Talking To Handler About Out Of Control SD

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How You Doin'?
Barked: Sun Sep 1, '13 4:29pm PST 
How would you go about expressing your concerns to a handler in this situation?
My style in something like this is to be blunt and, if necessary, brutal with my honesty but I don't want her to dismiss me as a *witch* and something bad happens due to the dog.

Woman lives up the street. Has a large Irish Wolfhound mix that is 4 years old, maybe 5. Have known this dog since he was a puppy and he is one of the worst behaved dogs in the area.

She has MS and a month or so ago, she told several of us that the dog is her SD. Then she said "assistance dog" because "they" changed the legal definition.

His task is to pick her up when she falls down.
99% of the time, she has fallen down because the dog has pulled her down.
And he doesn't stick around to pick her up, he's running around or chasing someone's pet or harassing a passerby and has to be caught by someone else.
She has had several broken bones this year and she always has skinned or freshly bloodied knees from him pulling her down.

The week before, he ripped the leash out of her hand to attack someone's cat. He actually had the cat in his mouth.

5 or 6 days later, he ripped the leash out of her hand again to enter onto private property to chase another cat. The only reason he didn't get that cat is because we got him slowed down enough that the cat was able to run through a hole in the fence next to our house a split second before the dog got to the hole.

She doesn't feel the attacks on cats are a problem because he's a dog and dogs chase cats.
Animal control could deem his to be an aggressive dog because it is against the law in this county for a dog to go off its property and attack another animal but she says that can't happen because they were just cats outside.

I've seen him so out of control when seeing another dog that he was rearing and lunging on his Gentle Leader and barking and growling at the other dog.
He pulled her down last year and jumped a friend's dog that is fear reactive to dogs larger than her.
The reaction to other dogs is not a problem according to her because he "just wants to say hi."

A few days ago, she told a neighbor she just had someone come to her house to "certify" him as an SD so she can take him on airline flights.

If we are out, she always wants to stop by so he can say hi to Chance.
He isn't allowed to play with Chance because he is a bully. Chest bumps to try to knock other dogs over, jumping up onto the back, etc.

He hasn't been by since the last cat attack but we don't want her bringing him anywhere near Chance in case she loses control of him yet again.
I don't want to witness him attacking a cat or small dog that is in a bad place at a bad time.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Sun Sep 1, '13 7:39pm PST 
Personally I'd find a good trainer in your area (preferably one with some service dog experience) and next time you see her casually mention you noticed that she was having a little problem with him pulling and mention that you could recommend a good trainer to help her. The dog might just need some training. But at this point it's impossible to tell without seeing. This leaves you out of the situation but still offers some help. If that doesn't work I'd call animal control, because if the dog is that big and unsafe I don't want to come across it in public. That's the kind of thing that can ruin a working service dog.

How You Doin'?
Barked: Sun Sep 1, '13 11:05pm PST 
I can try suggesting a trainer but don't know how much good that will do.

When the dog was an older puppy/young adult, she decided he was "dominant" because her family would leave his Gentle Leader on when he played, part of the GL would slip into his mouth and he'd chew through it.
So she hired a private trainer who made them stop talking to him, stop socializing him, stop petting him, stop playing with him and stop exercising him for 3 or 4 weeks.
Then the trainer came in and employed aversive techniques to stop the "dominance."
It "worked" for a while but the dog eventually learned to ignore these techniques to the point he was sustaining injuries.
And he ended up being even more out of control than he had been.

She did recently pay for a "calm and control" class (based off of "Control Unleashed) at a good training facility 1/4 mile away.
But she never bothered to show up for a single class.

I also found out that she has been telling people that the dog bit her recently.

My biggest concern is one of the little kids in the neighborhood is going to be between the dog and a cat and get seriously injured the next time she loses control over him.

Animal control said the owner of the attacked cat has to contact them and file a complaint. The handler is involved with the rescue that adopted out the cat and another pet to the cat's owner. Once she found out she could get in trouble for the attack, she started voicing "concerns" that the rescue may have to seize both animals for their "safety." I don't see the cat owner filing a complaint.
So right now it's just a leashed dog that got away from its owner chasing a cat that was not harmed in any way.

It scares me to think of what he would do in an airport and airline environment. She's very excited he can fly with her for free in the cabin and "looking forward to the 1st trip" (whenever that may be.)


How You Doin'?
Barked: Wed Sep 4, '13 8:26pm PST 
I kind of talked to her this evening.

She told me they have to fly out for a funeral so he dog will be making his 1st airline flight.
She thought she would have to buy the dog a ticket and the dog would be required to sit in the airline seat and was surprised he flew for free and was to sit in front of her seat in bulkhead seating.

She said the dog doesn't like engine noise so she doesn't know how he'll react during takeoff and landing.

Barked: Thu Sep 5, '13 6:18am PST 
Someone is going to get hurt by that dog and it is going to reflect poorly on all of us. >:/ Oberon may find himself on a plane in another 8 months or so. but I could tell you today how he'd react to the sights and sounds of an airport and flying. She sounds either willfully ignorant or possibly like she may have a mental illness that's not letting her think clearly about her dog's behavior vs what she's seen or what she might expect of a service dog in public.

How You Doin'?
Barked: Thu Sep 5, '13 4:58pm PST 
Having been around her for several year, I'd have to go with self-absorbed & oblivious.

If Chance hadn't been eating dinner I would have taken the time to find out what training she's done to prepare him for an airport and airplane, express my concerns, etc. But I didn't want her coming over to our side of the street with Chance munching away on her elk.

I can't imagine this being anything but a disaster, especially if he sees or hears another animal. He's so big I can't see him fitting in front of her seat. They'll have to change planes in Denver.

Barked: Fri Sep 6, '13 7:44am PST 
Even if he is consider a service dog, if the airline or the TSA sees this bad behavior and considers it a threat to other people's safety, the dog will not be allowed on the flight. They will kick her off and, more than likely, refuse to refund her ticket.

You seem in a tight spot otherwise. I don't know if calling the police versus animal control would help in this situation.

Lolly girl
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 10:47am PST 
Umm, I don't feel this dog is SD material with all these bad/dangerous habits. She really needs to be educated and taken to a SD program for a visit, to see the dogs in action/training, maybe that will open her eyes. She is putting a lot of people in danger taking this dog out from the sound of it, not to mention herself.

If it acts this bad I don't see her getting into the airport let alone on the plane. Personally if I ran into her and that dog I would call animal control and file a complaint..this is a very bad situation for all SD handlers. She needs to get a program dog, since it does not seem like she knows anything about training her own SD. I don't see her being able to bring another dog into the house with this dog either....just my opinion..but it sounds like a very very bad situation! frown

Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 4:06pm PST 
Unfortunately, business owners and "people of authority" for the most part are extremely skittish about kicking out SDs for fear of legal repercussions so while this "SD" is absolutely not an SD, unfortunately because there is no certification requirement, it's probable that nobody will say anything.

It sounds like this lady is clueless and any attempt to talk reason with her won't work, because she's simply unreasonable. I really don't know what to say.

(This is why I don't support the current SD laws, but that's a topic for another thread!)
Lucy Ribeiro

Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 10:40pm PST 
Well for one I wouldnt speak to the handler. I would go to the manager of wherever they are and alert them the dog is out of control and the handler isnt doing anything to correct it. Even if its a real service dog and not a internet service animal if its out of control or a danger to the rest of the patrons in the business it can be kicked out but they still have to provide services to the handler just off the property once the dog has been controlled. Also alert the business owner that for legal protection have another staff member with them as a witness. If the person becomes Irate they can call the police for help to remove the handler and service animal and then may need you to remain as a witness to the SD being out of control.

I also dont agree with the current laws in regards to SD I believe they should require some form of paperwork and a single place to get it so that every dog that enters is a actual SD and not a internet one.
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