How To Train Migraine Alert Dogs

Due to how incapacitating they may be for sufferers, migraine alert dogs are taught to inform their owners when a migraine is about to start. Migraine sufferers may be able to reduce their symptoms by avoiding environmental triggers or using preventative medication if they can recognize the signs of a migraine. Additionally, trained migraine alert dogs may deliver a phone to their owner so they can make an emergency call.

Unbelievable as it may seem, some canines have the ability to detect the onset of a migraine in a person up to 48 hours in advance. You can collect a sample of your saliva while you are having a migraine, store it, and use it to educate your dog to recognize that specific fragrance in order to train them to be able to distinguish it.

You might be able to teach your dog to recognize particular behaviors that are unusual for you. When your dog takes specific activities to warn you, you can then:

  • Your being nudged or licked
  • surrounding or focusing on you
  • I’m yelling at you

Meet with a licensed dog trainer or a service dog organization if you’re interested in training your dog to be a migraine alert dog. Additionally, if your migraines are severe, be sure to keep your doctor informed. A dog may be able to warn you when a migraine is about to start, but only your doctor can offer advice on how to proceed with treatment.

How much time does it take to train a dog to detect migraines?

Ashley from Ohio suffers from severe chronic migraines that make her sensitive to light and make her feel sick, dizzy, and nauseous. She is considering purchasing a canine migraine alert but still has some questions. She wants to know how long it really takes to train a migraine alert dog, whether it’s one that’s been trained already or one that you train at home.

Ashley might not be aware, but Service Dog Academy has trained more canines to detect migraines than any other organization in the US as of right now. And as a result of that experience, the way migraine alert dogs are trained has undergone a radical transformation. The training of a migraine alert dog used to take up to 1-2 years because the dog had to organically learn how you smelled before you got a migraine. Now that Mary McNeight has created a unique training system, what used to take a dog one to two years to figure out how to scent you before getting a migraine now just takes a few weeks to several months. We currently have dogs as young as 3 months old that, after just 3 weeks of training, can already warn of impending migraine attacks because to the efficacy of our method! In the history of training dogs to alert people about migraines, this has NEVER been accomplished.

See our response to Ashley’s query and this week’s socializing tool in the video below (hint: it’s something you probably use every day with your new puppy!).

You can sign up for one of our medical alert dog seminars or book individualized SKYPE consultations from the comfort of your home anywhere in the world if you’d like to work with the most knowledgeable migraine alert dog trainer in the nation.

We can’t wait to utilize a task-trained migraine warning dog to assist you avoid your headaches ruining your quality of life!

Can my dog be taught to recognize migraines?

Service dogs are canines that have undergone specialized training to carry out particular activities for the benefit of a person with a physical or mental impairment. The individual’s disability must be directly tied to these responsibilities.

How People with Migraine Can Benefit from Service Dogs?

Due to the excruciating agony that migraines produce, some bodily functions, including hearing and vision, may become impaired.

Service dogs can be taught to alert you when a migraine attack is about to start. This can be achieved by teaching the dog to detect migraines up to 48 hours in advance using his or her keen sense of smell. To get your dog to execute a certain activity, such as licking, pawing, nudging, barking, looking at you, wandering in a circle around you, etc., you can use a swab of your saliva. The activities that service dogs complete can be modified to meet the demands of their owners; for example, some owners prefer not to have their dogs lick their faces and switch the “give kiss” command with the “nudge command.

Dogs are likely to notice behavioral changes in addition to chemical changes in the body since they are intelligent and emotionally bonded to their owners. They can be trained to warn you if they notice any changes in your behavior or feelings. Some dogs have the intrinsic capacity to feel what their owners are feeling and pick up on how to react swiftly. A service dog can help you keep upright or prevent you from falling down if your symptoms are too severe and you risk having a seizure without one. Additionally, certain drugs have side effects including disorientation, and the patient may require help immediately following the dose.

People who live alone and are unable to rely on others when they are ill or experience an episode in public may find a service dog to be of great assistance. Service dogs who have received training can help you find a safe location, stay by your side to soothe you, or alert onlookers to your condition. If you are at home, a service dog can notify a member of your family and even be programmed to call 911 if you start to experience more serious symptoms.

Mobility duties including opening/closing doors, cupboards, picking up and retrieving dropped objects are other jobs that service dogs can carry out.

Generally speaking, service dogs can help persons with migraines by:

-migraine alerting chores that allow the sufferer to take their medication and locate a secure seating area;

-follow-up tasks to help the person return as quickly as feasible to their regular state of functioning;

Additionally, we may categorize the jobs that assistance dogs carry out for migraine sufferers into the following two groups:

-physical tasks that are related to mobility and balance; -emotional support tasks, as a decline in health may also have a detrimental impact on one’s emotional condition.

Tactile stimulation and Deep Pressure Therapy are frequently used in emotional tasks. The size of the dog will determine if it can be trained to jump onto the owner’s lap or place its chin on the arm, shoulder, or leg of the owner.

How to Get a Service Dog for Migraine?

You can get in touch with a local service dog school to learn more about their offerings. There are frequently training packages available that integrate all kinds of fundamental and advanced skills. If the group classes and board-and-train services that many organizations provide do not suit your needs, you can speak with a personal trainer or inquire about one-on-one training possibilities with the organization.

Getting a dog and training them yourself is an additional choice. The benefit of choosing this choice is that you may train the dog to perform things that will genuinely be helpful to you on a regular basis. Additionally, you won’t need to adhere to a professional organization’s standards, timelines, and set training programs. Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, US people can gain from training their own dogs: “People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not compelled to use a professional service dog training program. You must be willing to put time, patience, and effort into this quest. You can enroll in an online course if you lack the confidence to conduct training on your own. Since you won’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for training institutions and you will still have to pay for the course, this might be seen as a good compromise. Additionally, you’ll be able to customize the training to meet your needs and take advantage of the phone, email, and chat support that many training institutions provide.

What Breeds We Would Recommend?

The breed that best suits you will rely on your own requirements. You might require a larger breed dog to assist you with everyday duties and serve as a good balance dog if you have severe symptoms that limit your movement and general functioning.

The following breeds are seen to be good choices: Labradoodles, Standard Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.

Consider smaller breeds as well if you believe you can manage your symptoms and will get more from the emotional support that dogs offer, for example:

Pomeranian, Beagle, Poodle, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Poodles come in the following variations: Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle, Medium Poodle, and Standard Poodle, so you can choose the best option for you).

Regardless of the breed, you may want to make sure that your future service dog is eager to please its owner, has a calm and stable temperament, a friendly demeanor, and gets along with other animals and people.

Can my dog be a migraine service dog?

Many people have migraines. Each person’s experience is unique and may include a mix of unpleasant, unpleasant-looking, and unpleasant-sounding symptoms. Traditional management strategies frequently involve using a type of OTC or prescription drug. A migraine assistance dog, on the other hand, can offer much-needed assistance and support to some people who experience frequent, severe migraine attacks.

How Migraine Alert Dogs Can Help

Given how quickly they frequently seem to start, many people may wonder how a dog might possibly be of assistance. Of course, a dog trained to be a migraine alert aid dog cannot cure migraines, but they can help warn sufferers of an impending attack. This early warning allows for some treatment to, hopefully, lessen the impact of the migraine and get the sufferer into a secure location.

However, how could a dog comprehend what is about to take place within the human brain?

A prodrome is a collection of symptoms that many people experience prior to a migraine attack. Specialized assistance dogs are taught to detect these signs, even the more subtle ones that the handlers may not be aware of. Changes in mood, exhaustion, sensitivity to light and sound, food cravings, rigid movement, difficulty speaking, difficulties reading, and sleep issues are a few examples of these symptoms. The dog will inform its handler using distinct signs that they both recognize when it detects prodrome symptoms.

It’s vital to realize that certain dogs might not be able to alert their owners about migraine attacks. And that it is still unclear from a scientific standpoint exactly what they are picking up. As a result, we cannot guarantee migraine warnings and are unable to train for them consistently using techniques like scent, as we would with diabetic alert dogs.

An Atlas Assistance Dog

Atlas customer Allison fell on the left side of her head, suffering a traumatic brain injury and headaches ever since. Allison had two therapy dogs who were trained to provide comfort to patients in nursing homes and hospitals when her migraines first started. The dogs would lay on top of Allison as she recovered from an attack if they saw her distress. This, according to Allison, enabled her to more successfully handle the agony. Allison now uses her dog Charlie, Botox, and CBD therapies to cure her migraines.

We asked Allison about how Charlie first became aware of her migraine symptoms and eventually developed into an Atlas-trained alert dog for migraines.

Allison: I first met Jen (Kolar, a co-founder of Atlas) while working with another group.

Allison: I wouldn’t understand why Charlie was pawing at me. He scratches me, and if I don’t take CBD, I have a headache in about 10 to 15 minutes. He’ll approach me when I’m working at my desk and turn to look at me. He will nudge me if I don’t realize that he is by my side.

Allison: When your mother kissed or blew on your hand when you were a child, that actually helped you forget the pain. That’s why we taught him to kisslick. Jen taught me a signal so that he would kiss my hand if I wanted him to because I was experiencing head pain. He will kiss my hand when I signal with my hand while driving or in a meeting. The Botox will lessen my anxiety along with Charlie and CBD (pain levels).

Allison: Charlie and I figured out a way for him to lean on me and snuggle in when I needed to sleep. Brain injuries isolate sufferers. Having a service dog helped with (the emotional components) such as depression, getting out and moving, and dealing with solitude.

It has broadened my outlook. The same problems still exist, but I can get by with them. The thing about migraines is that the more you can avoid them and spread them out, the less often you’ll experience them.

Making Assistance Dog Training Accessible

Atlas could be able to aid if you’re interested in teaching your dog to help with migraine alerts. Our innovative program gives people the power and opportunity to train their own service animals for aid in a variety of situations. Check out our online training checklist for assistance dogs to see if your dog would be a good fit. Your questions will be gladly addressed by our team of Atlas trainers. today, locate a trainer nearby.

Visit our Trainer Academy page right away if you’re a dog trainer looking to learn more about medical assistance dogs and how to improve your own training techniques.

How much does a dog that detects migraines cost?

A service dog’s actual cost is determined by a number of variables. The function of the service dog is arguably the most crucial consideration, and the more training that is necessary, the more expensive it is going to be. The majority of service dogs are trained expressly for their owners, meaning that their needs are taken into account during training. Pre-trained canines are also available, which is a good option for people who do not want a service dog with individualized training. Also available are therapy dogs and emotional support animals, which, while not trained to treat migraines specifically, do reduce stress and are frequently far less expensive than assistance dogs.

One of these creatures costs between $10,000 and $20,000 to buy. Contact a service animal organization if you believe you are a good candidate and would benefit immensely from having a migraine alert dog in your life. Contrary to the majority of service animal providers, there is often no backlog that enables you to get the animal for free or at a greatly reduced price. Despite their high level of specialization, these animals are not seen as essential to human existence. You can still attempt to raise the money on your own, but you won’t get it for free from the firm or the insurance.