Medical alert dogs range from dogs who can detect diabetic ups and downs in blood sugar, severe hypoglycemia, seizures, ticks and other physical and neurological incidents.
Each dog should be trained for the individual needs of the recipient, which can take 12-18 months. Medical alert dogs may sometimes appear to be sleeping or resting, but that does not mean they are not hard at work. Even if the dog has its eyes closed, the dog will know if their handler is having a crisis, needs medication or help with mobility.
These dogs should not be enticed, petted, bothered or even acknowledged with eye contact. All these can distract a dog from his / her job and cause a medical crisis for the handler. For example, if a dog is working for a handler and a well-meaning onlooker starts to call the dog and stare at it or even hold out their hand with a piece of food, the dog might then be less focused on the handler and be distracted just at the moment that the handler has a seizure,. The handler could fall and even be injured because the person is distracting the dog.
The dog is there to keep the handler safe and not to entertain the general public. If a handler is seated and engages you in eye contact and appears to be friendly, then you can ask the person questions about the dog.