So-called service animals

Discussion in 'Animals & Pets' started by perdidochas, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    I'm starting to become afraid of "service dogs", and now, I feel more frightened by "service dogs" than I am by the typical dog. Let me relay two anecdotes for this fear:

    The latest was when I was walking with my wife around my neighborhood Sunday evening. We were enjoying the 78 degree relatively cool evening walking around our neighborhood. In front of us was a teenaged girl on her cellphone with a mostly grown German Shepherd Dog with a "service dog" type vest on. The dog was at the end of one of the 15 foot or so retractible leashes, and I thought it was walking loose at first. It started coming for me and my wife, not really aggressively, but not wagging it's tail either. My wife was mauled by a dog as a child (surgeon stopped counting the stitches on her face at 300), and is afraid of most larger dogs (she's gotten better in the almost 23 years I've been with ther, but I think she just got a relapse). The dog was coming towards us, my wife started panicking, the girl started yelling at the dog (to no avail, that dog did not respect her order a bit). I got in between the dog and my wife, and my hand was actually nipped by the dog (i.e. I felt teeth on my skin, as well as got dog saliva all over my hand). That is the first time I've ever been bitten by a dog that wasn't my own puppy. No, it didn't leave a mark, much less break the skin, but it rattled me a bit (and my wife much more). It was partly my fault, because of my stupid assumption that a vest saying service dog meant that the dog had been trained. Normally, when big dogs approach I get in between the dog and my wife immediately.

    Another similar incident happened to me about a year ago, again with a vestedd service dog, this time a Great Dane. I had been sailing with my wife (both of us in individual Sunfish sailboats), and had beached my boat so I could help her with her boat. I ended up leaving her with her boat, and walked up the beach to mine. There was a family with a Great Dane with a vest on. I was on the beach (not in their direct area), and the dog bounded towards me. When it was about 5 feet from me, it was stopped by the owner, as she was shouting "he's a service dog" at me. Scared me to have 150+ pounds of angry dog coming for me. A service dog should not be approaching other people.

    Anyway, the point is, that unless I can tell the owner has an obvious disability, my new assumption is that a service dog is an undisciplined faux service dog, and is probably more dangerous than any other dog I will encounter, primarily because it's owners are undisciplined dog owners who think they need mental health support from a dog.

    To me it's a shame that these people that are pretending to have service dogs in order to allow their dogs to be able to go into no pet areas, are making me look at real service dogs with suspicion. I'm usually against laws about things like this, but we need to set up some kind of real service dog certification. I'm tired of being scared and concerned about these faux service dogs. I'm all for real service dogs. I think they are a great asset for the blind, especially. I just don't like these faux service dogs tarnishing the good name of the real service dogs.
     
  2. Shook

    Shook Active Member

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    A great dane breed is a very unlikely service dog -- not unheard of but rare -- for the simple reason that it takes between 18 to 24 months to train and certify a service dog, and great dane life expectancy is only 6 years. That got my attention. Here are a few notes on the subject:

    Training and certification of a true service dog costs $22,000-$50,000. One thing that buys is assurance that the dog is extemely well disciplined to not do what these dogs did to you and your wife.

    While researching the costs of a real service dog, I found that vests stating "Service Dog" in large letters sell on eBay for $10-$20 delivered.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  3. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I suspect that many of these "service dogs" were rejects from real disabled people, animals who did not perform adequately enough.

    What do you do when you've spent $20,000 training an animal, and despite all that investment, the dog is still unsuitable for a blind person to rely upon?

    Sell it to normal people, with the sales pitch that the animal has already gone through lots of training, and in many ways will be more disciplined than an ordinary dog you might otherwise buy.

    Maybe they started the training on a dog, and at some point into the program, the trainers realized that that animal would probably be unsuitable as a service animal, and the training was discontinued.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  4. Shook

    Shook Active Member

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    Cool story
     
  5. Seth Bullock

    Seth Bullock Well-Known Member Donor

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    I know a combat vet who has a service dog. It's a black lab, and it is a 100% professionally trained service dog, raised for this purpose since it was a puppy. The dog is completely gentle, totally obedient, and absolutely reliable around the public and other animals. From what I've seen of this true service dog, those dogs you encountered are NOT service dogs.
     
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  6. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    GS Dogs tend to "flea bite". Their tails normally don't wag but it's a symbol of 'play time!'.

    If the GS "bit" you but didn't leave a massive hole in your hand, it was just a flea bite. I think the dog was expressing it's playfulness to you. But yes, the owner or recipient of the service dog should have more control.
     
  7. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Sorry- meant to add this part. Hit "post" too early.

    Here's my limited experience with service dogs. My neighbor of 3 years prior to me moving recently, is blind. He wakes up every morning for work, and his service dog (German Shepherd) guides him to the Metro in the morning, then off at their stop, and then 4 blocks to his office.

    He had to spend 6 months training with the dog and the dog's handler prior to their first day alone. They took courses together a few days a week, they lived together periodically. They practiced their routes, they constantly practiced commands (pressure commands- such as if the dog deviates from the plan), and since he can't see, he had to know when other people were near the dog to protect them in case the dog were to get aggressive. So they trained on that for several months.

    All in all, it's a great service dog that's given this man an easier way of life.
     
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  8. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    I agree totally. My thing now is that I am actually more afraid of "service dogs" than I am of a typical dog. These scammers are ruining things for people who really need help.
     
  9. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    I do agree that they weren't real service dogs. Back in the old days, all the service dogs I saw were extremely well trained and obedient. It's been in the last 5 years when some scammers realized that there are no real laws governing service dog training, hence, all it really takes is a $10 vest.
     
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  10. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    There was no playfullness in this. I'm sure it wasn't a serious attack, but it was aggression, and I'm sure it was fed by my wife's fear expressing itself.
     
  11. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    And I think real service dogs are a great thing. I admire the trainers who spend the extraordinary amount of time and patience to train a dog to properly help somebody. I hate fake service dogs, with people who buy a vest, so that they can bring their dogs anywhere.
     
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  12. ArmySoldier

    ArmySoldier Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    If someone fakes a service dog, they should be relieved of their animal and it should be sent to a real family.

    Faking a service dog should be a serious crime. I'll admit, I do not know what the consequences are for faking a service dog. They should be severe though.
     
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  13. scarlet witch

    scarlet witch Well-Known Member Donor

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    Conan is the ultimate service dog
     
  14. James California

    James California Well-Known Member Donor

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    ~ There are too many fake service animals in stores these days. I recently watched one barking and lunging on a leash while the owner tried to control things - smiling the whole time.
    The security person made them leave the store.
    I am waiting for people to start bringing cats and birds shopping with them . [​IMG] [​IMG] ´
     

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