By Heather Legg
No, it’s not a food like a hot dog or a dog shaped peanut chocolate candy. Peanut dogs are being featured in the news more and more often as a salvation for those people extremely allergic to peanuts. Like guide dogs, peanut sniffing dogs, can make possible things that without the dog wouldn’t be an option.
These dogs can bring freedom to people with severe allergies, specifically peanut and even tree nut allergies. This is from a spokesperson at www.peanutdog.com, the site of a ranch in Texas that specifically trains dogs for this purpose:
The “Peanut Dogs” are excellent for anyone, and are allowing children a new-found independence. These confident and disciplined working dogs, trained to be comfortable in and accustomed to all environments, will accompany you or your child to schools, restaurants and other public places, quietly alerting you to possible danger. Friendly and well socialized, they can be asked to greet guests at the front door of your home (or anywhere, actually) and discreetly scan them for peanut residue in order to minimize the chance of contamination.
In addition to socialization and obedience training, the Peanut Dogs get extensive training in the area of detection work such that they can detect the most minute amount of peanut, residue and peanut products – in any form. By the end of the training, our dogs are able to unobtrusively search items (ie, tables, chairs, door knobs, microwaves, etc), people and/or their clothing, entire rooms and plates of food for peanut products. They become vested service dogs, and accompany their person anywhere: schools, restaurants, malls, buses, movie theaters, etc.
I am continually amazed at the power of dogs. We know they are used to sniff out drugs and bombs, cancer sniffing dogs are becoming more prominent. We know of the life altering effect they can have on people in wheelchairs or with vision problems. I had not yet heard of the allergy sniffing dogs, but though I am amazed, I’m not surprised.
The same types of dogs used for the above jobs are most commonly used for the allergy sniffers – Labs, Goldens, and Poodles. The training is extensive and these dogs are naturally very bright with a huge desire to please.
I don’t think this would be an option to those whose allergies are mild due to cost, but for those with severe, debilitating allergies, it could offer so much. Hmmmm, I’m eyeing my Golden right now, wondering what she could learn….