How are the dogs trained?
The dogs are given the shirt of a person living with Parkinson's and a primary reinforcer. This teaches the animal to know the particular scent of Parkinson's. The study by the Parkinson’s Canine Detection Project was conducted over a fifty day period and involved the donations of shirts from volunteers with and without the disease, as well as transcribers, documenters and six dogs with their handlers four days a week. Of the six dogs, five performed with an identification accuracy of eighty percent or more when presented with the shirt of someone living with Parkinson's, with three of the dogs having an accurate response over ninety percent of the time.