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I have trained seizure alert dogs, and I was shortly involved in training cancer detection dogs. You cannot exactly TRAIN a seizure alert dog to smell a seizure coming on, because we do not yet know the chemical that triggers it, however we train the seizure alert dog to simply react when the handler has a seizure. Any dog trained as a seizure alert dog is trained like a regular services dog, except there are other behaviors that are taught (such as sitting on the person while having a seizure, dragging them away from furnaiture,etc.). We have pretend seizures to teach the dog what to do, but we don't know if the dog is going to be a seizure ALERT dog until it is actually paired with it's handler/owner. Many dogs show a sixth sense type perception, they can alert the handler of an oncoming seizure two or even three minutes before the seizure takes hold. This way, the handler can get him/her-self to a safe place. I've had one client tell me of his GSD SAD(seizure alert dog) that alerted him when he was on a busy section of I-95. After he pulled over, he did have a minor seizure. After he regained conciousness, he suddnely realized what could have happened if he had blacked out and had a seizure while driving.
As for cancer detection, we train like narcotics detection. Quite simple to train, really. The only thing is getting a medical professional to participate.
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