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It was my intention to address my final remark only to irresponsible programs. I did not mean to point a finger at the man featured in this story. I don't believe I have ever directly accused a handler of faking except when he or she has confessed it to me after the dog has gone after mine.

I can see how I failed to be clear, but here is what I meant to say with my series of posts.  After my initial one, I swerved over to the topic of irresponsible charities. First I wrote:

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People, whether pet owners or clients of a charity like the one featured in the story, need to understand that some dogs are like guns. The rescues, shelters, and "pets for vets" programs are playing with fire, and the adoptive owners are sitting ducks. The fact that this program seems to place big, protective dogs with PTSD patients is appalling.

I was focused on the type of dogs placed and the inadequate screening. Then I wrote:

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I am entirely willing to form an opinion that the dog is not legally a service dog in these situations, but I'm a pragmatist, and since the argument goes in circles and can't be won anyway, why bother?

In that second quote, I meant to address irresponsible programs in general, based on my own first-hand knowledge that they do not task train the dogs. I know three that admitted to me in person that they think the law is stupid, and that for a veteran with PTSD, emotional support is a task. They place these dogs after about a month of socialization with people who have never handled a dog. They put a prong collar on the dog and tell the handler to use a muzzle if he thinks the situation might be too much for the dog.

It's true that in an earlier comment I noted that the handler in question had not mentioned any tasks except for diabetic alert that was being trained, and I should not have done that. I can see that it sounded like I was pointing a finger at him.

Finally, I will admit that I have a fear-based bias. I have been menaced by big, tough dogs wearing vests covered with military insignia.  I live in fear that I will come around a corner, run right into one, and my dog will be killed before I can escape. I know that members of the public have the same fear of GSDs and I am hypersensitive to it.  I will wait for another elevator, give a wide berth, tell the person not to be sorry, all those things.
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What do I take away from this story? Both sides are remaining calm and negotiating. That's how it is supposed to work. I'm not keen on going to the public with a protest but at least it was a peaceful protest that didn't encourage a vicious Facebook style boycott (with threats and attempts to get people fired or threaten them or their families).
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Why do you assume this dog is not task trained or not housebroken?

Does being distractable or even aggressive make a dog legally not a service dog?

Does one person's experience with a team from this school mean none of them are sufficiently trained?

A GSD service dog killed a six year old child. Does that mean GSDs should never be service dogs?

I've seen dogs from excellent programs deteriorate because of handler error including a Seeing Eye Dog that defecated in a store and another guide dog that crawled under a cubicle partition to greet Cole. Does that mean neither was a "real" service dog? I saw both dogs again later with problems corrected. Because in the real world, sometimes handlers make mistakes and sometimes dogs do too. It doesn't make them "fake."

Why is it important to label them as fake instead of admitting that sometimes mistakes are made? I can tell you why the reverse is important, why it's important not to label dogs or teams that make mistakes as fake.

The legal requirements are lame. While I would hope our members would have higher standards the regulations are what they are.  If a team meets those requirements they are legally, legitimately a team and calling them fake because they don't live up to your standards is both defamatory and highly insulting. How would you feel if someone with even higher standards than your own found fault with you or your dog and declared you fake? Would your first impulse be to try to raise your standards to theirs or to tell them to go to bleep and discount any actually constructive criticism they might try to offer?

Calling someone fake when you don't know that they are is illegal (defamatory), offensive, aggressive, and a communication stopper. It not only won't fix the problem but will tend to make it worse by getting your victim's back up. So what is the investment in wanting to pass judgment on others? What do you gain? What does society gain?
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I am entirely willing to form an opinion that the dog is not legally a service dog in these situations, but I'm a pragmatist, and since the argument goes in circles and can't be won anyway, why bother?

I'm far more willing to speak up about behavior, but I am demoralized that we are presently stuck with this stupid, stupid situation that would never be tolerated in other situations-- assume the law is being obeyed until someone dies, and yeah, then maybe we'll act.
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I agree with Ariel that the whole fake vs. legitimate distinction is less important.

Yes, this. Ill behaved does not mean illegitimate - only the person with the dog or a judge can determine that. An ill behaved, aggressive dog could still be task trained. That doesn't give them any right to be in public, of course (considering that 1 they qualify to be kicked out and for the dog to be banned, and 2 I doubt a dog acting very aggressively could actually perform it's tasks at that time, meaning that the handler probably doesn't have a reasonable expectation of the dog's services in public), but it also doesn't mean that they're fake.

I just say undertrained dogs vs trained dogs, not real vs fake.

An ill behaved dog does not automatically make the owner a faker or the dog a fake.
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Perfect timing. I took a couple of colleagues to lunch at a French place down the street from my office just now.  It is 70 degrees, and the sidewalk patio was open, but full, so we went inside. The hostess said "no dogs," so I explained and she rolled her eyes, but seated us. After about 15 minutes, there was an actual dogfight on the patio (windows were open). A small dog was screaming, as were people, and there was a lot of growling and barking.  I did not go to the window, but everyone else did, and apparently the bully breed dog was in the sidewalk seating area when a dog walker went by with 4 dogs on leashes. The bully dog leapt out and got one of them in its jaws, and then 2 larger dogs got into it as well. 

The hostess came back from the window and went on and on about how well behaved my dog was (he didn't wake up). I think she was trying to apologize for the eye-roll.

I'm scared of those dogs.  They seem to go from snooze to "kill" in a nanosecond.  I agree with Ariel that the whole fake vs. legitimate distinction is less important. People, whether pet owners or clients of a charity like the one featured in the story, need to understand that some dogs are like guns. The rescues, shelters, and "pets for vets" programs are playing with fire, and the adoptive owners are sitting ducks. The fact that this program seems to place big, protective dogs with PTSD patients is appalling.
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Health & Maintenance (publicly viewable board) / Re: Food allergy update
« Last post by MJ on Yesterday at 11:30:45 AM »
Be careful feeding "buffalo" to a dog with an allergy to beef. Much of the meat labeled buffalo is actually beefalo (bison/cattle).
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Here's a link to Jubi's first time dealing with a dog from this program.
http://servicedogcentral.org/forum/index.php?topic=42797.msg309647#msg309647

I had two encounters with dogs from this program with Saxon. This one I documented as a point of pride here because Jubi handled it well and she was only 14 months old and still in training. There was a run in with another bully type dog some months back that started growling and jumping around at the end of the leash lunging at us in Target and the handler had to drag the dog out quickly since they were already near the door. I believe that dog was from this same program but cannot confirm. It doesn't really matter, I'm glad the handler removed the dog, it was in no state to be assisting him and could only be potentially dangerous to Jubi, me, MOPs, or even his handler with that level of agitation and displayed aggression.

I have said before I very seldom think someone is intentionally faking a service dog in my area. While I've had a number of run ins with other service dogs over the years between several SDs, it's not like I encounter them on a daily or even weekly basis most of the time. I haven't given much thought about it, but I'm not sure if when I run into other dogs, the owner trained dogs often trained and handled by a complete novice are of greater concern, or dogs from programs like this, particularly those targeting veterans. I'm always on edge when I see another dog and I've spoken to feeling really guilty whenever I'm on edge and placing Jubi in a way to shield her with my body and scouting exits and the service dog is just as well behaved as her. That really is the way it should be. None of us should have to be fearful for our service dog's safety because there is another dog (visibly identified as a SD or not) in the vicinity.
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I only recently moved back to the city in an effort to access more rehab, so I haven't had any exposure with anyone passing off a pet as a SD. I'm sure this will change once I am out and about and am exposed to more situations and people. In my province, it is an offence to the GDSDA and if convicted the fine is $3000.
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I sensed that, and I am prepared to believe that Ariel's observations are consistent with the dogs placed through the program. 

This just makes me nuts. No one asked any of these men about tasks, and the man at the center of the story seems to know enough to say that the dog is being trained to alert to his diabetes. From Sonia, we know that diabetic alerts are not useful for T2 diabetics, and I don't think T1 types can serve in the military, so . . .

Some of you may remember my horrific incident with a bully breed wearing a TADSAW vest. These places are menaces.  Take a military veteran who believes s/he needs a service dog, don't work with his clinicians about his/her needs, get big scary dogs from rescue, don't train any tasks, believe in the Lassie moment (note the man talked about how the dog came right to him so he knew it was a perfect match) and send them out into the world with a vest. Meanwhile raising money.

I'm turning into a broken record, though.
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