General SD attitude based on location

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Aidan, CGC

Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 6:39am PST 
I've been wondering about this for a while now, and mentioned it a little in my last thread. Up here in Providence, I've never seen a fake service dog and when we were doing public access training only had one person tell me "Ma'am? Your dog!" then saw the vest, smiled with an "oh ok!" and left us alone. Keeping in mind I have an invisible dis. and a nontraditional breed I've found the attitude towards SDs here to be pretty good, with a little bit of ignorance but generally I am treated like everyone else. I've also found most SDs around here are Goldens, Labs and GSDs. I actually just saw my first Beagle SD last Friday, headed into the convention center as we walked home from work.

Meanwhile, from what I've read it seems like there are a lot more fake service dogs further west, like in California and Oregon. This also seems to correspond with a lot more access issues. However, when I was invited to Comic Con in San Diego the first thing I saw when I stepped off the plane was a big sign saying "Service Dog relief area this way!" I saw SDs of every size and color constantly, and all over were "service dogs welcome" signs! Something I would never see in New England!

I was wondering what the general attitude of the public was in your neck of the woods. Do you have a lot of fakers? Non traditional breeds? Or are SD's very rare where you live? Do you have to do a lot of educating or are you generally left alone?

Do you think the amount of service dogs/fake service dogs/ access disputes has anything to do with population or weather in your area? I had a theory there were fewer fake SDs here because no one wants to drag a dog around through the snow in 12 degree weather or heavy rain, whereas places like San Diego are nice most of the year. I thought it would be interesting to see if your responses match up with my theory or not!
Riley SDit- CGC

75lb lap dog
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 9:59am PST 
First...you are too friggin cute!!

I live in San Diego and while I have only been training Riley in public for a few months I raised guide pups for several years. I have only seen 2 "fakes". One was a Maltese being carried with a therapy dog vest and barking at Riley and the other was a GSD in a grocery store that happened to be next to a pet store. It had no vest and lunged at one of my guide pups. Then again perhaps both were SD's but they should have been kicked out because either way they were both out of control. I have seen only a handful of other SD's. A Pomeranian who was very well behaved, a couple guide dogs, an aussie, some sort of GIANT mix and one puppy in training from CCI and one from GDB. Not that you cared to hear my detailed list of service dog encounters LOL.

I have only had 3 minor access challenges. All were resolved after a nice explanation. With Riley I had one that I had to give state law to but have never had to call the police
Out of all the hundreds of places I have been, I would say that’s pretty good.

I don’t really see fakes as being too much of a problem. I think all of them would have run with there tails tucked if asked what work or tasks they performed. The only ones I could tell were fakes were because they were out of control so fakes or not they could have been asked to leave. I have had businesses say "its so nice to see a well behaved service dog, we get dogs that come in and pee and bark" I dont get it, read the darn law, you CAN kick them out!

I try to inform them that if a dog comes in and its well behaved, its best to leave it alone. If it comes in and is pulling or sniffing ask the two questions. If the dog is barking, marking or showing aggression kick it out. I swear if businesses just used the law and a little common sense every faker could be weaded out!

Hey! I hear- people landing- on the Moon!
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 10:07am PST 
I haven't had too many issues with a non-traditional SD, and in fact, was pleased the other day when I met a guy who'd just seen something about medical alert dogs, so he was all full of questions about what Beth does for me.

Normally, I wouldn't have given quite as much information about what she does to a stranger, BUT he was genuinely curious, and I figured that education to a "friendly" person would perhaps spread when he told other people that he met a small breed SD that is able to help her handler so very much.

Beth carries Service Dog cards in her vest (love that zipper pocket), but I've rarely had to pull one out and hand them to people. Those are the ones who demand "papers" and tags and all that.

I give them the card, tell them "this should help you with the ADA laws" and walk on without a further word.

And yes, I live in Southern California, though I may soon be moving to downtown San Francisco, if anyone has experience with service dogs up that way.


Lolly girl
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 12:33pm PST 
We live in the central valley California, we have been to Tahoe south shore had a little problem at the beach "no dogs allowed" one older ranger tried to say only guide dogs, younger ranger educated him. been to Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, no problems. Really have not had any access issues everyone is good about it.

Have seen two small dog fakers out of control barking, but have had store employees ask me about fakers because of dogs pooping, peeing, barking and trying to bite people, people bringing in two pitbull pulling and pushy. I educate them about the issues and tell them they can have these dogs removed and even real SD's if they act disruptive ..I also explain a SD can be any breed.

Service Dogs I have seen in my area, Great Dane, Greater Swiss Mounation Dog, labs, goldens, both sizes of poodles, husky or malamute mix?, boxer, cattle dog, yorkie mix and I have seen lab guide dogs

I have wondered how other states are myself...seems the south can be hard on SD teams..

dog walk

Lolly girl
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 12:36pm PST 
Beth...Ollivander "ollie" and his mom live near San Francisco in the bay area

Toovy Doovy Doo- Ready and- Willing!
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 12:44pm PST 
I live in the northern mid west (Michigan) and I haven't met any fakers here. I have met a few program dogs and guides that were being handled by people that broke the rules or let their dogs training slip. confused

I really haven't had many problems with access either.

Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 12:45pm PST 
It is DEFINITELY regional. I live is Seattle. Dogs reign supreme here in general. Many/most businesses provide water bowls by their door, and you generally can't stand outside without seeing at least one dog. I also usually can't go into a store without seeing at least one dog. That's a slight exaggeration, but not much.

There are about a half-dozen SDs in my neighborhood that I know of.

Here, nobody pays any attention to it. SDs are a VERY common sight. Businesses are well-educated, as a rule, and people have a generally permissive attitude anyway.

I travel quite a bit with Zoe, though, and I've found that attitudes vary considerably. Smaller towns and rural areas tend to look more (since they don't see it as often), but don't, as a rule, ask questions.

The south tends to be either less educated on the law, less used to seeing SDs, or just more likely ask a bunch of questions. I've never really been challenged there, but I do get a lot of inappropriate questions from people.

SDs seem to be MUCH more common on the west coast than the east coast, and comparatively non-existent in the Midwest. So, attitudes vary accordingly. There seem to be more clashes between businesses and SD handlers on the west coast because there are more opportunities for issues to arise. But, still, they seem to be generally more accepting.

Canada is a little weird. The attitudes there seem to be hit-and-miss, and of course, the laws are different.

Planes and trains are never a problem, but since they are full of people from all over, passenger responses are extremely varied.

Ironically, I live in a neighborhood with a high Muslim population. If you don't know, many Muslims interpret the Quran in a way that they avoid dogs at all costs. I frequently have people whom I see almost every day, run away or otherwise panic when they see Zoe.

So yes, attitudes vary.
Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 2:59pm PST 
I live near Portland, OR, and while it has a reputation for being dog-friendly (and it is, for the most part. Like Zoe said about Seattle, many businesses leave out water bowls, stores that don't serve food are sometimes okay with well-behaved dogs) I don't see a lot of service dogs. Last one I saw was a small dog (of unknown breed, I didn't get a good look) carried in a lady's arms at a symphony concert. I think most people didn't even know it was there. Could have been a faker, but who cares if it's that unobtrusive?

I've seen many puppy raisers for the guide dog school out and about. A person in my church growing up raised a guide puppy, as did my ex-bf's family.

The full service dogs I've seen in public (rarely) were Labs or Goldens, not unusual breeds. Maybe I'm not hanging in the parts of town, where SDs are common though. thinking I once had someone mistake Bruno for a SDIT because he was wearing a harness and I was working on his public manners in a dog-friendly feed store. I told them he wasn't, of course.

In Arcata, CA, my previous dog Ginger was attacked by a faker's pitbull. I have to assume they were faking because A) they were obviously homeless and needed an excuse to take their dog everywhere B) the dog's unruly behavior.
Bianca CGC- TT HIC Thd- ♥

What big ears- you have...
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 3:00pm PST 
For some reason, I only rarely see service dogs here in Chicago. That is, dogs that are either visibly identified as service dogs or dogs that are in places only service dogs are allowed.
In fact I haven't seen many when I've traveled either.
I'm a person who tends to notice every dog around, and also look at them to see what type(breed) they are. So if there were more where I am I would definitely notice.
I mean I even automatically look around if I just hear jingling (ie tags or a leash/collar) even though half the time it's someone holding their keys or something. laugh out loud

Mom's Left Hand- Man - I'm ready are- you?
Barked: Tue Feb 7, '12 3:14pm PST 
Here in Maine, I have heard of more SD's than I have actually seen. I know of a couple in training, have seen one at my chiropractor's an hour away - guide dog, and the one I knew, the owner moved out of state.

WalMart and our local health food store have told me that there were others that come in - haven't seen them. And a discount store called Marden's I was at just before Christmas said it must be Dog's Day as we were the second team to come in that day...so I don't see many actual teams, let alone fakers.
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