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Seizure Alert Dogs

What most people are looking for in a seizure dog is to be alerted to the seizure in advance so actions can be taken to prepare for the impending seizure. The last that I was aware, there was not a way to train a dog to alert to seizures. It’s something that a small percentage of dogs just naturally do, but nobody knows exactly how they do it.

A dog who exhibits this ability generally alerts 10 or 15 minutes before a seizure, which gives the person time to call someone, take medication, or even just lie down to prevent falls and such.

There are tasks that can be taught to a dog to help the person after the seizure has begun, (which is then called seizure response) and many seizure alert dogs are taught some of those tasks, but as for letting you know ahead of time, that’s something some dogs just do naturally.

Some people say that some dogs need 6 months or so of living with a person before they begin to alert to that person’s seizures, but I know that is not always the case.

One woman was to receive a seizure response dog (a dog that provides help after the seizure has begun) from a Service Dog program, with the hope that the dog would eventually alert as well. She was there at the facility, working with the trainer of the dog that was intended for her, and another trainer came through the room with a dog that was meant for someone else who had an entirely different disability. That dog broke away from his trainer and went to her and began interacting intensely with her and resisted being removed. She began having a seizure and the second dog planted himself by her and did not leave her side until the seizure was over. The dog meant for her did not even seem to notice! The story had a happy ending; she went home with the second dog.

One of my clients has a seizure alert dog who not only alerts to her owner’s seizures, but recently charged out of the room to another person who was having a seizure down the hall in the bathroom, and ran back and forth, insisting that her owner come and investigate. How did the dog know?!

If anyone has any more information about seizure alert (or response) dogs, please comment…

Please comment, I value your opinions! :)

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