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Imagine you are blind, out walking with your dog - to the bus stop, to work, to the grocery store, to visit a friend, or just to get some exercise - and a dog starts barking nearby.  Your guide dog picks up the pace, pulling you faster. You have no clue if the dog is leashed, if the dog is friendly, if the dog is about to attack you or your service dog. You can't see. Your heart races. Are you going to be bitten?  Is your guide dog going to be killed?

Imagine you are hearing impaired, and out with your service dog when your dog gives a "Danger!" signal, and you turn around to see an unleashed dog preparing to leap on you or your service dog. You don't know if the dog is friendly, all you see are giant paws and teeth coming straight at you.

Imagine you have balance issues and you are out walking with your service dog, and another dog bounds up and jumps on your dog, knocking him aside, and knocking you down.  As your dog struggles to reach you to help you, the other dog keeps jumping on you and your service dog, and then someone comes up laughing about how "playful" and "friendly" their dog is.  You are bruised, shaken, maybe you have a broken bone, and your service dog is being kept from aiding you by the laughing person and the "playful" dog.

Imagine you are in a wheelchair, and you have a service dog that pulls you and fetches things for you, opens doors, turns on lights, and helps you balance as you wheel up and down ramps and curb cutouts (some of which are distressingly scary). You're on your way up one of those scary narrow ramps when someone walking their "friendly" pet dog on a leash comes up and insists on letting the dogs "greet" one another, and the "friendly" dog pushes your service dog hard enough to pull your wheelchair off kilter on the ramp and you tip over.

These scenarios and similar ones play out all across the US every day.

At least 75% of the people assisted by service dogs have experienced at least one attack on their service dog by another dog. More than half of those attacking dogs were off leash, and many were unsupervised, just roaming the neighborhood.  An attack is where the dog or the human partner are injured by the encounter (bruises, scrapes, broken bones, slobber from bites that don't break the skin, bites that draw blood, or the service dog later dies of the injury). The pet dogs that were leashed and attacked a service dog did so with the pet dog's owner unable or unwilling to control their dog.

Half of those teams who were attacked by a pet dog experienced more than one attack.

Nearly 85% of the people assisted by a service dog had suffered interference by an aggressive dog - a dog the owner usually claimed was "friendly" or "playful". Interference is where no one is injured, but the service dog team is terrorized, delayed, or even had to abort their activity. More than 80% of these attacks and interferences happen on a public right-of-way, and more than 90% of them happen in areas with clearly posted leash laws - sidewalks, parks, bus stops. Nearly 70% of these were attacks by dogs that were off leash. Many of these off leash dogs were running loose in the neighborhood because the owner let them out to "get exercise" or to "play" with other dogs. The leashed dogs that interfered with the routines of a service dog team frequently did so with the pet owner's encouragement ("Awww, look, they're greeting one another! I think my dog likes your dog.  They should be friends!").  The rest did so with the pet dog's owner unable or unwilling to control their dog.

What can you do?

When you are walking your pet dog, make sure your dog is on a leash strong enough to hold the dog.  If you can't prevent your dog from sniffing at or leaping on the service dog, cross the street to keep your dog from going up to and interfering in a service team.  Or duck into a doorway, or do something so you and your dog get out of the way of the service team. If your dog is truly well trained, tell your dog to sit/stay until the service team is past.

Yes, it inconveniences you, but your dog is a pet; their dog is their partner. Interference with them could compromise their well-being. They know you're there, and will move over themselves to give you more space.  But if your dog can't keep to their own space, keep from sniffing, blocking, jumping on the service dog or the handler - it's up to you to get your dog away from the service team.

When you are outside of your property with your pet dog, in public areas like public right-of-ways, parks, bus stops, streets, the verges between houses, public areas in neighborhoods, keep your dog leashed and under control.

Do not let your pet dog roam the neighborhood unsupervised and off-leash. A fenced back yard is ideal, but barring that, give your pet dog frequent walks on a leash. Make sure your home and fenced yard is escape proof.

Don't stake your pet dog out in the front yard, where it is frustrated by all the people, children, and animals (including pets being walked on a leash or service teams) passing by - stakes pull up or leashes/collars break. A staked dog is an accident just waiting to happen.

A dog jumping up on other people, leaping on other dogs, barking at other dogs, running up to other dogs, is not "friendly". Not "playful". A dog off leash is not under control.  Even the best behaved dog has off moments. It just takes 30 seconds to destroy a service dog's career. 30 seconds of a dog breaking training, being a dog.

Help reduce the number of service dog teams that have been interfered with, intimidated, or attacked by pet dogs.  Help the people who need service dogs get about their lives without fear for themselves and their canine partners.

All it takes are two little things: a leash and keeping control of your pet dog.

The sequel is here:  Not Your Dog, Not a Pet

Originally posted to Noddy and Itzl on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:56 AM PST.

Also republished by KosAbility.

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  •  Tip Jar (147+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theKgirls, blue91, Ree Zen, vacilando, bfitzinAR, louisev, left rev, swampyankee, badscience, fiercefilms, Denise Oliver Velez, a2nite, Sun Tzu, 2thanks, marleycat, FloridaSNMOM, BeninSC, phonegery, weck, CwV, mindara, Aquarius40, northsylvania, ashowboat, tommymet, Marko the Werelynx, mmacdDE, leu2500, Habitat Vic, old wobbly, JanetT in MD, Mimikatz, knitwithpurpose, prettygirlxoxoxo, BachFan, zerelda, gulfgal98, ThirtyFiveUp, brillig, ColoTim, science nerd, tapestry, Smoh, ontheleftcoast, bumbi, fumie, political mutt, Mr Robert, OllieGarkey, elmo, leeleedee, Overseas, absdoggy, gloriana, NYWheeler, mslat27, mamamorgaine, Vatexia, here4tehbeer, roses, sea note, RainyDay, StateofEuphoria, greycat, lineatus, k9disc, AdamR510, cassandracarolina, winglion, Deadicated Marxist, shopkeeper, annetteboardman, maybeeso in michigan, quill, Wood Dragon, Quilldriver, gizmo59, PurpleThistles, DRo, myboo, Statusquomustgo, coquiero, surfbird007, el dorado gal, Carol in San Antonio, offred, JBL55, shortgirl, DeadHead, cactusgal, Gowrie Gal, GeorgeXVIII, politik, Most Awesome Nana, Larin, nswalls, Youffraita, Burton Halli, enufisenuf, implicate order, dsb, slowbutsure, StageStop, Chaddiwicker, lotlizard, dotdash2u, sallyfallschurch, belinda ridgewood, chimene, sb, buckstop, sockpuppet, asterkitty, Pam from Calif, WSComn, Santa Susanna Kid, flatford39, mamabigdog, broths, tb mare, tb92, jdld, oceanview, mystery2me, Cat Whisperer, pixxer, exiledfromTN, juliesie, Ripeness Is All, poco, second gen, Turbonerd, Driver 8, lissablack, home solar, TX Unmuzzled, blackjackal, petesmom, Lily O Lady, BusyinCA, Involuntary Exile, emmasnacker, pdxteacher, 1BQ, Oh Mary Oh, Heart n Mind, SadieSue

    All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

    by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:56:59 AM PST

  •  My daughters love to pet dogs we see (28+ / 0-)

    while we are out and about. I ALWAYS stop them because I just think in general, it's not a good idea to approach an animal you don't know. I explain to my youngest that she gets nervous around strangers, just imagine what it's like for a dog -- even though you are a peanut of a kid, you seem huge to a dog, especially a nervous one.

    But they still approach dogs before I can stop them...

    Do service dogs wear any special tags or anything I can teach my kids to look for?  We all recognize seeing eye dogs, but I never knew the full range of service dogs, so I admit to being totally unaware... We don't have a dog, so I'm not concerned about hurting an animal -- but I realize my kids could interfere with the job if they approach a service dog.

    Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on earth... Monty Python

    by theKgirls on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:11:56 AM PST

  •  thanks for sharing this noddy (24+ / 0-)


    I only see a limited number of service teams on my Metro routes in Washington... but a whole lot of blind folks with only sticks... there is a shortage of service dogs, I am thinking... the folks with sticks get bowled over during rushes onto the subway all the time - makes me mad!

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:13:39 AM PST

  •  Need your advice, Noddy: what do you do if you (18+ / 0-)

    go into a store that has a dog? We have a sign posted on our door that we often have our cairn terriers with us and that we are happy to put them in the back for any reason.  I have a significant number of customers who look forward to visiting with my dogs so I am not prepared to never have them with me, but I keep a close eye on them (no, they are not on a leash in the store). I have one customer who has a service dog and she'll call ahead if she needs to come in with her dog. I have a few other customers who occasionally come in with their dogs (always on a leash) and I either put my dogs on a leash or just stick them in the back hall. A sign, of course, will not work if someone is blind, so, any suggestions?

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:55:05 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this! To my mind, a lot of (19+ / 0-)

    this boils down to basic good doggie and human manners. I have a puppy right now, so I know it can be a lot of work to teach a dog to behave appropriately. But it needs to be done, or you and the rest of us pay the price for it. It's just unfair to burden the rest of the world with a badly behaved dog just because you can't be bothered.

  •  So glad to see this! (15+ / 0-)

    I had thought it deserved a diary of its own but didn't mention that over in Top Comments.

    I'm always stunned by the defensive and even hostile reaction I get from people when I remind them that there are leash laws for a reason.

    -- and having owned many dogs and cats and rodents I know that any animal can have a bad day.

    “The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

    by Marko the Werelynx on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:03:49 AM PST

  •  A lesson I learned (22+ / 0-)

    Once while walking home a nasty dog came running out of a nearby house and I could tell it was intent on tearing into me.  I let loose with a primal scream of profanities that made the dog realize he was approaching an animal (me) far more dangerous than he was.  The dog stopped and just barked at me from 10 feet away.  The owner, a punk kid wannabe gangster, arrived and told me I did the exact right thing.  He got a few profanities too.
    To this day I teach my kids not to run, but to scream as loud as they can.

    If Murphy's Law can fail, it will. - Scruggler's Law of Optimism

    by Scruggler on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:34:59 AM PST

    •  what my mom told me and my sister (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, JBL55, Noddy, chimene, BusyinCA
      To this day I teach my kids not to run, but to scream as loud as they can.
      She told us to kick the mean dog square in the chops like a soccer ball. She said never run.

      Funny thing, most dog stop dead in their tracks when you turn to face them. And if not, then certainly when you line up your legs for the good ole kick.

      Dogs are not stupid when it comes to being kicked in the face.

      •  I used a mostly empty (0+ / 0-)

        backpack when i had a dog troubling me off its leash in such a manner. I really get upset over hurt animals so i dont think i coulda kicked it. Id never forgive myself for any major damage i did.

        The backpack though seemed to be enough for the dog to get the point, as it ceased bothering me. id still see it hanging around the neighborhood irresponsibly, but didnt bother me except for across the street barking.

        The only Bug-type Pokemon that can learn the move Fly - Volcarona and Genesect - Are not Flying types.

        by kamrom on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:58:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have two dogs... (19+ / 0-)

    One's a 4.5 yo friendly-but-on-the-shy-side Plott Hound, the other a 2 yo exhuberantly friendly Redbone Coonhound. Both weigh about 45lbs.

    When in a private home or in a designated, fenced, there-for-like-minded-dog-owners dog park, they're off leash. Anywhere else, they're leashed. When we walk past other people, I've got them as close to me as I can get without lifting them off their front paws, in case the other person is not a 'dog person.'

    I absolutely hate when other dog owners tell me their dog is 'friendly' ... which somehow seems to exempt them from local leash laws. If I want to come visit/pet your 'friendly' do, I'll walk over to you and your leashed dog and ask if I can say hi. I don't need it jumping on me (a new and special treat as I recover from my Halloween trick-not-treat, a broken ankle), getting in MY friendly dogs' faces, or anything else.

    Those dog owners are the reason all dog owners get a bad rap.

    As for my two 'friendly' children ::grin::...

    They know that you do NOT go up to ANY dog, working or not, and get in its face to pet it. You ask the owner first, and that if it's an off-leash dog and we're not at the dog park, to assume it's NOT friendly. They also know that working dogs are working, and to treat them accordingly.

    I hope other dog owners and/or parents like me can help to model better behaviour from others who seem to be lacking basic common sense.

    "But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die." - - Cherokee saying

    by brillig on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:45:12 AM PST

  •  If you are the service dog owner and this happens (6+ / 0-)

    That's what the tort system is for. Sue the living fuck out of the idiot - irresponsibility is irresponsibility and sometimes people need to learn their lesson the hard way.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:59:04 AM PST

  •  Most dog owners are really negligent when it comes (10+ / 0-)

    to training.

    There's a significant minority of dog owners whose dogs don't bark, and don't jump on or at other people, because they have been trained not to. And if your dog isn't at the place where it would walk calmly at your side through a thunderstorm, then it always needs to be on your leash unless it's in a dog park or in another enclosure, like your yard, or your house.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:00:05 AM PST

    •  Agreed.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noddy, OllieGarkey, chimene

      Our Freya doesn't bark unless there is a reason, or she's playing.. even in her own house. And she almost never growls. She also doesn't jump on people. Now she may paw at you, if she needs to get your attention or as an alert. She alerted to a neighbor's blood sugar one day, out of the blue, just before the woman started feeling the dive (she'd taken her insulin and then her dog had to go out and she forgot to eat and we got talking). I didn't even know she would alert to blood sugar, but apparently so.
      She'll also jump onto me if I'm about to have a seizure and don't know it, she'll literally knock me on my butt if she has to. And then she sits on me and doesn't let me up.

      Now she'll be off leash in our side yard sometimes if we're out with her, but if another dog is nearby I'll snap the leash on. She and Sophie like to play and with them both leashed they get tangled. And Sophie is too young and too new to go off leash at all yet. I'm hoping when we move we can find a rental with a fence, or maybe put an outside kennel up just so they can play off leash (one of the bigger ones just for playtime).

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:59:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  had an accident due to friendly dogs (6+ / 0-)

      A guy decided he'd open his car door and let his dogs out first, the three of them going for a walk in mesquite groves near the road.

      I was coming up a concrete ramp on horseback, on very green, young horse, when the two dogs decided that the horse must have been the biggest squirrel ever and the chase was on.

      I saw two golden retriever mixes  charge at us, barking furiously.   The horse panicked and spun and I was nearly pitched 30 feet down over the ramp and into the wash.   I was "lucky"- came off and landed on concrete, underneath a terrified horse, surrounded by dogs.

      The guy grabbed the two by the collars, threw them into his car and fled.

      We survived.  But your diary makes me think of all the walkers out there with service dogs- I wonder how many people avoid a lovely day outdoors in some areas for fear of such a thing happening to them?

      Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

      by offred on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:20:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And other people untrain my dogs every day (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, Noddy

      My dogs DO jump on people if I don't watch closely, and the reason why is because virtually everyone says "It's ok!" and many even feed them treats while they are leaping and grabbing.

      For me, my dogs sit as soon as they see food.  For a handful of people who treat them regularly, they leap.  

      For me, my dogs sit for attention.  When they are out doing therapy work and I have them leashed, they sit to greet.

      If they are in a dog park and loose and go up to other people, they now frequently jump.

      Please respect owners by honoring their requests.  If an owner says "Please ask her to sit" then do so.  If an owner says "Ignore him when he barks" please do so.  

      Don't untrain other people's dogs.  It's all-too-common.

  •  Good diary (9+ / 0-)

    I've more or less always been a dog owner and wouldn't think of taking my dog out without a leash. Unfortunately, I keep running into situations like you describe and I find it more than a little annoying.

    When I was a cub scout back a million years ago, our whole troupe was sitting together along the curb next to the field where we had been playing and I was attacked by a very aggressive cocker spaniel that was off-leash. I was only around eight years old at the time and the dog was on top of me before I knew it and it was one of the scariest things that happened to me while growing up. So I've always been very nervous even around small dogs when I'm out.

    I was walking my Bischon Frise early last year and a neighbor's dogs attacked us as they stood nearby. Fortunately, they were able to separate them and nobody got hurt, but it never should have happened and wouldn't have happened had their two dogs been under control.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:02:22 AM PST

  •  Oddly, google is attributing (5+ / 0-)

    this diary to Jed Lewison.

    I hope that gives it wider notice!

    Daily Kos: The Power of a Leash
    www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/.../-The-Power-of-a-Leas...

    Jed Lewison

    by Jed Lewison - in 332 Google+ circles - More by Jed Lewison
    3 hours ago – Imagine you are in a wheelchair, and you have a service dog that .... Hearing assistance dogs generally wear blaze orange or burgundy as ...

    All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

    by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:05:40 AM PST

  •  I'll add one more: If you hire a dog walker, find (14+ / 0-)

    out how many dogs they take out together, especially if they are an off-leash walker.  This commercial dog walker had nearly 20 off-leash dogs at the ocean's edge near Half Moon Bay.  (If you click on the photo and view it full size, you can count 12 off-leash dogs - she had another 6-8 who were far enough away that they were out of the frame.)

    If one of those dogs was swept away by a wave, what could she do?  Ignore all the others to save it?  If she ran into another person with a large number of off-leash dogs, what if there was a conflict?  While we watched, the dogs surrounded and intimidated two young boys on the beach.  What if there was a bad interaction?  There's simply no way one person could control 20 off-leash dogs if anything went wrong.

    doggie dozen_2859

  •  Thanks for posting this (10+ / 0-)

    I am definitely NOT a dog person.  I don't like them, I'm afraid of them -- big ones, little ones, all of them.  When I walk in the park or on a sidewalk, I step off the walkway when a dog on a leash walks by and am often told "he's friendly, he won't hurt you".  

    I don't care how friendly the dog is, and I don't want to find out if it will hurt me.  Just keep your dog away from me.  

    As uncomfortable as this is for me, I can just imagine how someone with a service dog feels.  I believe pet owners should understand that their pet is not everyone's pet and not everyone thinks its cute.

    "The diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." James Madison

    by mslat27 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:17:26 AM PST

  •  THANK YOU. (9+ / 0-)

    I am a dog lover, and former owner of a dangerous, asshole dog who became that way because of countless other peoples' dangerous, asshole dogs who were offleash and attacked him, over and over, when he was a puppy.

    My dogs, these days, are leashed. When I'm on the bike, they are leashed. When I'm walking, they are leashed. They have a big fenced yard, a dog door, and are walked at least a mile every day.

    Irresponsible dog owners are a menace. I know, I used to be one.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:23:22 AM PST

    •  Thank you for your comment. I just recently (6+ / 0-)

      fenced an area for my dog, who is petrified of other dogs (he was that way when we adopted him from the shelter).

      Anyway, I'd never think of him going without with a leash (in his case three, for control).  But I've found out the hard way, MOST FOLKS don't worry about obeying leash laws (and we have strict ones where we live).

      For those of you who do walk your dogs, might I suggest that you consider carrying a cane  Get one with the curved top, and in time, you'll forget it's even on your arm, LOL!  It has helped me out in some pretty dicey situations, with aggressive, loose dogs.

      Glad to see this topic discussed.  Thanks again.

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:37:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great suggestion. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noddy

        I use a long, light walking stick, and it really does help keep offleash attacking dogs at bay, if only to give them something to bite.

        If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

        by rhetoricus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:29:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank, rhetoricus. I should not admit this, but (0+ / 0-)

          as a matter of fact, on more than one occasion I have looked for the cane, only to realize THAT"S IT"S ON MY LEFT ARM.  LOL!

          And, it's quite true that a cane may not help a lot if an aggressive, LARGE dog comes after you, but it's fairly effective at keeping small dogs at bay, while you scream 'bloody murder,' and hope that a neighbor comes to the rescue.  :-)

          Mollie

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:09:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pet owners that pose their dogs as service dogs (7+ / 0-)

    make the lives of legitimate service dog teams harder. When the public observes a "service dog" misbehaving then that encourages skepticism toward legitimate teams.  

    Not every disability is obvious; I 'm an insulin dependent diabetic, subject to random episodes of debilitating and life-threatening low blood glucose. My service dog can give me advance warning to these episodes.

    You would be astounded how many people feel that they can just reach out and pet my dog. Protecting my dog from these interruptions is my least favorite activity.

    Life may select the picture, but you choose the frame.

    by sea note on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:27:14 AM PST

    •  I don't really see (5+ / 0-)

      how the poseurs make it more difficult. I'd actually rather prefer that pets were permitted in more places - I think that would make being out with a service dog easier.

      Of course, those pets would have to be held to a higher standard of behavior. And the owners held accountable for their pet's behavior.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:31:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Service dog poseurs encourage the public and (5+ / 0-)

        business proprietors to be skeptical of their legitimacy. I've had more than one person engage me that doubted that I had a disability. They thought that service dogs helping a partner without a visually obvious disability were a scam.

        I find that businesses that permit pets create an additional challenge to me just trying to get my business done and get on with life.

         One of the main points of your diary is the threat that pet dogs present to service dog teams. I agree with that point. Letting anyone to bring their pet into the grocery store, for example, requires an extra level of vigilance on my part that complicates a necessary errand. I don't agree that increasing pet access to businesses is a good idea.

        You've written a great diary that raises important social issues little seen elsewhere.

        Life may select the picture, but you choose the frame.

        by sea note on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:49:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, had this happen at the airport (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene, second gen

        I was waiting at the gate at DFW.   Piles of people and luggage, some people having to sit on the floor as all the chairs were full.

        One woman had a toddler who wandered behind a concrete pillar, attracted by a small dog.   The mother grabbed the little one quickly when the owner of the therapy (?) dog warned, Careful, he bites!

        Indeed, the dog was snappy.   There was another dog on a leash waiting to board and as one passed the other, a snarling, barking dog spat ensued.

        Nobody was eager to sit next to the young woman on the flight.   I've flown with people who have seeing eye dogs and other animals, but this case made me wonder about the training of this particular animal.

        Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

        by offred on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:28:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Therapy dogs don't bite (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, chimene, second gen

          That's part of their training.  They are trained to be friendly towards other people. Any aggression at all immediately disqualifies the dog as a therapy dog. That includes growling and snarling.

          Therapy dogs that can be easily provoked into displays of aggression cease to be therapy dogs.

          Service dogs have a teensy bit more leeway, but not much.  If it was a mild display of aggression (growling) they go in for retraining. If they then pass, they get to remain a service dog.  But they will always be on probation after that, and the next minor display of aggression will end their career as a service dog. If it was a stronger display of aggression, their career is over right then.

          This is why it angers me when some people try to make a service dog growl or bark or display aggression. It's like the people who annoy the Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London, but with much more dire consequences for the service dog team - the human could lose their canine partner over it, and then have to go through the expense of getting another service dog.

          All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

          by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:48:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There was a "fad" a while back of taking (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lily O Lady

            stereotypically aggressive dogs, such as a Rottweiler and turning them into "Security Service Dogs". Women who had been attacked, especially, were using them.  Those are not legitimate service dogs, IMO. But they were gaining popularity for a while. One can train a dog to appear aggressive, if they'd like. Say, bear teeth on command, but to actually be aggressive is a bad idea. These folks were taking them in public and getting service dog access. When that happens, I just want to cringe.

            "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

            by second gen on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:06:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Security Service Dogs"are not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              second gen

              recognized by the ADA as legitimate service dogs.  A service dog performs tasks for a person with a disability. Being afraid is not recognized as a disability, and having a dog for protection is not a recognized service.

              All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

              by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:34:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I do. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larin, sea note, chimene, BusyinCA
        I don't really see how the poseurs make it more difficult.
        Poseurs are not trained as service dogs.  If a poseur does one of those "bad dog" things that service dogs don't do and the owner is presenting the poseur as a service dog, all service dogs will be tarred with the "bad dog" brush in the mind of the shopkeeper or whoever is forced to deal with the situation.  Not a good thing.

        "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

        by JBL55 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:33:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes ... and since air travel with a pet (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, sea note, JBL55

          is inconvenient for the human, and often downright traumatic for the animal ... there's a temptation for  unscrupulous people to try to pass a "doctor's note" off as certification of their pet as a helper animal.

          Now, all well and good that the pet-lover is willing to pay for an extra seat, and all ...  but "post 9-11" flight crews have become increasingly inflexible and risk adverse.  (Stories abound of pilots refusing to take off because they saw a passenger in a turban ... or cabin crew deciding that "Arabic sounding" conversations merited a call to Security.)

          And since so much of this is a matter of "discretion" on the part of individual crew-members ...  a thrice told tale about a "service dog" that "wasn't one," a couple of years ago,  can very well lead a "better safe than sorry" crew member to decide that any particular dog should not be allowed to "endanger" passengers and crew -- no matter what harness or colored vest the beast is wearing.

  •  All very good advice (5+ / 0-)

    We run a doggy daycare and take care of 40-80 dogs per day. Not a day goes by where I don't have to explain something so simple to at least one person. People think that because their dog listens to them sometimes, they are trained off leash, which is a wrong assumption probably 98% of the time.

    My wife and I have 2 dogs, one of which had a rough start and is very dog aggressive. Yet almost every time we go out for a walk some idiot will try to come over to us with their dog even AFTER being asked to stay back because our dog isn't friendly with other dogs. It's like people just want to see him get worked up so they can watch us try to calm him down. They appear to get a sick enjoyment out of it. We have him trained to ignore other dogs for the most part, instead looking up to us for a reward, but when idiots pull that kind of crap it makes it impossible to use his training.

    People are very strange to be sure.

  •  Irresponsible dog owners see nothing wrong w (5+ / 0-)

    their pets menacing people.

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:01:56 PM PST

    •  One of our elderly neighbors had his two small (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noddy, FloridaSNMOM, chimene

      dogs attacked by a pair of larger dogs resulting in an emergency vet visit to suture several bite wounds on the small dogs.

      We are going to recommend he follow-up with an animal control officer to advise the owner of what happened and present him with the vet bill for starters.

      Then we are going to pass him the name of a local attorney to consult to see if further civil action is advisable.

      These attacks need to be dealt with briskly and severely so these negligent owners pay attention.

  •  My wife suffered a brain hemorhage,fractured skull (9+ / 0-)

    long term vision loss, broken clavicle from an unleashed dog that frightened our leashed dog and knocked her down. We were walking in a quiet residential neighborhood close to where our US Senator lives.

    Please keep your dogs on a leash.  Unleashed dogs are dangerous.

    She has recovered well but it has certainly changed our life.

  •  It's not just the pets disturbing assistance dogs (4+ / 0-)

    either. Freya is a stay at home working dog because of issues she acquired before we got her. Sophie won't be. Our old Catahoula/Dane (Sadie) who passed in 2005 was a full time working dog, including in an elementary school while Dad was in Americorp and everywhere else we went. It used to really freak her out when parents would try and MAKE their kids afraid of her. The poor kids would be in their stroller screaming as the parents pushed the stroller quick toward her then pulled them back, telling them the dog was going to 'get them'. I never understood it. Tortured the kids and the dog. And Sadie was VERY kid friendly. But she was big (about 120 lbs in her prime).

    We had someone call mall security once because they thought Sadie was 'aggressive' because of her size and coloring (she was chocolate brown with black spots, almost a brindle).  Security came to talk to us, and Sadie sat and watched him. He finally asked to pet her and she wagged at him, licked his hand, etc. He made a note in the security office to ignore calls about her in the future LOL.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:13:37 PM PST

    •  I haven't had this happen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, chimene

      probably because Itzl is small,

      parents would try and MAKE their kids afraid of her.
      but I will never understand the mindset of people intent on turning a calm and easy learning opportunity into a chance to damage and psychologically wound their children.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:33:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  one other thing (5+ / 0-)

    to emphasize to all dog owners, pick up your dog's poop!!! i cant believe how many owners never even bother. it makes the good owners look bad through no fault of our own.
    (slightly off topic, but it had to be said!)

  •  and if you don't clean up after your dog... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, Lily O Lady

    don't try to blame it on someone else's. Now we just got our chihuahua mix, Sophie on Saturday, this incident happened last year.

    Someone claimed that our assistance dog Freya pooped in their yard and my son who was walking her didn't clean up after her. They even kept the 'evidence'. The problem was this: the poop in question was chihuahua sized. Freya weighs 45 pounds. Hers is MUCH larger than that. Fortunately the office of the trailer park agreed with me, and fined them, not me. When the kids walk her, they always take plastic bags with them. My daughter's been doing that her whole life, my son for most of his (we got Sadie our first Assistance dog when he was 3). My son is also autistic and routine based, this is part of his routine when walking the dog.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:04:21 PM PST

    •  Itzl's poops are the size of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, leema, Lily O Lady

      little tootsie rolls. Sometimes I can't find his poops even when I am standing right there watching where he's pooped.  I've even gotten down on my hands and knees to look for it to scoop it - and roped other people into hunting the elusive poop.

      I've scooped other dogs' poops, too.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:12:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noddy, Lily O Lady

        If Freya is pooping Itzl sized poops she'd be at the vet. There's no way that was hers. She's not a huge dog but compared to Itzl...

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:15:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  the elusive pup poop problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noddy, FloridaSNMOM

        occurs frequently with small to medium dogs....and then there is even the false sign of pooping: where they assume position but nothing comes out ...those are the poops you can never find! lol

        "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

        by leema on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:27:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I frequently have to ask people (4+ / 0-)

    to put their big friendly (or unfriendly)  dogs on a leash  as i have a dog who is quite reactive to large dogs no matter how friendly they are particularly when she is "trapped" on a leash and can't run.  (She was feral in her first life and has a strong flight mechanism...she mostly just wants to be left alone unless they are very small and non threatening).  People often say: "Oh my dog's friendly" without realizing that the other dog may not want to be friends.  

    If my dog is off leash in an off leash dog walking area far from streets....and I see someone with a dog on a leash I call Maggie in and put her leash on too.  That is just good manners as you never know how any two dogs will interact and a dog on a leash in that sort of setting usually means something.    

    There are a lot of people out there who don't get it.  

    "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

    by leema on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:24:35 PM PST

  •  not that OT! we saw a family out walking several (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    dogs (up to a Great Dane!), stopped at a corner of our front garden...

    apparently they DID pick up anything their animals had deposited, but several of the kids and dogs were up on our property at a point where we have a path across the lawn that comes out at the street... ('50's suburban development, no sidewalks, so folks dog-walking are out in the street)

    we only noticed them by accident as it was after dark and we were on our way out in the car. we do get cat deposits, and will very occasionally find possum "tar", but generally don't get dog-stuff.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:50:39 PM PST

  •  hmm, Noddy? did anything particular happen to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, FloridaSNMOM, Lily O Lady

    produce these two very informative diaries on the same day???

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:51:20 PM PST

    •  My son's dog (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Lily O Lady

      had a seizure and we were at the vet when a woman came in with her dog mauled by another dog (she was hurt, too, but brought her dog in before she went to the doctor).

      The vet commented on what would happen if that was a service dog, and I said "Nothing, really, unless the person was injured."

      Then I got to thinking, and talking to people I knew who lost service dogs to being mauled by pet dogs, and so I wrote a rant for Top Comments, and was encouraged to make it less ranty and more informative, hence - these two diaries.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:14:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  or use the NRA solution. Give every blind person a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    gun to prevent attacks.  Makes as much sense as arming teachers.

    •  To train a dog, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, Lily O Lady

         you've gotta be smarter than the dog. That's very often the problem.
         So many people just seem to go go brain-dead when it comes to their dog. They will listen to criticisms of their spouse or child, but go ballistic if you ask them to please not let their dog bark all night under your bedroom window.
         Many of these are normally intelligent people. My sister is a genius, literally. Her children are well behaved, but her large dog has no discipline, eats whatever it wants off of the counter or your plate and plants it's muddy paws on your chest. She lets it run loose in the National forest where they live and chase the deer. Now she is getting a second large dog. I don't visit her any more.
        She has fallen in love with dogs and lost her common sense.  I like dogs and other animals, but good grief!

  •  thanks for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, chimene

    it's a good reminder.  Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, we have a problem with pit bulls or I should say, we have a problem with people who grossly mistreat pit bulls and occasionally deliberately sic them on other peoples' leashed pets in an effort to "train" them for their middle of the night dog fights in a local park.  I've known two dogs who wound up in emergency surgery after being torn apart.  The attacked dogs weren't service dogs, but the concept is the same.  They were just out taking a walk, on a leash.  If someone has a leashed dog, they also should be left alone unless the owner has expressly agreed to let their dogs meet.  Sadly, those pit bulls are often returned to their owners.  The whole thing makes me sick.  

    •  I walk with pepper spray (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

         Three years ago a neighbor's dog attacked my husband when he went to the curb for the mail. It was the third strike for that particular dog, a half pit bull, and they had it humanely put down.
         I have started carrying pepper spray when I walk. Our area is semi rural and I feel that I will have fewer problems from critters both four legged and two legged with pepper spray.
         

      •  when I get a dog again (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM

        I will do the same.  I mostly exercise at the gym these days, so it's not such an issue.  I couldn't bear to watch my pet torn apart by an out of control dog and want to feel safe.  it's sad, because pit bulls can be lovely sweet dogs, but I would fear ever adopting one, both because of their reputation and because you don't know where they come from and what bad habits may have been instilled in them.  Our pound is filled with them. We have some other private shelters that import dogs from other states and that's where most people go when they want to adopt a pet.  

  •  And if your dog is dog-aggressive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, chimene

    you have no business walking it out in areas where you are likely to encounter other dogs.

    I don't mean if your dog gets a little snarky when sniffed too long, or doesn't tolerate being bounced on, or hates being crowded.

    I mean if your dog is so dog-aggressive that just the sight of another dog a block away puts it into a murderous rage, please stay home.   Little Fluffy might be sweet and loving to people, and might have had a bad experience or lacked socialization or just have bad genes or any number of legitimate reasons why Fluffy hates other dogs, but that does not give you the right to put everyone else's dogs at risk.

    We walk in areas with lots of other dogs frequently, and at least four times my dogs have been attacked by a leashed dog who was so infuriated by the mere sight of my dogs walking calmly on leash that it slipped its leash or knocked its owner down or dragged its handler to try to attack my dogs.  In all cases they were not human-aggressive and so large amounts of shouting, stomping, and in some cases kicking sent the dogs on their way.

    One was a pit bull who slipped its harness, charged my dogs and went straight for the back of ones neck; luckily my dogs have very big necks for their height, but a smaller dog would have been dead on the spot (mine was unharmed and socialized enough to be none the worse for wear).

    One large mixed breed that weighed about 80 pounds dragged the girl of 10 who was walking it halfway across a street to charge mine before a parent stepped in.

    One shepherd mix knocked down its adult male owner and charged mine when they were in front of our own house, leashed, going for a potty break.  

    And one 80 pound Dalmatian mix dragged its 110 pound adult female handler the entire width of a parking lot while she yelled "He's friendly!" about her dog which was fully piloerected with platter-sized staring eyes and a deep throaty growl; my husband had enough advanced warning to position himself between our targeted dog and the charging one, and had some very choice words for his owner (who I swear still thinks he's friendly).

    In fact, of all the incidences we've had, only one was with an INTENTIONALLY off-leash dog, and that was a little Boston Terrier.  

    So again, if your dog does not like to be approached, sure bring him out safely leashed.  But if the sight of other dogs minding their own business is enough to make your dog want to fight, then keep it the hell home or basket-muzzle it when it's out.

  •  Our unfenced yard adjoined our neighbor's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, Noddy

    unfenced yard. They'd had dogs and a cat for years and though the dogs had occasionally wandered into the yard, it wasn't a problem. Then they got a new dog to replace another, a young very hyper dog. His interaction with their other dog was a very new dynamic. They raced from the neighbor's yard into ours at top speed running through stakes for our raspberries and generally bounding everywhere. I tried to discourage these rampages, but I guess it just made things worse. The new dog would growl and bark at me whenever I entered the yard, front or back.

    The neighbors maintained that he was a very friendly dog who was just nervous, but I know that a dog's behavior can turn in a matter of seconds. And along with the growling and barking, the dog would raise its hackles as well which my parents had taught me was a warning sign.

    Finally they fenced in their yard and we acquired a dog of our own. We walk our dog on a leash. My husband will let him run unleashed a little in our back yard, but he keeps him close (he's a 15 pound poodle/shi tzu/samoyed mix). That makes me nervous. We can let him run free at the fenced in dog park in town.

    When we walk him leashed at night, we've been surprised by our neighbor's dog growling and barking off leash in their front yard as we pass by on the way home. It's scared all of us at different times. They don't seem to see anything wrong with this. After all, they built a fence! I'm just hoping no one is bitten by the slavering hound.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:36:38 PM PST

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