I need information on the peanut detector dogs

Posted on: Sat, 06/07/2008 - 1:27am
mpeters's picture
Joined: 10/28/2001 - 09:00

Does anyone know the contact information for the peanut detector dogs? Their website seems to be non-functional right now and my daughter is REALLY interested in finding out more about them.

Also, do any of you have a peanut detector dog? I would love to hear how you like it.

Thanks for any help.

Posted on: Sat, 06/07/2008 - 4:42am
poodles02's picture
Joined: 01/31/2008 - 04:21

I called this company a while back about getting a peanut detector dog, but it was very expensive - $10,000 for a dog is what I was told. Also, my daughter also has tree nut allergy, and the dogs don't detect that, so she would only be partly protected.

Posted on: Sun, 06/08/2008 - 12:25am
Danielle's picture
Joined: 04/08/2003 - 09:00

I have talked to them at length about the peanut detecting dogs but we decided to wait a bit longer for a few reasons. The owner, Sharon, is very informative and helpful and patient. She can answer all your questions. They can actually train the dog to pick up any allergy it just has to specifically be trained for that smell. We have one daughter allergic to wheat and sunflower and the other other allergic to peanuts. It is trained the same way as a narcotics dog. Very very interesting. Sharon also gave a woman who has a dog for her peanut allergic son my number and I talked to the mom for a long time. She explained how it has helped them. They are service dogs and can go anywhere such as planes, restaurants, school... they wear a vest while"working". We go to see Dr. Burks at Duke the beginning of Sept for some testing and then my hubby and I will determine when we will get the dog or even maybe 2 since we have different allergies. We also have an old 13 year old lab and I didn't think it was right to get another dog when she is so close to the end of her life. I would say by next summer we will have a peanut detecting dog unless a miracle happens and we pass the food challenges at Duke. (say a prayer for us) The dogs take about 6 months to train so be prepared for the time wait. It is very exciting. I had to giggle because I can just imagine placing a plate of spaghetti in front of my lab at a restaurant - she would leap across the table and eat it in 1 bite. The peanut detective dogs will not eat the food but casually smell it for even trace amounts. It is amazing.

Posted on: Sun, 06/08/2008 - 12:51am
mpeters's picture
Joined: 10/28/2001 - 09:00

Thanks to both of you.
Can you give me the contact phone number?

Posted on: Tue, 06/10/2008 - 12:05pm
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Can I ask how much does a peanut detector dog cost?

Posted on: Wed, 06/11/2008 - 11:44am
mpeters's picture
Joined: 10/28/2001 - 09:00

I spoke with Sharon Perry from Southern Star Ranch in Texas. A dog trained there is $9,995. Plus you go there for two weeks of training before bringing the dog home.
I am certain the dogs are fabulous. I am a little worried about whether we could do things right and not mess up the dog's training. I am also worried that people would think we were excessively paranoid, and I am afraid we might run into situations where they might not be pleasant about allowing a dog (even though they have to allow service dogs) such as at school or in stores and restaurants.
The financial piece is also a big issue. I am wondering if we might be able to get sponsors. It would be great if health insurance companies would consider it as preventative and assist. Honestly my daughter's ambulance, ER and hospital bill from accidently eating peanuts was much more than the price of the dog, so it would really make sense.

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2008 - 5:01pm
Dokimas's picture
Joined: 06/11/2008 - 19:12

I'm one of the Peanut Detecting Dog trainers at Southern Star Ranch in Florence, Texas and am so pleased to see so much discussion about our dogs!
Since there seems to be so much interest, some concerns and questions, I thought I'd post a note about the dogs from my perspective.
OBVIOUSLY, I think they are all great and absolutely love my job because of the chance not only to work with these intelligent, fun and fun-loving dogs - but also to have the opportunity fulfill one of my life-long goals: to train dogs for a "higher purpose."
My apologies regarding the website. It's under construction and hasn't been running very well.
The Peanut Dogs get extensive training and can be trained to alert on more than one allergen, such as peanuts and tree nuts. It takes a minimum of six months to fully train a Peanut Dog. The amount of time is determined by the dog - we have no set time limit. We are going to work with each individual dog until we are absolutely pleased with his or her accuracy, work ethic, social skills, etc!! If you need a dog to alert to a number of allergens, it may increase the training time by a very small amount.
We are aware that every person is different, and every dog responds a bit differently to each individual' we try very hard to fit the right dog to the right person. We also realize that a lot of people who decide to get a Peanut Dog may never have previously owned a dog and most will have never owned and handled a working dog. I can certainly understand why someone might be concerned that they would "mess up the dog's training!" The good news is that these dogs do what they do because they think it's a GAME and they LOVE to play. Plus, many people are involved in the training, not just one trainer, so the dog is accustomed to people of different sexes, different appearances, different voices, etc! Each dog is taken lots of places, socialize with lots of people and, toward the end of their training, are often "handled" by some of our non-trainer (even non-doggie!) friends and family!
Now, that's not to say that you can't confuse the dickens out of a dog if you don't do things right! What can I say, I've seen many dogs give a strange look to a new handler, but it's a matter of curiosity! Curious why that person on the other end of the leash doesn't seem to understand what the dog is trying to say!! However, many dogs simply double their efforts to "explain" to the novice handler exactly what he or she (the dog!) is trying to say - so the "mistake" actually makes the dog better!! As long as a dog is not abused, I can't imagine anyone being able to "ruin" it! Now, a person could cause a "set back" but, within a week (if not a day), such setbacks are usually solved after we talk to the person and determine what created the problem! As long as you follow some very basic easy-to-follow rules, you're not going to have a problem!!!
However, remember - we spend two weeks of intensive training with each client during which time each receive a detailed "owner's manual" as well as our phone number to contact us with questions and concerns as they arise! By the end of the two weeks, it's rare that the dog and person aren't already working well together as a team.
As a person who has a service dog (I have a neuromusuclar problem and have a dog trained to help me pick things up, support me when I need it, etc), I can understand the concern that business owners might not welcome you with open arms. I'd be lying to you if I told you that every business will welcome you with open arms - and, frankly, I don't lie! I've had a few raised eyebrows, and an occasional, "Is that a service dog?" but never a scene!
Infact, each and every instance when there's been a bit of resistance to Muscles (my dog!) entering a business ("Pets aren't allowed in here," "Ma'am, no dog!"), it was resolved without a scene or argument; I simply handed the concerned business owner and/or employee a copy of the ADA statement regarding service animals and each apologized for the inconvenience - that was the end of it.
Actually, the only time I've had to pull out the paper was at one small-town restaurant, one Chinese fast-food chain, a visitor center at a National Park when I was told by a volunteer that "pets" couldn't go on trails, and at a couple of hotels when the clerks told me that they would be charging me a non-refundable pet deposit. Upon glancing at the paper, apologies were given and we were welcomed (and one of the hotels gave me a free night for the inconvenience!). The only "scene" that ever occurred in public in regard to Muscles was when, as we were leaving dinner, someone asked if they could pet him. I said "yes" and we were swarmed by about 6 admirers!! I can handle that kind of scene and, frankly, Muscles could think of no better reward!
As for people thinking you are excessively paranoid, may I recommend that they walk a mile in your shoes? I couldn't begin to imagine what you all go through to protect your child until I spent some time with a young boy who got one of "my" dogs! I can whole-heartedly tell you that people just don't get it!! I certainly didn't! It boggles the mind to know the precautions you must take. The general public has NO IDEA of what you have to do to protect your child and the level of danger a person with peanut residue on her jacket poses to your child so, I suppose, some might not understand the importance of having a dog, able to detect that which you and I can not detect, join your team.
That said, even if your kids didn't have the allergies, I can assure you, as a parent of three kids (one with a rare, life threatening health issue, one strong and without any serious health issues and one with mild CP) who has friends with children without any serious health issues, if you are a parent concerned about your child's development, education, ethics and/or morals, you are going to be called overly protective, paranoid, and too involved by parents who do not have the same interest in child rearing!
I know that the financial side is daunting - we all hope that, as more noise is made about peanut allergies and the need for assistance, that insurance companies may come around. In the meantime, people are being as creative as possible asking for community support, a special church collection/event, support from employers, bake sales, dog washes, the works!
And, to Danielle, the hardest part of my job is when we introduce food for the dogs to search. Imagine trying to convince a dogs that the plate of spaghetti (or a plate filled from a buffet!) isn't worth a taste! After they get the picture, then I have to make them realize that nothing on a plate is even drool-worthy!! Not an easy task I assure you!! Many, many, MANY training sessions to accomplish this little task!!
PLEASE feel free to call toll-free at 877-596-6835 and ask to speak to Sharon Perry (Director of Training) , or contact me with more questions, comments, etc.
Leslie Staven
Trainer of Peanut Dogs
(as well as other detector dogs!)

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2008 - 11:37pm
Cedar's picture
Joined: 04/15/2003 - 09:00

Leslie - no disrespect but I just can't get my head around me wanting a dog to put his nose in a plate full of food that I would then want to eat......

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2008 - 11:58pm
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Just like narcotics dogs, they don't need to have their nose ON the drug in order to be able to smell it. They can merely be in a room, or walk close to a bag filled with it, and smell it and alert.
I would assume.

Posted on: Sat, 06/14/2008 - 8:00am
Cedar's picture
Joined: 04/15/2003 - 09:00

"Just like narcotics dogs" ?? Like these example Drug Sniffing Dogs?
Every example, either the dogs face or paws were ontop of the 'detected object'.
Maybe K9 drug detection dogs are not a good example
Maybe a mold-sniffing dog would be a better example?
Nope - still abit too much direct sniffing if that were my plate.
And what the ppm are these dogs able to detect. How is that measured?
I guess I'm the biggest skeptic there is, but I have a problem with profiters living off the avails of this deadly allergy.

Posted on: Sat, 06/14/2008 - 8:18am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Not all are trained to shove their paws or nose into the substance. It's called a 'passive alert', done by sitting. It's all in the training, Cedar.
(I'm still not interested in buying one.)


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