|Barked: Fri Oct 19, '12 2:22pm PST |
|First off there is no legitimate certification, there are a number of scam registries and certifications out there but they have no baring on your situation. In addition at her age she is not a service dog yet, she is a service dog in training and as such it's important for you to understand that your rights to public access come from state law rather than federal (ADA). The difference is that while CA does have public access for service dogs in training you do need to register her as such with the county (in order to benefit from state protection as a fully trained service dog you also need this registration tag). It is Very important here to recognize that this is not a federal registration and if you had a fully trained service dog you could get by with out that but you wouldn't get any of the protections under state law.
Now, I don't agree that she should be going Everywhere with you. Puppy training runs should be kept short and done in such a way that it's set up for her to succeed. The more chances she has to practice good behavior rather than bad the quicker she will learn.
By the way there is a huge difference between socialization runs and desensitizing runs, and training runs. On both of these you need to have your full attention on your dog rather than running to get your groceries or something else. You need to be able to focus on what she's doing, and recognize when she's had enough and stop before she get's to that point. Rushing training will only make it harder for her to succeed.
She will learn what your normal body rate is without going everywhere, and the risk of her going everywhere at this point is that she could be soured to public work, that and you still have some fear periods to get through as well, and bad exposure is a huge issue with service dog prospects.
Now... all of that aside it takes a lot of practice to get to the point where you can confidently deal with the public. A lot of it comes from looking as professional as possible, it helps you feel more confident when you look professional. At first this means stick with standard color vests - red or blue are best rather than cutie colors. Avoid overly colorful patches and try to stick to things that get the point across simply.
Next decide how much you're willing to tell the public about your condition. You can take the educational route and teach people about service dogs and about your condition and how they can help, or you can take the silent route, either way is your choice. Your medical condition is your business not theirs. Then I come up with a basic statement to the most common questions. Practice saying it as often as possible, the more you say it the better you'll be when you have to. Ultimately the biggest thing is time though. You get better with practice though, and if you need to just talk I'm more than willing. I am a long time handler, and a have a lot of practice dealing with the public.
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