I don’t have experience with diabetes alert dogs, but do have experience as a guide dog handler in the past.
I totally agree with @Terry4 about the risks of just going out and adopting a dog. Not only are you risking adopting a dog who is not suited to be a working dog due to their temprament, one who has not been socialized from a young age, and one who may have health issues (this is something organizations screen for), but unless you are already an experienced dog trainer, training a dog can be extremely challenging. It’s hard enough to train a dog to sit or to come on command when you have no experience, trying to train them to do something as complex as alert to low blood sugar is likely even more difficult.
In recent years there has been a big problem with “fake” service dogs—essentially people sticking a vest on their pet dog (or other animal!) and claiming it is a service or support dog. Unfortunately, people who do this often have dogs who get stressed out in public spaces or unusual situations and end up acting out, having accidents, or the owner otherwise doesn’t have control over their dog’s behaviour. This creates a difficult sitaution for people with legitimate service dogs asking for public access when business owners, thinking of their last experience with a “service” animal, subsequently try to refuse access to the legimitate handler.
Having said that, I do know people who have self-trained service dogs, but these are people with years of experience working dogs and who clearly understand that simply sticking a vest on a pet dog does not turn them into a service dog.
As for your questions about continuing education for the dog and how people react and what daily life is like, here are my experiences. I had my dog during university, so have no experience with colleagues in a workplace.
Even when a dog is received from an organization, they need regular obedience practice in order to keep up thier skills. I’m not sure how a diabetes dog works, but with my guide dog if she accidentally ran me into an obstacle while guiding, we always stopped and “re-worked” the obstacle until she correctly avoided it, to make sure that running into obstacles didn’t become a habit. I also did obedience exercises with her daily or when she got distracted by something and I wanted to bring her attention back to me.
I found that when I was out in public with my dog it attracted a ton of attention. There was rarely a time I could commute without someone striking up a conversation about my dog or their dog or some related topic. I, personally, found this exhausting—but I’m an introvert, so someone who likes talking to people constantly may love the chance to connect and educate. My classmates and professors all loved her, though, and I often took the harness off and people couldn’t believe how different she became when she wasn’t working.
Also, even though it is not supposed to happen, it is pretty much guaranteed that a service dog handler will be refused access to a public place at some point. For me this happened at a public library, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. There are laws that say this type of refusal is illegal, but there are people who are either not aware of this, not aware of what a service dog is, or who simply don’t care.
A service dog, of course, comes with all the same responsibilities as a pet dog, such as taking care of their daily needs (including making sure they get to go use the washroom throughout the day), making sure they are healthy, keeping up with their training, and all the finances that come along with this. Since they will be out in public, it’s also important to groom them often (usually daily). When travelling, dog food, grooming tools, and toys and other dog equipment means that extra baggage is required.
Getting a service dog can be a life-changing decision for a lot of people. It does take a lot of committment and responsibility, and there are occasional bumps in the road, but for many these pale in comparison to the freedom and independence a service dog gives them.