Author Topic: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store  (Read 381 times)

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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 02:11:26 PM »
How is that the parents' fault? How are they to know the dog in the grocery store is not necessarily any safer than a stray dog?

We've continued this myth despite knowing it wasn't true. How often have you heard a handler dismiss a dog as "not a real service dog," because it's behavior didn't live up to their expectations? We've known for at least the last decade that unsafe dogs labeled as service dogs were not only out there, but increasing in number. Have we warned the public?

Is it the child's fault for not knowing some dogs bite? No.
Is it the dog's fault for being put in a situation he couldn't handle? No.
Is it the parent's fault for believing what we've told them all these years? No.

The fault lies with the individual handler, the lack of regulation, and us. And especially those among us who have fought against regulation.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline KellyColleen

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2018, 02:35:10 PM »
Just to add something that caught my eye in the article, the handler says her dog is a 14 year old service dog, doesn't that seem a little to old to still be a working service dog?  :paw:

Offline SandyStern

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 03:05:35 PM »
I place the fault squarely on the handler, too. I'm not sure how you thought I wasn't, Kirsten.

I meant only to bemoan the loss of that hard-earned reputation. Aside from my efforts (which I've described here), what else can I do to warn the public?

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2018, 05:01:47 PM »
It's not just the handler's fault. You'd have to assume they knew of the danger and were reckless.  Most are truly shocked when their dog bites.  Are they partially responsible?  Sure.  But they are not solely responsible.

And like it or not, we are partly responsible if we perpetuate the myth that service dogs are safe when we know otherwise.  If we don't own our part in it, we will not change our contribution to the problem and we will help to perpetuate the problem.  How recently were any of you asked if your dog bit, and how did you respond?  I cannot appeal to the owners of unsuitable dogs to stop taking them in public very often (though I do speak when I have the opportunity).  This audience, our membership, also has a part to play.  We need to stop perpetuating the myth.

It's not okay to blame the person who is acting appropriately based on their understanding of the situation.  It's not okay to blame a child who doesn't know any better or to expect a parent to be 100% on top of their young child 100% of the time.  Those little creatures are fast and curious.  Even in my prime (in my 20's) I've had some escape with me in hot pursuit.  They have to interact with the world around them to grow socially.  If you, as a parent, see someone with a service dog, a dog you believe is gentle and safe, a good parent tries to teach their child to politely ask the person with the dog about petting.  That's what we've taught them to do.  It teaches the child to treat PWDs like anyone else, speaking to them, not about them, being respectful, recognizing their authority as adults.  We have the option to say "yes," or "no," but like it or not, we are teaching the next generation, the little sponge humans, just like baby puppies in their openness and absorption of information.

For children, I'm much more willing to take a few minutes to make it a learning opportunity.  I thank them for asking.  I remind them that not all dogs are friendly like mine.  I remind them that sometimes a person with a service dog can't stop for petting because they need their dog to concentrate.  I show them safe petting, from under the chin instead of over the head.  Like Tardis cares.  But some dog they encounter in the future might care.  I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to take my approach.  It does cost personal resources to do it this way.  But I am suggesting that we not make the problem worse or perpetuate it.  "Thank you for asking but he's working right now," is sufficient.  But if someone asks "does he bite?" the correct answer is that "Any dog will bite with sufficient provocation.  Unfortunately, not all dogs labled as service dogs necessarily have an appropriate temperament or sufficient training these days so don't make any assumptions that just because it's wearing a vest a given dog is friendly or safe.  Always ask first and use safe petting techniques."
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline SandyStern

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 05:17:57 PM »
All right. Thanks. I'm pleased that I've been doing some of this. For example, when someone is afraid to of my dog, I never say anything about his disposition, I say I understand entirely, and they are wise never to assume a dog is safe.

Online Arrowcom

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2018, 07:21:52 PM »
I agree. I expect people to break the rules around Cindi and trust that she is trained accordingly. When that little kid ran up the bus aisle and saw Cindi, then jumped and squeezes her whole head in a little hug, she knew how to behave. When that guy tripped over her on the bus... or that time at the restaurant, or those couches where  Cindi couldn't tuck under at my university, she wasn't happy but all she did was jump up and run over to me. When that mean little kid snuck up behind Cindi and yanked her tail, she jumped and looked, but she didn't bite. I am so sad that people have to ask me if Cindi is a nice dog now when we're out in public. What's happened?
Accept the things you can not change, have the courage to change the things you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Offline missjune1944

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Re: Child bitten by a possible service dog at Palm Desert grocery store
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2018, 10:25:55 AM »
If I had a kid I would not let them pet dogs that I don't know. Period. There are too many variables out there that could result in a bad outcome for the kid or the dog. Dogs are animals, cute animals, but animals none the less.