The Ping Project
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The Ping Project

How we trained a diabetic alert dog at home

About the Book

Diabetic alert dogs can detect when a diabetic’s blood sugar level is too high or too low with amazing accuracy (often 10 -20 minutes before their blood meter). However, the cost of purchasing a professionally trained diabetic alert dog can run as much as $20,000- making it an impossible dream for many families with type 1 diabetic children. The Ping Project proves that diabetic alert dogs can be trained at home, without the need of a professional trainer, and only the cost of having a dog in the household. Follow step-by-step how a family with a ten-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes trained an abandoned puppy to be a diabetic alert dog, and his best friend and faithful companion This book takes a different approach, often involving the child in the training process, while keeping it simple enough for the person with only a small amount of dog training knowledge to follow. The Ping Project was not written for professional dog trainers; it was written for the mom, dad, or diabetic that is interested in training their own dog.

About the Author

Shari Finger
Shari Finger

Shari Finger is the author of the Ping Project and developed the methods for the book from her experience across multiple dog training fields. Shari was inspired to begin training a search-and-rescue dog nearly twenty years ago. Without any prior dog training experience, other than the basic ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’ of owning a dog, she launched into learning everything she could about dog training at home. Shari accomplished her goal with her first dog, Darlin, a field-trial golden retriever who became a certified search. Shari trained Darlin by herself and without any prior training experience!

After Darlin’s passing, Shari continued on to train two new puppies, Draco and Orion, as search-and-rescue dogs. Orion, an Australian shepherd, was trained in trailing and tracking. While Draco was also a successful search-and-rescue golden retriever. However, Shari switched gears and trained Draco at home as her first therapy dog. Draco went on to become an amazing (the patients and staff labeled him an all-star) therapy dog at a local hospital. Draco and Shari’s success gave her the opportunity to become the coordinator for the therapy dog unit at the same hospital, a position she holds today.

While working in the hospital with Draco and seeing the restorative powers of the canine-human bond, she became interested in diabetic alert dogs (D.A.D.s). Shari was inspired to research diabetic alert dog training after a family friend emailed her and was interested in getting a D.A.D. for her diabetic son but was unable to as professionally trained D.A.D.s cost thousands of dollars (you can read the complete story and a copy of the email in the introduction of the Ping Project book).

Shari was able to train a certified search-and-rescue dog and an amazing therapy dog at home so how hard could training a D.A.D. be that it would cost so much? After researching how dogs can be trained to detect changes in blood sugar in a diabetic, she set out to prove the world wrong and train a successful D.A.D. at home with an average dog owner and a shelter dog named Ping. Hence, the Ping Project was born.

In addition to search-and-rescue, therapy, and diabetic alert dog training she has worked as an obedience trainer at several big-box pet stores, and trained dogs for Frisbee, agility trials, and sheep-herding. Currently, Shari lives outside Chicago, Illinois coordinating the therapy dog unit at a local hospital and training her newest pup, Sirius.

About the Contributors

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