I don't have a diabetic alert dog myself. But I have seen some amazing things done by the dogs that are here. One situation has impressed me greatly. I was taking an art class last spring in our community center, where they also have training classes for dogs. I seem to always have to poke my head in to see the dogs and how they are doing. One of their members had just returned from training with an alert dog, an adorable beagle. I am partial to hounds so had to see him work, They were demonstrating how he does his job, and the teacher had him go around with his owner looking for sugar or lack of sugar. Hounds have amazing sense of smell and are very alert to that thing. He had been taught to sit and bark if his owner was having a sugar low,.,.well being in the room meant my friend and I were going to be sniffed., And sure enough he came around to us, sat in front of me, and started to bark. The teacher asked if I was diabetic and I confirmed her thought, and she asked if I had a meter with me, which I never leave home without, and sure enough my sugars were headed towards the bucket at 62.....the dog sensed that I was in need of caring for myself. WAS I impressed! Along with having beagles at home, and this dog being adorable, smart and right, he helped me and is now a registered alert dog who goes to school with his young owner,. Amazing!
I am a big german shepherd fan personally, but there are other things to consider... shepherds are very protective. Imagine yourself passed out on the sidewalk somewhere needing assistance, dog is barking for help and protecting you.... the chances are people will hesitate to assist for fear of getting bit. Even the best trained shepherd and the friendliest in the world will go into protect mode while your down and out. It is their nature. I would reccomend a lab or something equally non threatening looking to the general public. If it looks cute chances are you will be helped quicker! Also make sure they have the correct type of nose, for instance some breeds like pugs, chows, etc you know.... the ones with the pushed in noses... they have a harder time detecting than other dogs. Most service dogs in the healthcare profession are labs, there is a good reason for it. Do your homework! research! read read read!!!!
Barking alerts should not be used nor encouraged. The ADA frowns on service dogs barking in public because it appears the dog is untrained, startles and scares people.