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 80% or more when presented with the shirt of someone living with Parkinson's, with three of the dogs having an accurate response over 90% of the time.