Let people pet your service dog

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

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I grin from ears- to chin :D

Barked: Wed Feb 6, '13 8:33pm PST 
Of course it's ok to let your dog work off lead, if it's trained to do so and necessary for your disability.
It's common to see off lead SDs in Germany, in stores, train station, office buildings. Especially dogs, who are trained for people with mobility issues, wheel chairs, etc.
Also here in CA, DC, Chicago, Seattle, NY I have seen it on several occasions..
It's not uncommon to see a dog placed in an area in a small store, where it's out of the way and it's owner can roam the store without having to focus on maneuvering with it.
I do that, too. I have downed Jolanda in really tight places, worked with her off lead, seen several teams do it.
It's absolutely legal and not as uncommon as one would think.

Especially in this context it's essential that the dog is trained to not care about being petted or distracted.
Also you as a handler can chose whether or not you mind your dog being touched and approached.
I don't mind in general, cause my dogs don't care.
There are times where I do mind. I usually ask people not to touch and am physically clear about my message by blocking, moving in or the dog out of the way.
I am usually friendly or ignore people.

Hope I could help, sonja and the crew.

Edited by author Wed Feb 6, '13 8:44pm PST

Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 10:59am PST 
I don't think I would ever dare to work Sadie of lease even if I could. There are too many varitables that could happen to her I would not be able to deal with it.

Barked: Sat Feb 23, '13 4:16am PST 
I started out letting people pet Levi but had to quickly discontinue this because as a very social and friendly SDiT, it was disrupting his focus and started making him seek out people for attention instead of paying attention to me. Still though, it amazes me how some people don't even ask. I'm still working on being okay with saying no and interrupting someone's petting if they've already started but it's better for him to not have the distraction until he's more solid with his focus and about his role and even then, like everyone else said, it'll be on my terms.

As far as the leash thing goes, while technically speaking you are allowed to go without one, it's another one of those things that's about managing people's expectations, which many will tell you is half the battle of having a SD. Just like service dogs are technically allowed to bark as an alert, I know most of us don't have them do so unless it's absolutely necessary to the particular situation because people expect service dogs to be seen and not heard, even though that is not always the case. I would say that the general public probably has a base knowledge of service dogs, in that they are specially trained working dogs for people with disabilities and allowed lots of places other dogs aren't, so sometimes you have to think in terms of what is generally expected as a social rule, just to make your life easier.

Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Sat Feb 23, '13 10:40am PST 
At the risk of repeating myself I also want to state that I Do make a point most the time I am letting people pet Sadie to know that not all people like their SDs petted. I do when I am not in a hurry and people are nice enough to ask. There really is no harm when I am just puttering a long and in no hurry to get anywhere. But on the other hand when I am in a hurry I really don't like being waylayed either. There are also those times I am feeling funny around people and really not feeling that I like being around anyone. Thanks guest for complementing about Sadie being intelgent Yes she is very so like her bredd was discribed to me she has never let me down. She and I work well and all my life I have had the instink that Dogs can be smarter then most people and Sadie dose understand what I am telling her I found I am not going to use a lot of fancy words with her that I don't use day to day. Sadie does not respond to anyone but me she will look to me everytime when people have offered her treats even. I have taught her that way for her safety. I give her credit for her entelegents cause that is just me. I am now at an age that I feel it teedeous to debate useless issues that I hold firm and dear to. I use Sadie for MULTI disabilities that I have form mobilitie to hearing. Sadie performs very well and with out difficultie or tyering of her duties. I have had a couple people think and pittie Sadie thinking I over work her or use her in a manner that she can not perform. But many of friends and family have seen Sadie happy to perform her duties in helping me with my Day to day life. Just like she was ment to when I got her. I treat her the way she should be treated with respect that she earns as my partner. I have never had trouble with any of my pets in my life so I knew that I could train a dog for SD work.
I just had to get over the thought of difficultie of it. Since I was planning to train her for working with me. People think She is cute yes and Sadie loves people as I said in my last few posts.
She does not get distracting and I have to ask myself why if there is no harm "Not " allow them to pet her if I am not in a hurry and if I am up to a few questions about Sadie and her training and work I will do so. Most the time I have trouble though answering questions about her work cause she dose not do just one pasific task for me. I have many different patches on all of Sadie's Vests and packs. She has one vest and two back pks. and a Thundershirt. She wear all of the at different opertunities when we are. Since I have to work a lot with a worker that dose not allow me to have her in her car with me when I am working with her. I have not been able to take her to many places of yet but I do work her with other people when I have the chance. I do have a disabilitie that mendigates the use of a SD by doctors orders and the laws under the ADA.
My town also recognieses her as a SD that is being used as a working dog for my disablities.
I have been also chalenged on this also with a few ignorent people thinking they know what a SD was. I don't like it when people do that, it's hard enough when I am asked normal questions or block me when they want to pet Sadie and I am not up to it. People are for the most part as I said are polite and ask to pet her. So I guess this post was a lil longer then it was meant to be.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Apr 30, '13 11:46am PST 
while it is your decision to let people pet your service dog, it doesn't help people at the other end of the spectrum. it can blur the lines of service dog and companion dog for people and it teaches people that it's okay to pet working dogs, even without asking. i have a psychiatric service dog and it is very important that he stays focused on me and that i can go somewhere, just once, without ten or twelve people getting upset at me because i wouldn't let them pet him but they were allowed to pet other service dogs. it also blurs the lines for the dog because they don't recognize work time from play time.
Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Tue Apr 30, '13 12:04pm PST 
I agree with guess as I said for the most part I do not let people pet Sadie and have that on her vest. Many down here where I am except that I don't let people pet her and I see guest's point too at the consiquenses of letting people pet your service Dog. Because those people are going on thinking that all service dogs can be pet, even my worker did that to one. I reppramended her on it and the guy who was working the dog did not say anything. ( He had to the begining when she first asked but then she ended up doing it anyway.) I did not though and gave him this sites ADDY cause he needed some advice.
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