tends to be a bit aprehensive in new environments so I'm wondering how he'll do when I start taking him into buildings with new strange sounds and sights.
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