A seizure dog is a dog that has been trained (or has learned) to respond to a seizure in someone who has epilepsy.
Is "seizure dog" the official name?
It is the name that is most often used. There are two types of dogs: 1) dogs that respond to someone who is having a seizure, called "seizure response dog" and 2) dogs that appear to naturally know when a seizure is going to occur "seizure predicting dog".
What do seizure dogs do?
A response dog might be trained to bark when a child has a seizure so that family members know what is happening. Or, a seizure dog may put its body in between the seizing individual and the floor to break the fall at the inception of a seizure. Some seizure dogs may even be trained to activate some kind of pre-programmed device such as a pedal that rings an alarm.
How can someone get a seizure dog?
It depends what your goals are. If you are looking for a seizure response dog, you can discuss what you want the dog to do and work out a plan with a local professional dog trainer.
However, getting a dog with the special skill of recognizing seizures in advance is another matter. Any claims by trainers that they can produce this type of behavior in a dog should be looked at very carefully, especially when the training is expensive. While some people report success, others have been disappointed. More research is needed to better understand what dogs can and cannot do, whether there are differences between breeds, and how best to develop this unique skill.
Can I Train My Own Dog?
If you believe your dog has the disposition to act as a seizure response dog, you may certainly take your pet to a professional trainer to teach them specific things you would like to have them do in the event of a seizure.
Can I Have My Own Dog Certified?
If you have your dog professionally trained, some trainers offer a certificate. Any claims that certification can be purchased, especially through a web site, are generally known in the dog training community as "gimmicks". There is no need for certification of your service dog. These offers generally print out a form with no knowledge of your dog, and are not required for public use. You might choose to purchase a vest to make others aware, but they are not necessary.
How Do I Purchase A Trained Service Dog?
More than likely, you will not need to purchase one. There are many organizations who are 501 c 3 non-profits whose sole purpose is to provide trained service dogs to those in need at no cost. They receive grants and donations to provide this service. Availability of trained dogs will vary from one organization to the next, and some place dogs based on urgency. Waiting lists can be years long, but it is always smart to complete the application process to "get the ball rolling".
What Can A Public Establishment Ask Me About My Service Dog?
1) Is this a service dog necessary for a disability? 2) What is a example of a task the dog does to mitigate the disability?