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People trying to pet your SD

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Thu Sep 12, '13 11:44pm PST 
Is it just me or do other people have this same issue of when you are inside somewhere or just walking in say a farmers market or to somewhere and some tries to pet your SD and you tell them no she is working. Then they proceed to scream at you and call you a ass or mean? I have been getting more anxious about places because I have problems telling people no you cant pet her and it adds stress on me because they are going to scream at me after. Even though my dogs vest has one it two giant patches that say stop please dont pet nor distract.

Has anyone else had this issue? If so how do you go about telling people? I mean the most I give them is I am sorry but no you cant pet her she is working.
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Beth

Hey! I hear- people landing- on the Moon!
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 12:13am PST 
I've trained my service dog to move away from people who attempt to pet her. She's a small breed service dog, and people seem to have a very bad habit of ignoring the fact that she wears a labeled Service Dog vest and trying to pet her or even (gawd forbid) pick her up.

People end up being under the misapprehension that she's afraid. She's not afraid, she'd doing what she's been trained to do.
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 4:38am PST 
Yes my dog is trained aswell to move away from people who attempt to pet her aswell. That forces her to stop working and change her focus to something else. For me I had someone petting her and she kept trying to move from them and I was at a wedding attempting to get food and having my hand yanked in a different direction and dropped the plate of food.

I felt horrible and went to clean it and the staff said no and did it themselves which I was glad about. However when I looked at my dog she was fine and no one was near her so I was like ok thats weird you havent done that before. Then I try to get food again and the kid walked back up appareantly and began petting her yet again. Finally Lucy signaled me by poking my leg something was up and the girl right at that moment grabbed her foot and she backed up and I dropped a seond plate. I finally had it and yelled. Told her please dont pet my service dog she is trying to work and I am trying to get food. THis is a time where I am giving her commands to move forward and stop and when I say stop I need her to stay dead still so I dont drop things your confusing her by petting her and making her loose track and then she is trying to pull away please stop.

Her mother came over and screamed at me. I just went lady I have dropped two plates full of food on the ground now because your daughter is petting my working animal and she is trying to get her to stop. Please monitor your child so I dont have to. I probably shouldnt have yelled but I felt bad for the workers who had to clean up after me twice because some un trained child kept doing that.
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 4:40am PST 
Heres another thing I have problems with my family and friends see my dog and they pet her! I have tried telling them hey please dont pet my dog. If were in your house and I remove her vest then yes feel free to pet her and play with her as its ok. However some of my family keeps petting her using the excuse of well she is my niece or I know her so I can pet her. I respond with no if her vest is on she is working and needs to focus on her job not trying to get you to stop petting her.


Anyone have any advice how to speak to your family and friends so they stop doing this? Any advice is welcomed and I appreciate it thanks
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Polly

Lolly girl
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 2:18pm PST 
Sorry you are having problems..I think this is the biggest problem with having a SD, dealing with the public, I just step in front of Polly and say "NO.. Honey or Sweetie she is a working dog not a pet, I could fall if she is gets distracted." I say the no in a firm clear voice and then soften my voice a little to say Honey etc...

Sometimes if I see kids that i think might be a problem I put the shopping cart between Polly and them, if my husband is with me he will block. I really have more problems with adults shrug You just learn to keep one eye on people, it is hard to do sometimes...you will get drive by pettings..it happens. I also have learned to flat out ignore these rude/thoughtless people, not to make eye contact and just move Polly out of reach while I walk away. But I do try to educate people that are kind and respectful of our space if they ask a question or give a complement.
As far as family goes..if you have already asked them not to pet when working you might try sending them a letter or e-mail explaining how this effects you and why they should respect your wishes and please follow the rules.. Good luck and hang in there dog
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 13, '13 3:30pm PST 
That is great advice thank you so much. I mean my therapist used to pet my dog when her vest was on and she thanks me all the time for informing her how bad that can be. Now she waits until I remove the vest to say hello to my doggie. I let her go off duty in her office because I am busy and she enjoys walking around outside and taking a nap.

In the area of my family ill try the email trick and see if that works. Also do you ever feel bad telling someone no they cant pet your dog? Thats one problem I have because of my mental issues I feel horrible saying you cant pet her even though I know I cant let them pet her so she can continue to work and help me.
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 14, '13 1:44pm PST 
One suggestion other than how to respond to people when they pet your SD is how you want your SD to respond when people touch her.

Instead of having our SDs move away from people touching them (which could lead to disastrous consequences when people just won't stop and they keep moving away, like you saw!), we have our guide dog pups focus on *us* when people pet them. So a touch from a person immediately means *stay right with handler, mentally and physically*. This is a really awesome response because then kids can be poking and prodding but there will never be a dangerous situation because it just means the dog is *super* tuned in to the handler. Sure, it will be annoying for the dog which is why it is the handler's responsibility to put an end to it ASAP, but having to move away from the touching while still trying to work would be just as annoying and could also be extremely dangerous.

So while I definitely run into trouble with petting, it's not a huge deal because our work is never affected by it.

Just a suggestion! And other than people learning some manners, If big signs that say "Stop" don't get people to, well, stop, I'm not sure they'll learn!

As an aside, another thing I do when I hear a parent tell a kid not to pet the dog, or a kid tell another kid not to pet the dog, is to tell them thanks. For parents, I tell them how much I appreciate them telling their kids because kids are a huge problem, and for kids I tell them how important it is. If nothing else, expressing my gratitude will help the "good ones" realize how much of an issue it is, and potentially in another situation this may get passed on to another person. (Like to another parent-friend: "Oh, we saw a dog in the store today and I told little Jimmy not to pet him, and the handler thanked me and said it was a huge problem. I didn't realize that; I thought it was obvious!" This parent friend didn't realize it was obvious and would have allowed his/her little Sally to pet SDs, but now knows not to...)
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 14, '13 3:19pm PST 
Yes I have trained my dog to basically sit down when getting someone who is petting them. Sometimes she will poke my leg in a certain spot to alert me that something is happening so I can look down and stop what is happening. The old thing I had her doing was backing up and sometimes she forgets and then begins to back up. Been a long process getting her to stop by long I mean its only been 3 weeks. She normally figures out out by the time 4 weeks hits.

I always always say thank you sooooo much to those kids who walk up and ask me can I please pet your dog and I explain to them why or why not they can pet my dog. After I explain it to them I always make sure to tell the parents thank you for telling and teaching your kids this as its not a behavior that most parents teach there children and its something that can get them hurt with the growing number of people faking SD. Those dogs arent trained to deal with the stimulus of a kid grabbing there tail or lunging at them.
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 14, '13 3:22pm PST 
The main problem I am having right now is with family members and very close friends. with whom think its ok to pet my dog simply because they know her so closely and therefore they pet her and I get anxious about telling them no please dont pet her even though I have told them over and over again. However I am thinking I am going to send out a email to all of them explaining what it does to her and more importantly what it is doing to me. Hopefully they understand and change there behavior.
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 14, '13 3:35pm PST 
Stinks to be in that situation, Lucy! I'm sorry! I haven't had that trouble.

Just thinking out loud here, but would it help to have your SD in a vest whenever family can't pet her and then whenever she is vestless they can?

Maybe you're already doing that. If not, it might help to give them a visual cue.

Good luck!

And yes, I agree that it's going to get rough with the rising number of fakers. True SDs can deal with kid poking, etc., but unqualified SDs may not be able to. There have already been several instances of "SDs" biting kids. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people learned to not distract SDs and if seeing a SD team meant the dog was actually trained? There's always hope!
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