Diabetic Alert Service Dogs

NIDAD produces the highest caliber Diabetic Alert Dogs available. We utilize Selective Breeding and provide Comprehensive Custom Training, In-Home Placement with Client Education, and Lifetime Support.

NIDAD created the unique Three Tier approach that we use to develop and train our World Class Diabetic Alert Service Dogs.

• Tier 1 - S.T.A.R. Puppy Program

• Tier 2 - Mastery of Trained Skills

• Tier 3 - Integrated Life Skills


Tier One:  S.T.A.R. Puppy Program

(Newborn to 16 weeks)

Scientific research (Cunningham, 1991) determined that performance is controlled by about 35% inheritable factors.  The remaining 65% is attributable to other influences such as training, management and nutrition.  Early stimulation activity influences and regulates neuronal development, which can improve a dog’s natural ability to perform. 

The U.S. Military developed a program to improve the performance of their dogs originally called “Bio Sensor” and later becoming known to the public as the “Super Dog” Program.  Based on years of research, it was learned that early neurological stimulation in dogs improves performance and trainability. Similarly, neurobiological studies (Cyrulnik 1991) have shown that during sensitive developmental periods, hyper-stimulation of odors increases olfactory brain development.  Olfactory Sensory Neurons exhibit functional maturation during the first month of postnatal life by developing faster response kinetics, higher sensitivity, and most intriguingly, higher selectivity.  In addition, other research (Stelzner and Stanley et al.) has demonstrated that the neonate dog (one day of age) can learn to respond differentially to olfactory and gustatory stimuli. 

Based on this scientific research NIDAD utilizes the sensitive early time periods of a pups life to expose them to the odors of hypo/hyper glycemic events in order to improve the experience-dependent learning process.


Service Dog Basics – S.T.A.R. Puppy Program
We begin by selecting only the finest NIDAD scent imprinted pups available.  Training starts on day 1 of life.  Our breeder/trainers perform ENS (early neurologic stimulation) and Bio Sensor program on each pup to enhance performance and trainability. 

Our S.T.A.R. Puppy Program focuses on five basic facets of the learning process

1. The Sensory, Emotional and Social development of the newborn pup.

• Biosensor Program - ENS (early neurological stimulation) - Designed to improve performance in trainability, health and potential.  Day 3-16.

• Scent Imprinting to Odor - Neuronal and synaptic development of olfactory networks.
Neonatal period (birth -14 days) and Transitional period (14-21 days)

2. Development of the learning process.  Puppies learn and are thoroughly conditioned to offer behaviors (put on cue) in order to “buy” rewards, such as treats and play. This teaches manners through the use of productive play without harming or destroying a pups motivation to learn. Socialization period ( 21 -70 days).

• Introduction of Conditioned Reinforcers
• Puppy Massage - 8-step approach (touch, handling, sensation)
• Den Potty training - Differentiate areas of whelping box as potty area/sleep/eat/play areas

3. Development of self-control Puppies learn to inhibit and control reactive responses, and to sit quietly in scenarios of great temptation. Juvenile period ( 70 days and older)

• Puppies transition from Reactive to Active behaviors. 
• Introduction of non-reinforcement marker (non-social pressure easy no).
• Behavior Modification - Desensitization to outside stressors. Builds adaptation and coping skills in the face of new and strange scenarios.
• Directed Active Play - Develops strength, agility, coordination.

4. Programming of the core behavioral skills required of a D.A.D.

• Scent differentiation (two visually identical vessels).
• Conditioned Response, Active Alert (paw) to known scent.
• Obedience to Scent
• Obedience to Commands: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Watch, Kennel
• Outside for Potty 

5. The Essential Seven Program - Improves development of desensitization and adaptation skills when faced with new and strange environments. Puppies experience a number of new and strange environments such as:

• Multiple obstacles and terrains
• A variety of surfaces and heights
• Crowds of people
• Vehicle traffic
• Dark confined spaces
• Loud noises


Tier Two:  Mastery of Trained Skills

(16 weeks to 12 months)

This phase of training is based on the Premack Principal.  In Operant Conditioning, the Premack Principal states that a commonly occurring action (one more desirable for the dog) can be used effectively as a reinforcer for a less commonly occurring one (that is, one less desirable for the dog).  An example would be that a dog must sit and wait until released to access his food. 

Through carefully applied NIDAD lessons dogs learn to offer behaviors  and become Active Dogs as opposed to Re-Active dogs that respond through escape avoidance training.

Active dogs continue to try new behaviors and are less likely to shy away from unfamiliar situations and events.

Training Validation
At present time the scent given off by the body during a hypo/hyper glycemic event is unknown.  Due to this fact, it is not possible to "prove" a dogs scenting ability using actual event scent samples alone. NIDAD scent trains dogs on not only the “unknown” diabetic event scent but also on the known scent of Birch.  Training with Birch allows for a realistic assessment of a dogs ability to scent discriminate and is a provable skill.  The NIDAD Scent and Alert Test is conducted in the same manner as the exam for canine scent teams utilized by ATF, DOJ, Military, and Law Enforcement.

In addition NIDAD is the only Diabetic Alert Dog provider that proofs their obedience training through the AKC (American Kennel Club) Obedience Titling process.  With AKC obedience titling dogs are judged by an independent third party and compete against a standard for points to earn a title and ribbon.

AKC - Getting Started in Obedience

Dogs are AKC/PAL/K9 Partner certified and have received a qualifying judged score in AKC sanctioned obedience match.  This indicates that the dog has performed all the required exercises according to the AKC Obedience Regulations and justifies the awarding of a CD obedience title. 

Required Trained Behaviors:

• Heel on Leash and Figure Eight
• Stand for Exam
• Heel Free (off leash)
• Recall (off leash to front & finish)
• Long Sit (group)
• Long Down (group)

Additional NIDAD Obedience Commands:

• Load-Up
• Leave It
• Wait
• Off
• Under
• Go to bed

Scent Discrimination & Alert
Dogs are taught to locate odor source and discriminate  between multiple visually identical canisters. 
Active (paw) alerts are classically conditioned for reliability.


Tier Three: Integrated Life Skills

(12 months and up)

NIDAD views learning as a process which unfolds over time. Organizational learning actively creates, captures, transfers, and mobilizes knowledge to enable the dog to adapt to a changing environment.  The world of a Service Dog is dynamic.  Because of this the dog must be in a state of continuous learning throughout its career.

We take integration of learned skills into reliability of performance.  NIDAD prepares a dog to respond reliably anywhere anytime to hypo/hyper glycemic events. We expose our dogs to a wide range of environments and situations in which they must perform.  That includes “turning on to scent” in the midst of obedience, while playing with toys, while sleeping, while walking up and down stairs, even while riding in a crowded elevator or vehicle.  They even have to “turn on to scent” while having their bellies rubbed!

Public Access
The NIDAD Public Access Certification Test (PAT) is conducted in accordance with ADI (Assistance Dogs International) Standards.
Proficiency in Public Access allows easy access to Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Schools, Work Places and Airlines in accordance with Federal ADA regulations

ADI - Public Access Test

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Scent & Alert
The NIDAD Certification Scent & Alert Test (SAT) is conducted in accordance with the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA) standards.  The dog cannot miss more than one aid (sample odor) in the test environment, or exceed more than one false response in a test environment.  Each aid will be hidden twice during the testing.  All aids will be hidden in a manner to prevent the dog from using any visual cues. 

Testing sites include:

• House (Common Living Area & Bedroom)
• Food Establishment (Restaurant)
• Retail Establishment (Large Department Store)
• Vehicle (Personal or Public Transit)
• Open Outdoor Area

Dog Delivery and Personalized Instruction
We consider personal delivery essential in order to insure a smooth transition for you and your new dog. We therefore include delivery to your home with the purchase of all of our fully trained dogs. This includes personally delivering of your dog, acclimating him or her to your home and family, customized in-home training as needed, as well as providing you with complete handling instruction.


Available Breeds: 
• Labrador Retriever (English and American)
• Golden Retriever
• Golden-Doodle (Golden Ret. X Poodle) (Hypo-allergenic)
(Dogs are obtained through partnership with Professional Reputable Breeders)

All dogs are either hip/elbow x-rayed and certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), or preliminary x-rays are reviewed and certified by a qualified veterinary expert.

All dogs are spayed/neutered. Current on core vaccines: DHLPP, Rabies, Bortadella.  Heart worm test Neg. Eyes CERF and Labrador Retrievers are EIC Clear.

All dogs are 15-30 months of age. Micro-chipped.  Complete Health Exam by Licensed Veterinarian.

If you are purchasing a NIDAD fully trained dog, the price is dependent on the cost of the dog and time and effort invested in training. We use only the highest caliber dogs for this program.  In addition to the standard training provided with every dog we also offer unique and customized training that maybe useful given your home, lifestyle, or requirements.

Customized Training
• Smell & Tell for children under 5 years old or for non-verbal individuals who require the dog to alert to a parent or adult in the home.
• Handicap Assistance - Pulling Wheel Chair, Opening doors, Stability Assist. Bracing
• Retrieval - Glucometer, Glucose Tabs, Dropped items (keys, cell phone, etc.)
• Hearing Assistance
• Autism Assistance