Join Date: Nov 2012
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I'm new to the board, but not new to service dogs. I really enjoyed this thread and how solidly your dog is alerting so quickly.
What I wanted to address is your concerns about the dog in public. I have had a service dog since 2008. Taking a well trained dog into public is really not that bad. Don't worry. True, there are people who look at you like they are judging you but there are just as many who applaud you. It balances out. One bit of advice though is to stand up for your dog. I have had people literally tell their children to go play with the dog in a WalMart. I have had people saying "I know I shouldn't pet . . ." while reaching for the dog. I have had lots of "drive-by" pettings where they just pet on the fly in passing. By and large, I don't encourage people to pet the dog. We are there to achieve a task and not socialize. Every so often I stop and allow petting like my dog loves elderly women because his puppy raiser was an elderly lady it is just warms his heart to be petted by someone who reminds him of his lady, but by and large it's best to be armed with a quip phrase like "The doggy is in school today and when you are in school you can only listen to the teacher and not be talking to lots of people. I'm the teacher". The adult version is "I'm sorry the dog is doing training today and we are focused on achieving some goals". I don't want people petting the dog anymore than I would want them touching a wheelchair. I have heard horrible things like people knocking people down and kicking the dog, but I have never had anything really bad happen. My favorite is while standing in Walmart alone with the dog looking at photo frames a guy coming up and saying "So you're blind, huh?". When I said no, he said "So what's wrong with you?". Just practice what you want to say and how much you want to reveal. Don't push the dog too fast, start with off-peak shopping times and work up to busier stores or stranger places. Always be aware of if the dog is enjoying the activity or exhibiting stress responses.
Anyway, I look forward to hearing more of your thread and encourage you to continue. Have a blood sugar alert dog is fabulous.