Seizure Response Dog
Article: Working Dogs » Seizure Response Dog
Seizure response dogs are a special type of service dog, specifically trained to help someone who has epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
Due to the differing needs between each case, every potential seizure dog receives specialized training. Tasks for seizure dogs may include, but are not limited to:
- Summoning help, either by finding another person or activating a medical alert or pre-programmed phone
- Pulling potentially dangerous objects away from the person’s body
- “Blocking” to keep individuals with absence seizures and complex partial seizures from walking into obstacles, streets, and other dangerous areas that can result in bodily injury or death
- Attempting to arouse the unconscious handler during or after a seizure
- Providing physical support (and the secondary benefit of emotional support, although this is not legally considered a task.)
- Carrying information regarding the dog, the handler’s medical condition, instructions for first responders emergency medication and oxygen
Additionally, some dogs may develop the ability to sense an impending seizure. This behavior is usually reported to have arisen spontaneously and developed over a period of time. There have been some studies where dogs were trained to alert impending seizures by using reward-based conditioning – with partial success. Some untrained dogs may help their owners, although there are also reports of dogs that have reacted aggressively or even died as a result of witnessing or anticipating their owner’s seizure.
Dogs that are and may become seizure response dogs must be absolutely perfect for the job, and must be capable of maintaining control in every possible situation. Because of the rarity of these certain traits and the difficulty in training seizure response dogs, only a few organizations provide them, though the number is rising.
Notes and References
- “Questions and Answers About Seizure Dogs”. Epilepsy Foundation. 2002-08-19.
- “All About Seizure Dogs”. Epilepsy Foundation. 2001-12-01.
- Strong V, Brown S, Walker R (1999). “Seizure-alert dogs–fact or fiction?”. Seizure 8 (1): 62–5. doi:10.1053/seiz.1998.0250. PMID 10091851.
- Strong V, Brown S (2000). “Should people with epilepsy have untrained dogs as pets?”. Seizure 9 (6): 427–30. doi:10.1053/seiz.2000.0429. PMID 10986001.
TagsAfghanistan Africa America Ancient Egypt Ancient Greece Assistance Dogs Austria Bark Behavior Belgium Biology Bosnia Breed Type Canary Islands Catahoula Companion Dog Coonhound Croatia Cur Dog Sport Dog Types Egypt England English-French Evolution Finland Foxhound France Germany Greece Guard Dogs Hairless Health History Hounds Hungary Iberia Imperial China Ireland Israel Italy Lap Dog Malta Montenegro North Africa Norway Nutrition Palestine Pariah Persia Peru Poland Portugal Primitive Rabies Ridgeback Roman Russia Scenthound Scotland Serbia Sicily Sighthound Slovakia Spain Spitz Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Thailand The Domestic Dog Training Transylvania Wales Working Dogs