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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Super Star
Barked: Thu Oct 3, '13 11:10pm PST 
Astra is my 15 week old Silken Windhound pup. She is my SD prospect, but will begin learning the basics soon.

Since I've had her home a simple walk down the street results in many heads turned and even more questions. I can only imagine what it will be like when she is grown up and in full coat.

For those of you with rare, uncommon, or unusual SD breeds how do you handle the constant barrage of interest in knowing about your dog, your dog's breed, and where they can get their very own dog "just like that"?

Lolly girl
Barked: Fri Oct 4, '13 9:27am PST 
Hi and welcome..You will always have to deal with questions and can I pet. Some people make flyers with info about SD etiquette and how to act when a person see's a SD team. I have done this in the past and it does help. I let them know that any breed can be a SD, if they have the right temperament and they must have SD training, public access training, etc...On my flyer I also put the law regarding people using a FAKE SD as this is fraud and I also list the fine amount and jail time.

You can put info on your flyer that states this along with the etiquette stuff or you can order SD etiquette cards off of the internet along with the ADA law cards they don't cost much, and just hand those out.

Just be aware that you will have days when people will drive you a little nuts and other days when no one bothers you at all. I just try to educate when I feel up to it and if not I just keep my response very short, keep moving and or don't make eye contact. you will get use to it.
Good luck with your beautiful pup dog

Barked: Sat Oct 5, '13 3:31am PST 
Honestly, it's hard to deal with sometimes. There are times I try to pretend I don't hear them and keep walking or I have my husband deal with answering them. It just seems never ending sometimes. You go a few feet and people stop you for pics or to ask what kind of dog he is. I especially hate the shouters. "OMG! WHAT KIND OF DOG IS THAT! HE IS ADORABLE! CAN I PET HIM!" I can be on the phone talking, eating, or in the middle of talking to my husband or kids and people just butt right in. I've had them interrupt us while we were eating and have tried to politely tell them while covering my mouth that I'm eating and hoping they'll take the hint and leave because of course they always show up when I have a mouthful of food but they just wait till I finnish swallowing for me to answer. Sorry but I just feel it's rude to interrupt people trying to enjoy a nice meal. There was one time I was on the phone and a guy interrupted my conversation and I told him politely I'm on the phone and instead of going away he stood there listening to my phone conversation till I was done just to ask what kind of dog Sarge was. There are times I just want to hang a big banner on him saying he is a Saint Bernard/ Standard Poodle mix, but I don't think that will stop people. Sarge has Do Not Pet Patches on each side of his vest and they are big patches. One even says the whole No Touch No Talk No Eye contact, but adults don't read it. It's funny because we took our kids to Charlie Safarie which is a indoor play area for kids and while I was sitting there with Sarge laying at my feet I kept getting adults coming to ask to pet him or ask what he is. I could hear parents say to their kids " Look at the puppy. You want to pet it? Lets go ask to pet the puppy." It's great that the tell their kids to go ask but can't they just read the patches? One of our friends who was there actually made the observation because we had young kids actually stop and read the patches out loud to themselves which saved me the trouble of having to tell them no he can't be petted because he's working. Even with all the hassle we have to go through I wouldn't trade Sarge for the world. He's helped me a lot and I don't know what I would do without him.


Where did I bury- that bone- again...
Barked: Sat Oct 5, '13 2:35pm PST 
Wow in response to Sarge's comment, I would've thought that the patches that say no petting would be enough of a deterrent for people.

I dont have a service dog but I know how challenging it can be to just get through a busy area without having every person try and stop you to pet the puppy. Its especially difficult when they dont want to control their behaviour so my puppy will learn good habits around meeting people. It might sound bad but my partner has gotten pushed to the point of telling everyone my pup is aggressive just so people will leave him alone. Of course, he has very good manners meeting people and dogs but sometimes you just need a break!

Barked: Sat Oct 5, '13 6:18pm PST 
Polly's human,
Would you be willing to share the info cards you made? I would be thrilled to see what you used. There are no other service dog teams in my area so I know once Samson is ready to go out with me that there will be a ton of questions, etc. If you have it in digital form, I will gladly share my email for you to send it to me. THANK YOU!!!

Lolly girl
Barked: Sun Oct 6, '13 2:36pm PST 
Samson...I ordered the ADA law and Etiquette cards on SitStay website. I can't find my copy of the flyers I made, I thought I saved them on my computer..but I can't find them.

I guess when I got my new computer I didn't save that over. Anyway, on the front page of the flyer I put a picture of Polly in her vest then under that I put in bold large letter SERVICED DOG ETIQUETTE..it said something like a service dog is not a pet it is a specially trained dog that assist a person with a disability, some disabilities are visible and some are not. My dog is trained to assist me with my disability. When you see a service dog DO NOT: pet, talk too, bark, feed, distract, or interfere with the dog in anyway. THen I put something like, don't get mad if the handler does not feel like talking to you or letting you pet their service dog, you may me the 50th person that day that has approached them, remember the service dog is working and the handler may be tired or not feeling well.

just stuff like that, is what I had on the flyer, you can look up service dog etiquette on line to get some ideas for your flyer. inside the flyer I put info about the ADA law access and I also put that comfort and Emotional support dogs are not covered under the law, and only dogs are used service animals. I also put the laws for my state, California, regarding FAKE service dogs, the fine amount and jail time stuff like that.....I hope this helps, sorry I could not find my flyer copy..I have not used them for about 1 1/2 years. Now I just carry the two cards with the ADA law and SD Etiquette and a copy of the California penal codes for SD. WHewwww laugh out loud this got kinda long...dog Hope this helps you, my head is kinda foggy today..hope this is readable

Barked: Sun Oct 6, '13 4:21pm PST 
This is an interesting topic for me personally as well. Oberon is a blue merle smooth coat collie and he always gets questions and comments. Everyone wants to know what mix he is or if he "really is" a collie since his face shape is a dead giveaway. It's amazing the number of people who exclaim they've never seen a dog with his coloring before either.

I would've gladly picked a more recognizable or typical dog, but the smooth collie just had so much that we wanted or needed. I asked his breeder to pick the dog for us and it just so happened to be the flashiest color.

I love Obee, think he's beautiful, and I'm very glad with his training progress...but sometimes the attention gets to be a bit much.

Barked: Sun Oct 6, '13 4:31pm PST 
Polly and her person,
That is great! Thank you so much! I am thrilled to have all this great information and the resource of so many of you who know what you are doing. I have never seen a service dog in my area so even tho Samson is a great pyrenees/hound mix, I will still have lots of questions I am sure. His size alone brings questions as he is taller than my waist and I am 5'8".
Brady SD

Full steam- ahead.
Barked: Sun Oct 6, '13 11:58pm PST 
I'll second Obie's mom on the issues with Smooth-coated Collies, but instead of merle, I have tricolor. Oh the comments "Is that a Collie, is that a collie mix, is that a GSD, is the a doberman mix". Generally the Collie nose does give it away, but I just tell them the breed and be done with it. Often people admire the short hair, which they don't associate with the breed, but then I tell them don't be fooled, it shed just as much (if not more).

As for petting, I tell them no, simply and with a bit of firmness, otherwise they will still try or persist. Sometimes they will ask "does he/she bite?", which upon the "no" they take as a free pass to pet without almost further asking. Patches are hit and miss whether people see/read them or ignore them. As for general harassment/ pestering, I usually ignore or gently tell these people off as in "uh, I'm busy" or "he is working and we cannot be bothered". Had a elderly guy in Winn-Dixie ask me to stop walking so he could 'see' Brady. It's like 'sorry dude, I'm on a mission and am not a parade'. You have to try to just shake them off as best as you can by your own means and personality.

I like Polly's cards for education on the fly.

Like it has been said, any breed or mix can do an SD job with the right training and ability, some will just receive more attention, good or bad, than others. Often the rarer the breed/mix, the more curious. The more known for being protective or aggressive in the public eye, the more caution. Even for a Collie, that 'could be a GSD' look has had some people just a tad worried from what I have observed on how they react, or could just be a general fear of dogs. :/ Happily I mostly get the curious and happy types. smile
Charlie- Chaplin

A day without- laughter is a- day wasted
Barked: Mon Oct 7, '13 10:54am PST 
People did this with Baby a lot, and you're gonna get it a lot more once your pup starts going out with her vest.

Baby's a mutt though he's likely an english shepherd, or aussie mix, or gordon, etc. So sometimes I just say one of those, or a mix of one. But sometimes I make up really long, strange breed names for them and once I convinced someone that Baby (don't even remember the breed I decided to make up for him) is a breed that is used in the amazon to held grow moss on their fur for cultures and rare bugs with medicinal properties as well as hunt and tree monkeys for the indigenous people there. People believe almost anything if you tell them with a straight face and speak matter of factly -- especially if you have a service dog vest on the pup.

They asked how I got him. I told them my brother is a researcher for indigenous tribes and that they give him Baby as a gift for learning some alternative medicine practices.

Some pranksters convinced people to give directions to a "blind man's guide dog" by point at routes on a map, haha.
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