Yes, you already know that dogs can be trained to help people with diabetes, issues with vision and so much more. But, they can help people suffering from migraines as well.
How to train a migraine alert dog is the question we will answer here. It is an amazing possibility so let’s begin.
How a dog can help you?
There are two reasons why you will want to know the answer to how to train a migraine alert dog. First of all, dogs can almost ‘’smell’’ when you are going to have a migraine.
This works every single time and it is very accurate. Some dogs are known to smell migraines 48 hours before it will happen. Once you know about it, you can take medications, avoid stressors or anything else that may and will trigger a migraine.
Secondly, dogs can bring you a phone so you can call help. In general, they are a powerful ally you can have and there is no a lot of things you need to do in order to have your friend help you when needed. Of course, you will need to train him.
Once a dog notices that you will have a migraine, he may do one of the following things.
- He will start barking at you
- He will make circles around you
- He will lick you
- He will nudge you or staring at you
What a dog will do once he detects the risk of migraine depends on the training. As you may know already, there are professionals who can train your dog for this specific purpose. The training is long and complicated but very effective. One thing a dog needs is a sample of saliva when you have a migraine. This is used during the training.
Guide for how to train a migraine alert dog
We did mention that there are professionals who will train your dog to detect migraines. But, you can do the same thing. Believe it nor not, this isn’t a very complicated matter and with time and effort, you will be able to complete the entire training by yourself.
First of all, your pet needs a healthy and strong sense of smell so he can detect migraine before it is going to happen. Hide a treat in your house and let him look for it. If he finds it, he has a healthy sense of smell. Only then you can proceed.
In addition, your dog must be perfectly healthy and there must be no issues of any kind. The bond between you two must be strong also. Now you can start by following these steps.
- Every single time you have a migraine, take a cotton bud and swab your inner chick so there is saliva on it. Place these in airtight containers or bags and freeze them.
- Each bag must be properly labeled. This includes the date and the stage of the migraine such as aura stage, pre-migraine condition, and similar. You should have as many cotton swabs as possible.
- Give a cotton bud to the dog so he can smell it. Promote a unique behavior or a type of alarm once he smells the cotton bud. This can be anything you like but should be something that a dog doesn’t do all the time or you will think he is alerting you every single day.
- You can smell the cotton bud and make an alarm like barking, moving in a strange way or etc. The goal here is that your dog should do the same. This process does take some time so you will need to be motivated and prepare well.
- After your pet starts alerting you every single time when he smells cotton swabs with the saliva during the migraine, give him to smell new cotton buds. This is done so he can tell a difference between the two and he won’t give you a false alarm. Repeat these steps as many times as you need.
- Each time after a successful alarm, give a treat to your pet and reward him. This is essential so he will have the motivation to alert you the next time.
Don’t forget that this training should be performed every single time, so you do need a lot of cotton buds. Ideally, you will train him for between 1 and 2 hours per day.
Even then, the training can last up to 2 years. If you train him longer every single day the training can last one year. Another thing to know is that some dogs can learn this process in less time while others will need more time.
Additional things to know
There are a few more things we would like to share with you. First and foremost, this isn’t a 100% accurate method. Some dogs may give you false alarms sometimes. The condition of your disorder may change or they can smell something that reminds them of this. Luckily, this happens rarely.
If your dog has issues with his sense of smell or another health issue, you won’t be able to train him successfully. You will need another dog for this purpose. Even if your pet gives you a false alarm occasionally, do not discourage him to alert you the next time.
Mistakes do happen. You cannot force your pet into this training. It is something he should want to do and not something he must.
But, dogs for this purpose can be more than just helpful and their alarms are usually very accurate. As such, if you notice your pet alarming you, it usually means you are going to have a migraine. Start with precautions.
How to train a migraine alert dog? The answer and all the rest is mentioned and explained above. One way or another, you will have a powerful ally that can help you detect a migraine when nothing else works and make this condition more bearable.
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