|Barked: Fri Dec 27, '13 6:05pm PST |
|Dog do I even want to get involved in this again?
I am an OT. I have high standards for my SD, and get many compliments on his training, I've lost count of the number of people who say he's the most well trained dog they've ever been around.
That said, I am pretty lenient on what some people here would label as obvious "faker" behavior. There are many reasons for inappropriate behavior and not all of them are that the dog is a fake SD. These are animals NOT robots, and no animal is perfect. The line comes when you start judging and deciding what YOU think is not okay, without considering what the handler may think or in fact need. For example, I saw a team in Wal-Mart the other day. I live in a very rural area, and this is only the 2nd SD team I have ever seen here. The dog was distracted as soon as it saw Link (not lunging or barking, just distracted), and was obviously not used to working around other dogs. The handler chose to avoid us so she could continue her shopping. Rather than immediately judging this handler and label them as fakers or their dog as an "unsuitable" SD, I took the circumstance into consideration. This is a rural area, it is VERY difficult to find people with stable dogs to train and proof with, especially in an environment that only SDs are allowed in. I was involved with the kennel club here for a time and I still had a hard time with this. So, we can either take our chances and train in unsafe environments around unpredictable dogs and potentially ruin our SD prospects, or, we can do what we can while still keeping our dogs safe, and keep in mind that the chances of running into another SD team in this area are very slim. Personally, I'd rather take a chance of my dog being distracted (Note, NOT aggressive, unsocialized, etc, just not bomb proof/unphased like many SDs in big cities are), for a few moments, then put my dog and my future at risk. This is one example, there are many more that could contribute to a team being put in a situation they did not anticipate and were not able to train for for many different reasons (such as an escalator, traveling on a bus or plane, or going to a zoo when visiting family in a big town, just because you can't conceive of not having access to these things, doesn't mean it doesn't happen).
Unfortunately by having this view, many people would rather say things like this forum "excuses bad behavior" when really IMO most of us are just trying to be UNDERSTANDING, and realize that not everyone has access to the training opportunities schools and professional trainers do, but that DOES NOT MEAN they should not be able to benefit from being partners with a SD, as long as they are reasonable and not working agressive dogs or the like. I did not see anywhere that people were saying to always excuse bad behavior, but that we should at least give the person the benefit of the doubt. That seems pretty reasonable to me.
I recently traveled with my boyfriend to visit his sister in Seattle, something I do not plan on doing again because I do not do well in big cities. I had Link with me of course, because he IS my service dog. He does not have the focus I would like when working around other dogs in SD environments such as grocery stores and restaurants, because we did not have local opportunity to practice this, nor financial ability let alone the health to travel to places where I could do this. Link didn't cause any problems, and he still helped me more than any medication can. This is not something that happens often in my life. Yet, if some of the more judgmental people here (and on certain social network websites) saw us, they may label me as a faker, or my dog as unsuitable for SD work. Neither of those things could be farther from the truth. Where I live and spend 99.9% of my time, Link is impeccable, and allows me to function and participate in life. Yet, some people would judge us based on a few moments of time, and question my right to have a SD. That is not right, and THAT is what I have a problem with when people are so quick to label "fakers."
Certain people on this post are assuming far too much, and are also being incredibly judgemental. All I get from the people defending behavior that may deviate from the norm, is that we should be more understanding. When is more understanding ever bad, and judgemental behavior ever good?
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