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To Vest or Not to Vest?

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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Zoey

out of the- shiverer comes- the brave!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 8, '13 5:45pm PST 
I am not particularly fond of unnecessary attention, but when it presents itself I have no problem stating my opinion and standing my ground. I don't really go into stores very often (mainly because my MI has restricted me to all but a few places), so it'd be nice if my dog didn't stick out when I'm in regular places that dogs can go anyways. Am I being unrealistic with how I think this would go over with people? My local laws require me to register my dog with our shelter and then have it wear the Service Dog ID tag we'll be given. I just thought it'd be nice if I didn't have to blatantly give away its status as a Service Dog when it wasn't required or necessary. I'm totally open to vest my dog, just putting this out there to see how it might work.
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Rest in- Paradise- Voltaire.- 1/1

Did somebody say- deer??
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 8, '13 6:10pm PST 
You're going to get harassed a -lot- by having an unvested animal in a store. Business owners and managers will fight tooth and nail trying to say that your dog is not a SD and that it should be wearing identification. While not required by law they still don't want to hear it; the regular public will see this too and begin to think it's totally fine for them to take their dog in too.
Your dog is less "visible" to whom it may concern when in vest.
Dog in a vest= "oh that dog is allowed to be in here. No big deal then"

It's completely up to you but for your own sanity vest your dog.
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Rest in- Paradise- Voltaire.- 1/1

Did somebody say- deer??
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 8, '13 6:12pm PST 
You're going to get harassed a -lot- by having an unvested animal in a store. Business owners and managers will fight tooth and nail trying to say that your dog is not a SD and that it should be wearing identification. While not required by law they still don't want to hear it; the regular public will see this too and begin to think it's totally fine for them to take their dog in too.
Your dog is less "visible" to whom it may concern when in vest.
Dog in a vest= "oh that dog is allowed to be in here. No big deal then"

It's completely up to you but for your own sanity vest your dog.
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Cooper

microscopic mutt
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 8, '13 7:34pm PST 
Zoey - Think nothing of it. It would be no problem whatsoever for you to take your SD unvested into pet-friendly stores.

Also, just for what it's worth - your local law saying that you have to "register my dog with our shelter and then have it wear the Service Dog ID tag we'll be given" is overruled by the ADA, which has no such requirement. In at least one case (California) an SD tag is a requirement for *SDiTs*, but it's never mandatory for SDs.
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Abrams Tank- SDiT

I'm trying to- fill some BIG- paws
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 9, '13 10:09pm PST 
Whenever my husband and I take Tank and Bella into pet friendly places we make sure that Tank is in his vest anyway because a lot of people just want to run up and pet him. Granted he is a big baby but we try to educate people every chance we get. Bella tends to be more aloof with strangers but very attentive to me during any outing. The first weekend of September (labor day weekend) for example we took the dogs to a local cave and did some gem mining. We kept the dogs close by us but instead of them having their vests on they were wearing their backpacks. A lot of people figured out right away that they were working dogs and didnt bother them. The dogs loved working and while we were taking a break a lady came over and was talking with us and Bella I guess sensed my stress level starting to rise so she put herself between us and leaned in close to my knees then finally wound up laying her body half in my lap and looking at the lady like she was saying "do you mind stepping back a little you are making mom nervous." She never showed teeth she just gave that look. It got to a point that my 16 year old son finally looked at the lady and said calmly but firmly "It would be a nice thing for you to take a step or two back away from my mom. You are bothering the dog." At 6 foot 5 inches tall and almost 300 pounds of muscle he is not a small boy and not a force to be ignored. The lady got the point and finally after 15 minutes moved on. But in answer to your question I think it is up to you about vesting your SD in pet friendly places.
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 4:02pm PST 
Easy. If pet dogs are allowed, vest or don't vest; completely up to you and however you feel at the time. If pet dogs are not allowed, a SD should always be vested except for in an extremely extremely extreme circumstance.
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Pooch ~ I- miss you ~

love forever
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 11:52am PST 
Just curious why you say a SD should always be vested? The law does not require any vest or ID correct?
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Harley, SD,- CGC, TDI

Super Service- Boy!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 12:30pm PST 
I'm going to disagree with the majority here.

It is 100% a personal decision and 100% ok not to vest. In fact, in my experience, you get harassed a lot less if you don't vest. It doesn't make sense, but I have experienced that on occasions where Harley could not wear his harness, and it is also the experience of most handlers I've talked to who have not vested.

If I had issues with people approaching me, I'd likely never vest.
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Nova

1184372
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 9:06pm PST 
Correct, the law does not require a vest, but it is extremely rude to business owners and the public not to vest.

First, if your dog is unvested in a place where dogs are not allowed, you should be approached by employees telling you dogs are not allowed. This is putting employees in the position of doing extra work, and it's simply polite not to do that when taking literally 15 seconds to put on a vest would avoid that. Additionally, why anybody would want to explain themselves a gazillion times each outing is beyond me. (Plus, if you're unvested, you do NOT get to get huffy when you're asked to leave and have to explain that your dog is actually a SD.)

From the public's perspective, they see an unvested dog in a place where you normally don't see dogs, and then they think that pets are allowed. So they will bring their dog with them next time. This creates problems for both the employees/business owners and the customers as the employees will have to deal with an influx of pet dogs and customers who bring their dog thinking it is legal will be very inconvenienced when they cannot continue with their shopping/watch the parade/do whatever.

The reason vesting is not law is because there may be an extreme circumstance where you are separated from your vest. I think one poster mentioned that during Katrina evacuations s/he was with his/her SD and was separated from the vest. In this case, the handler should still be able to access public places. But short of 9/11 or Katrina, your SD should be vested even though it's not required.

Under the law you're allowed to advocate for the assassination of the president or stand on a street corner and scream at people as they're walking to work or do any number of things that are simply inappropriate. Just because something is *legal* doesn't mean it's a good practice.

Harley, I really respect you as a handler, but I have to respectfully disagree with your position on vests. I think not vesting is extremely selfish and shows a blatant disregard for other people.

We are already having other people accommodate us by allowing us in stores. Yes, it is required by law, but that doesn't minimize the impact our presence has on other people. People with allergies to dogs may have to cut their shopping trip short, or people who are deathly afraid of dogs can be thrown for a loop, never expecting to see one in the "safe zone" of a store. Sure, it doesn't compare to living with a disability, but let's show the compassion for others that we wish to have shown to us. For us to add another layer of complication onto the imposition we place on others when simply vesting the dog would avoid this imposition is, to me, simply unconscionable.
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Lucy Ribeiro

1300329
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 10:30pm PST 
Personally in my opinion I get harrassed so much more when I dont have my service dogs vest on when I enter a business or anything like that. Whenever I dont have it on there more likely to question her being a service dog its also different to my dog because she gets confused between her day off when she doesnt have her vest and when I have it on. So for her I always place her vest on when entering a business. Just seems to be easier when business owners see the vest and see your dog indentified as a service dog.

In fact I have had businesses tell me thank you so much for having a vest on that easily lets us know its a service animal.
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