Copyright © 2014 by Shari Finger
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Shari Finger.
Collin and Ping
It all started when I was six
I had high blood sugar
That needed a fix
It also can go low
Without much warning
Like a blizzard of snow
On a cool dark morning
Who could help me with this task
Not Mom or Dad
Or even a doctor with a mask
The person to help me wasn’t
A person at all
It was a wonder dog
Who could smell it all
Her name is Ping
She is as happy as can be
Because keeping me safe is her thing
(November 28 2012, 10 years old)
I dedicate this book to Collin, who is strong, brave, smart, funny, cute, and an excellent dog trainer, baseball player, brother, son, grandson, student, friend, and is a type 1 diabetic. Thank you for your dedication in training Ping. I believe that you and Ping are going to change the way D.A.D.s are trained.
Family Christmas (2012). Kendra, Cora, Collin, and Dave.
To Collin’s family, Kendra, Dave, Cora and Probie (their Labrador):
Thank you for sharing Collin and Ping with me. I salute you for your hard work and dedication to training Ping; you have done a wonderful job! I would also like to thank you for allowing me to share Collin and Ping’s story and photos in order to help others that may choose to train a D.A.D. at home.
A job well done! Training any dog is hard work, but training a D.A.D. while balancing everything else takes a very special person. I hope Ping brings many years of being your back-up, catching Collin’s lows and highs, and bringing you tons of fun.
This book was written to assist in the training of a diabetic alert dog (D.A.D.) at home and is a detailed description of how we trained Ping, a three-month-old rescue dog. Results will vary depending on the dog’s intelligence, dedication of the trainer, and consistency of training. No dog learns the same way; so finding someone with dog training knowledge will be helpful when your dog responds differently than expected.
YOU ARE STRONGLY CAUTIONED NOT TO RELY ON ANY DIABETIC ALERT DOG TO THE POINT OF NOT ADHERING TO ALL OTHER MEDICAL PROTOCOLS, TESTING, AND ALL OTHER PROCEDURES THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE APPROPRIATE IF THERE WERE NO DIABETIC ALERT DOG. NEVER IGNORE OR REDUCE ANY OTHER ADVICE AND INSTRUCTION OF YOUR DOCTOR.
THE AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER OF THIS BOOK MAKE ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ABOUT THE INFORMATION AND MATERIALS APPEARING IN THIS BOOK.
USE OF THIS BOOK AND ALL SOURCES WHERE THIS WORK IS QUOTED OR REFERENCED IS ENTIRELY AT THE RISK AND DISCRETION OF THE READER AND OR USER.
[+ READ THIS PAGE BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO PURCHASE A DOG OR EVEN THINK ABOUT TRAINING A DIABETIC ALERT DOG! 7+]
[+ The Ping Project- Table of Contents 9 +]
[+ Chapter 1- So you’re thinking about training a D.A.D.? 19 +]
[+ Chapter 2- Kids and dogs 23 +]
[+ Chapter 3- Picking a dog 27 +]
[+ Chapter 4- Dog training basics 36 +]
[+ Chapter 5- Safety 59 +]
[+ Chapter 6- Bonding 71 +]
[+ Chapter 7- The alert 76 +]
[+ Chapter 8- Blood sugar meters 82 +]
[+ Chapter 9- Collecting low blood sugar samples 83 +]
[+ Chapter 10- How scent travels 87 +]
[+ Chapter 11- How this is going to work 89 +]
[+ Chapter 12- Feeding and imprinting 91 +]
[+ Chapter 13- Play Games 99 +]
[+ Chapter 14- Time to start the scent work drills 101 +]
[+ Chapter 15- You found it. Now tell me! 112 +]
[+ Chapter 17- Alerting without the cue 117 +]
[+ Chapter 18- Watch the pattern 119 +]
[+ Chapter 19- Make it all about the numbers 120 +]
[+ Chapter 23- Are you high? 137 +]
[+ Chapter 24- Let the fun continue! 143 +]
[+ Chapter 25- What could possibly go wrong? 145 +]
[+ Chapter 26- Today 146 +]
Kendra and Collin
I will admit that I was very uneducated about diabetes prior to November 5, 2008. What I did know, I learned from those commercials with the oatmeal guy. We do not have any history of diabetes in our family, so it was never on my radar. However, I knew something was wrong with my little boy; he just wasn’t himself. He was difficult to wake up in the morning, hated going to first grade, napped after school, used the bathroom all the time, and was constantly eating. I didn’t know it back then, but he displayed all the classic symptoms.
A few weeks prior to Collin acting this way, my daughter had a bladder infection. Light bulb moment! Collin must have a bladder infection. My husband rushed to drop off a urine sample at the doctor’s office. About 11:00 in the morning I received a call from the doctor’s office requesting to see Collin. I was told not to feed him lunch, give him anything to drink, and to be safe but get there as quickly as possible. I hurried to pick him up from school and headed to the doctor. It was there that our wonderful doctor told me, with a tear in her eye, that Collin had diabetes. I clearly remember thinking, “That stinks- I guess no more cupcakes for him.” She sent us directly to a local hospital where we stayed for three days. I slowly understood why she had tears in her eyes: this was no oatmeal commercial. We learned about giving our six year old five shots daily, carbohydrates, different types of insulin, fast-acting carbs, signs of hypoglycemia, signs of hyperglycemia, and the very real dangers of this disease. The most heartbreaking moment of my life occurred when my sweet blonde-haired blue-eyed boy asked me how long he had to take insulin and how long he would have diabetes. I could feel my heart shatter as I told him the rest of his life.
Four years later, we have adjusted to life with type 1 diabetes. It is now status quo, and I can draw up insulin at a stoplight, the top of a Ferris wheel, or in a movie theater. I am always reading about the new technology in the diabetes world. I love hearing about all of the advances and great technology, but I always came back to the diabetic service dogs. We have always been a dog-loving family, and I started researching D.A.D.s (diabetes alert dogs). I found them fascinating, and I knew this was something that could help Collin, but then I saw the price of these dogs! It was just not an option for our family. This was when I started researching self-training. The information was all very vague and hard to come by to the average person. I contacted my “go-to dog girl”, Shari. She was interested but warned me it was going to be a lot of work.
She also told me that we needed to pick a puppy very carefully; it would take a very special dog to take on the role of a D.A.D. I knew that I wanted a shelter dog. This is just who we are as a family. I understand that this is not the best option for everybody. This is just what we wanted as a family. It is also very important to say that we approached this with a strong commitment to our future dog. If the puppy picked up on the training and became a D.A.D., that would be awesome; if not, we were happy to have another pet. We never considered not keeping the dog if she did not do well with scent training.
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Diabetic alert dogs can detect when a diabeticâ€™s blood sugar level is too high or too low with amazing accuracy (often 10 -20 minutes before their blood meter). However, the cost of purchasing a professionally trained diabetic alert dog can run as much as $20,000- making it an impossible dream for many families with type 1 diabetic children. The Ping Project proves that diabetic alert dogs can be trained at home, without the need of a professional trainer, and only the cost of having a dog in the household. Follow step-by-step how a family with a ten-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes trained an abandoned puppy to be a diabetic alert dog, and his best friend and faithful companion This book takes a different approach, often involving the child in the training process, while keeping it simple enough for the person with only a small amount of dog training knowledge to follow. The Ping Project was not written for professional dog trainers; it was written for the mom, dad, or diabetic that is interested in training their own dog.