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Clear up some confusion.


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Over the past year or so we've talked abut service dogs do's and don'ts. Got into North Ranch last night and this afternoon in the office I met Boondocks. He recognized us when I gave Jin a quiet command to move over, "You must be Ranger." I guess so. Anyway Jin wanted to meet him and we started talking and ran into the confusion of interacting with a service dog. Since we usually talk about dogs on duty I've generally said on the forums, "Do not interfere with a service dog because <insert list of why nots.>


Time to be a bit more specific. There is no hard and fast rule about touching or petting a service dog. Legally in some states there are laws about interference and harm to an SD only that doesn't apply here. In reality it is a grey area and a personal issue. My friend Dee's dog(factious name real team and I'm leaving the auto correct of fictitious) wears her gear 24/7. No contact allowed ever. A drive by petting of Dee's dog will set her off on you like a thermonuclear device, a big one. She is very particular about interaction with her dog and as a rule only SD handlers are allowed to come near her dog and then only at the park. There are no exceptions and she will not hesitate to call the police.


Jin is a completely different story. He wears a either a full or light duty mobility harness when I need his support or a simple vest and harness although it is not required. He is allowed interaction with others depending on the circumstances. He has been trained to play with children even to let a child take a small ball from his mouth and to be friendly to everyone he meets and to be a "dog" when he has been "released (from duty)." Bear in mind Jin is still on duty as no service dog is really ever off duty. Q: When can Jin be social and when does he have to pay attention to work? No simple answer to that because Jin attracts a lot of unwanted attention in public. In the RV parks and play places I made it easy for everyone to tell. Jin's fav toy is a soccer ball. When he is carrying it, usually around an RV park or campground" he is on slack time and you can visit and play with him. He'll quickly become your friend. If he is not carrying it then he is on duty and should not be distracted unless I give him a release.


A CAVEAT: :rolleyes: If you take the ball from Jin and throw it to him it's your problem. :P He will not leave you alone as he teases you with his game of ball. If you don't want to play, leave the ball alone. ROFL :lol: It is not unusual for him to take the ball to someone and drop it at their feet. He want's you to kick it straight to him. If you do that you'll find out how easy it is for a border collie to train a human. ;)


Q: What about social time when he is not carrying the ball? That's allowed as well. Again it depends on the circumstances and it doesn't apply to just my dog but all SDs as well. The best thing to do is to ask the handler and wait for his response. Give the handler a chance to read his dog, the handler may not want to be distracted or disturbed which can happen in the damnedest places. In service dog training we teach what and how you feel goes down the leash and how to read and listen to the dog, an important lesson.


There are rules for greeting dogs, all dogs, not just service dogs. I saw a lady reach for a dog on a leash at a dog show and she got bit for her efforts. Her own fault for shoving her face into the dogs face. Worse is the dog pays the penalty for her bad move.

Don't do an Alice. th_DisneyJin08_zps19d01ffa.png Good way to get bit.

Ask the handler and wait for the handler to respond as they may have a special way of greeting.

Never stare at a dog, scratch or pat it on the head both are aggressive moves. Reach palm up under the chin and scratch gently.

Watch the dog for lip curls, ears back, stiff tail and legs. If you see it back up. The one dog I worry about is the one in Home Depot pulling it's handler toward us as he says, "It's ok he's friendly."


We'll be in the North Ranch and Q area for the rest of winter if you want to catch us and say hi. We train in the dog run in the afternoons.


Together we, Ranger and Jin

www.desertbandanna.com - The

Heartland North Country RETS31
2000 Ford F-350 Super Duty, Ext Cab, Dually 4x4, 7.3l diesel.

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Thanks for the lesson. I would gladly be around you and your dog, but I don't think I would want to meet Dee and her dog. Maybe there is a good reason - but seems like a very unfriendly way to handle a dog of any kind, be it a service dog or not. Seems there should be "some" social time allotted for the dog as they are social animals and most generally enjoy interacting with people. Like I said though, perhaps there is a good reason.

Pat DeJong

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  • 5 months later...

not only is it bad manners, but you are asking for trouble any time you try to interact with a dog without getting permission from his human first. you never know what is going on in a strange dog's mind. he may hate men or women. may be very overprotective of his human. may read your body language as threatening. may have been abused in the past & very sensitive to all kinds of things. be safe & sensible; ask permission first.

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Ranger I'm surprised that Jin will play with children I have had 3 Border Collies and not one of them like to be around kids. I don't think they like to be at the same eye level. I also don't think they like eye contact they all will look away then back to see if your still looking at them.




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  • 10 months later...

I realize that this thread is really old. I have multiple set ups for my service dog. I also have trade out badges. One says "Working dog do not pet". The other one says, "Please Pet Me".


It is totally based on when and where you are. If I am taking him into a setting that he has never been in, I will have the do not pet sign on. If the setting he is familiar with and I am in the mood to be stopped every few feet, I use the "Please pet me".


He is a standard poodle, currently a puppy (8 months) and has been in service training since six weeks old. Service dogs are "in training" for life. But the favorite trick is "turn off the lights".


He specializes in Mobility, block and brace.

Home is where you park your heart, or your tires for the night.

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Sounds like the beginning of a GREAT article for the Escapees publication. I am sure that many of us would like to know more about how to deal with the service dogs and their handlers. Thanks for sharing.


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