Stroke alert dogs


At the Assistance Dog Center T.A.R.S.Q.® we only train stroke alert dogs who can actually warn of oncoming strokes. Alert dogs react BEFORE the stroke occurs and warn the partner in good time!


A stroke alert dog is an assistance dog who warns its partner right before a stroke occurs, giving them chance to call for help and receive medical assistance. Stroke alert dogs can save lives and minimize the consequences of a stroke.

Stroke alert dogs are primarily trained for adults who have already had a stroke or TIA, and have a high probability of suffering a stroke. Stroke alert dogs are predominantly trained in owner training accompanied by an assistance dog trainer. A dog can't be taught the ability to give a warning before a life-threatening event becomes severe. Either it has the sensitivity to pick up on an oncoming event, or it doesn't. It is therefore of paramount importance to choose the right dog who possesses this innate ability. Not every dog can recognize an oncoming stroke

A   dog has to be born an alert dog - you can't make an alert dog!

Stroke alert dogs have to want to notice an oncoming stroke a few minutes before it occurs, and to make their partner aware of it. A stroke alert dog has to act on its own initiative and not just give a warning when commanded to. This fact illustrates the uniqueness of alert dogs, and the difficulty in finding and training them. If a stroke alert dog doesn't want to alert its partner to an oncoming attack, it won't. If a dog doesn't have the ability to recognize a stroke before it happens, it will never gain the ability. Neither trainer nor partner can really influence the ability to reliably give a warning prior to a stroke. This depends on several factors, such as the ability of the dog, the bond it has, and the type of stroke.


  • Tasks of a stroke alert dog


The main task of a stroke alert dog is provide timely warning of a life-threatening stroke. An alert dog becomes aware of a stroke shortly before it occurs, and notifies its partner by prodding or laying out its paw. The way in which an alert dog warns of an attack is innate and does not need to be taught. In training the partner learns which of the dog's actions they have to pay attention to.

A stroke alert dog can also learn to call for help. Using an emergency telephone, a stroke alert dog can immediately call for an ambulance, ensuring that no time is lost.

During training at the International Assistance Dog Center T.A.R.S.Q.®, a qualified assistance dog trainer will help the team to encourage reliable warnings and avoid mistakes, so that the partner can really rely on their alert dog in an emergency. It is especially important to the International Assistance Dog Center that those in danger of having a stroke can rely on their dogs giving reliable warnings.


  • Preconditions for having a stroke alert dog
  • You have already had a stroke or a TIA, and/ or your doctor fears that you will have stroke in the future, which is of the type that a stroke warning dog can recognize. You can find out more information about this from the assistance dog trainer in your area.
  • You should be ready to react to every warning that the dog gives, to praise the dog, and to call for help immediately.
  • You are willing and capable of developing and maintaining a strong bond with the stroke alert dog. The stroke alert dog must have the strongest bond with the partner, so that it knows who it should pay attention to. All other family members must restrict their interaction with the stroke alert dog, so that they don't endanger the reliability of the stroke alert dog's warnings.
  • You are with the stroke alert dog 24 hours a day. You always remain in close proximity to the stroke alert dog, so that the dog can help you in an emergency.
  • The stroke alert dog is the only dog in the household, so that other dogs don't distract it from its duties. Other animals such as cats present no problem.
  • During an emergency, care and love of the dog is ensured.