First dual-working dog to detect low blood sugar and protect US vineyard

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 08 Feb 2017
First dual-working dog to detect low blood sugar and protect US vineyard
A vineyard in California has started training a dog to detect low blood sugar levels in the company president's with type 1 diabetes and also sniff out pests eating the grapes.

The Labrador called Honey will become the first ever working dog to be trained to sense more than one thing, according to Honig Vineyard and Winery.

The Honig family adopted Honey in the hope that she will be able to detect low blood sugars in their daughter, Sophia, aged nine, who has type 1 diabetes.

Sophia currently has to carry out up to 20 blood sugar checks a day. She also wears an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

If Honey's training is effective, she will be able to sense and communicate if Sophia's blood sugar drops below an acceptable level, 15 minutes before the glucose monitor. This will give the family more time to take the relevant action needed.

The dog will also be trained to detect vineyard pests. If found early, action can be taken to remove a vine instead of treating the plant with pesticides.

Trainer Carleigh Long said: "Honey will be able to learn more than 60 daily commands that will allow her to interact with the family and help to keep Sophia safe. Once she's got that down, we'll move her into the vineyard to train her there."

Mr Honig first started working in partnership with Bergin University and assistance dogs in 2005.

He adopted Honey last year and hopes he will be able to make a real difference to both his family and business.

Mr Honig said: "We're excited to be working with a sniffer dog again. Not only do we get to continue our very innovative work with canine pest detection in the vineyard, my daughter gets a furry new companion to help her navigate the world of type 1 diabetes. What could be better than that?"
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