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Another service dog etiquette question

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Snowy

A Doggie Scholar
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 22, '06 11:50pm PST 
First of all, let me express my gratitude towards all the SD doggies that have given me advice and information in the past. Snowy's not a SD, but living in the city, we see plenty of SDs and their owners, and although we try to remain respectful, we don't always know exactly what to do or how to behave. I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to ask questions here, because in public, I don't always know if the SD owners are in the mood to answer some of the most pointed questions I have. So thank you.

Here's my question for today: many of you have talked about how your SD knows that it's off duty when the vest comes off. So if I see a SD without its SD vest or gears, can I assume that these dogs are off duty and allow Snowy to go sniff and say hi?

Of course, if someone with an invisible disability walked around with a vestless SD, I'm sure that this person would understand it if I didn't realize that his/her SD is a working dog. So I guess I'm referring to those with visible disablities.

For instance, I see people in wheelchairs strolling with their vestless dogs on leash. It confuses me, because I know that these dogs could just be pets, but most of 'em are labs and golden retrivers (not to stereotype, but I think those are some of the most popular SD breeds) and are usually very well behaved that I wouldn't be surprised if they are actually SDs.

I know that I can always play it safe and ask, but I don't really want to annoy anyone.. I mean, I can see how when someone doesn't know what an off-duty SD means, that kind of ignorance can be just as annoying as when someone doesn't know what an on-duty SD means.

Just to repharse my question:
1) Is it a universal rule that vest means SD on duty and no vest means SD off duty?
2) Is it okay to treat an off duty SD like any other pet you meet in the street?

Edited by author Wed Mar 22, '06 11:54pm PST

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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 23, '06 1:18am PST 
Hey Snowy, your questions are always welcome!

1) Is it a universal rule that vest means SD on duty and no vest means SD off duty?

Well, it's not like a rule or anything, but in my opinion anyone who has an unvested SD and expects people to guess it is acting as a SD needs to rethink their situation. In my opinion, if you don't have your SD vested then you have no right to be upset if someone treats your dog like a regular dog. Of course, if the person says "my dog is working" when you approach you should respect that.


2) Is it okay to treat an off duty SD like any other pet you meet in the street?


In my opinion, yes! SDs get down time, too, and at least when Sabrina is unvested she is allowed to act more like a doggy and play with other dogs etc.


If I were you and I saw for example a person in a wheelchair with a well behaved dog that seemed like a SD but it wasn't vested, I would definately ask if the dogs could say hi if that's what you normally do with other regular dogs. Since the dog isn't vested, how can you know unless you ask?

Personally I don't understand why some people have no vest/working harness on their SDs. There is even one girl I've seen around campus in an electric wheelchair with a toy breed SD and she doesn't even have him on lead ever. It's actually quite annoying because her dog doesn't always respond to her voice commands and has approached Sabrina before. She's all yelling at her dog to come but since she doesn't have him leashed he ignores her and approaches Sabrina with his hackles up. Luckily nothing bad has happened, but still it's very annoying!
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Minnie

Best Little- Breed on Four- Legs
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 23, '06 7:13am PST 
This is very good information to know! Too bad everyone with children can't read this.
I know not to bother a SD when he is apparently working, but did not know about the vest thing.
Thanks for the info!

Minnie
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Snowy

A Doggie Scholar
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 23, '06 7:37am PST 
Thanks for the clarification Sabrina! I guess when I see an un-vested doggie with a disabled person,it's okay for me to ask "Can my dog say hi?" instead of the long winded "Is he a SD, and if so, is he off duty, and if so can my dog say hi?" whew!

Edited by author Thu Mar 23, '06 7:38am PST

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Lily CGC- 2001-2014

Enjoying- Retirement
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 24, '06 1:47pm PST 
Sabrina that dog sounds like it's acting very unSDly like if she is representing it as one. If she's representing it as one, it sounds more like it is really a pet she's saying is an SD. You shouldn't have to scream at your SD to make them obey commands especially not in public. That girl really needs to rethink having her dog off leash. My trainer told me "to have your dog off leash (in unfenced areas) means that you are willing to risk it getting lost or something bad happening." She's going to get a real eye opener when the dog sees a little critter or another dog and takes off across a busy street after it and totally ignore the owner. Hopefully when that happens she won't be hit by a car. It sounds like the girl is setting herself up for the dog to get hit or injured by a larger animal.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 24, '06 1:52pm PST 
I know, Lily! It is so frustrating! It's so not fair that someone in a wheelchair can take their pet/ill-behaved SD everywehre and everyone assumes it's just fine and we have so many access challenges with well-behaved SDs!

I, too, feel she should not have her dog off leash. Personally I never let Sabrina off leash unless it's in our front yard... It's just not worth the risk. And if you have to scream at your dog to make it come to you, it's definately not ready to be off leash!
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Purdy Girl

Purdy Girl SDIT
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 30, '06 3:33am PST 
hi just wanted to introduce our selves we are Purdy Girl and her human Terry and we are a service team.Purdy Girl is an owner trained sd. she doesnt wear a vest but does have a sd licence some states recognice the serv.dog licence , ours do. we are in california. the sd licence is free. we got it from the animal control shelter in the city we live in. snowy if your interested we could send you an e-mail with a few website addy's that may be able to answer your questions fully if your interested or if any1 else is please feel free to e-mail us for them we are glad to find other sdteams here and hope to get to know you all8) licks to all from Purdy Girl and waves from her human Terry
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Tiny

Tiny- All Heart with a- Big Bark.
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 30, '06 8:37am PST 
When Tiny is off duty, he is here at home. We do not go off-duty when we are away from home. If I visit my mom (next door-1/4 mile), he will guard the entrance to the house and watch me through the window. (He comes into the house in inclimate or hot weather.) We are never off-duty in a store or public event.

If he is on down, he loves to be petted. I do not think I ever treat Tiny as a pet with the exception of his running time to play ball.

I think that it is important to speak with the handler, always, before approaching no matter the circumstance.
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Dodger Doodlenski

Are we gonna- learn something- new yet?
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 10, '06 6:25pm PST 
Even when Dodger is not wearing her vest she still looks to me for "approval" before going up to someone to say hi. Of course she is only "off duty" here at home and even then she is "on duty" because of how severe my anxiety attacks are. There are days, like today, where I will have one after another for most (or all) of the day. Today I had them pretty much nonstop for a good 4 to 5 hours after I woke up. So Dodger kept alerting all day. But if we are just going out behind the building we live in she is not vested and allowed off leash since she will stay in the back of the building. Once she has done her thing and run around for a bit her leash goes back on her then we come in. But her leash is never taken off before we get out back and always put back on before we come in.
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