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Link is very consistent with his trained responses (acting as or after my illness affects me) in his service dog work, but not very much with his alerts (before my illness has affected me). I've noticed over time that I usually started to sweat before my illness affects me, of course I usually note this after the fact because I'm not able to pay attention to small things like that at the time. I'd like to teach Link a scent alert, but I've never taught scent discrimination before so any help is appreciated. I'm planning to purposefully expose myself to a major trigger, and put cotton balls in my armpits beforehand, to get the proper scent I want him to alert to. I'd keep the cotton balls in a ziplock bag, and when I give open the bag for Link to sniff, ask him for the behavior I'd like him to do (nudge my thigh). I'm assuming then I'd have to proof the behavior by introducing non-scented cotton balls, as well as some with regular sweat (from exercising), and some with different types of deodorants taken during illness. Or am I over thinking that part? After that would I just wait for him to alert so I can reinforce the behavior?

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I think you should try to link up with an organization or other people who have trained dogs for your particular situation. If it was me, I would want to make sure that I was training correctly.


I took tracking lessons from a woman who owned a service dog (her second) that would alert her to upcoming seizures so she could put herself in a safe place. Even before she trained her seizure-alert dog, she had many years (> 25 years) of training tracking dogs - therefore was very familiar with the process and had many contacts in the field to get guidance. I think that her current seizure-alert dog (a Viszla) was trained by the time it was a year old, but am not sure. I also do not know what she used for scent. I think you might be surprised what is available for sale, or if you knew who to ask, where you might find the correct scent. Of course, your idea of making your own scent articles may work, but why trigger yourself?


Good Luck,


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Jovi, thanks, I do meet up with another SD handler in the area, but other than that my choices are limited. I wouldn't trust a lot of the people in the local kennel club to help train something like this, or really any of his service dog training. I've put almost 6,000 hours of service dog and public access training into Link, and trained another service dog as well. While that might not be 25 years of experience, I have owned and trained border collies, as well as trained many shelter dogs, for over 10 years.

As far as triggering, it was going to happen anyway since I had to fill out a complaint form to human resources about an access denial I experienced, but thanks for your concern.

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