It’s the weekend, your time for running errands. You’ll be out all day, the same as during the week, and Fido just stares at you. Fido knows you’re leaving again and it breaks your heart. After all, Fido will be left all alone. Again.
You feel bad, even sorry, for leaving your best friend. I mean look at that face? How could anyone resist, especially not you.
You think, ‘what’s the harm?’ and together you and Fido head for the car where your “service dog” vest you bought online waits in the glove box. Fido dances, butt wiggling, with excitement. Once the vest is on you two head off to your local Walmart or grocery to get some shopping done.
Where’s the harm in spending some time together?
Once at the store you two head into together. Fido at the end of its leash says hello to anyone and everyone. Oh, but wait! There’s some delectable meats Fido must sniff and lick. Isn’t Fido just the cutest?
While Fido maybe cute, your Fido belongs at home.
Service dogs are highly trained, specifically to mitigate their handler’s disability. The training these dogs undergo takes years and most aren’t up to the job.
A fake service dog may do any (or all) of the following:
- bight or snap at a person
- sniff/lick/eat produce
- relieve themselves
- destroy merchandise
- lose self control
- ignore their handler
- say hello to everyone
- rear up on people
- be aggressive towards a real service dog
Management and employees see this behavior, from your vested fake service dog with its ID, and automatically assign this behavior to any dog in a service dog vest. This behavior is obviously unacceptable since no one wants to eat or prepare food a dog just finished licking. Management approaches you and you proudly produce your “service dog ID” that came with your vest. Disgruntled, management leaves you alone.
Now enter me, a woman who needs her service dog in order to live a normal life, with my service dog. A manager confronts me, demanding proof of my disability or “ID” for my dog. I, being the educated handler that I am, raise a brow and inform them of certain aspects of the law. Once I’m finished I candidly point out that my dog never moved from my side, ignored everyone around him, including that other fake Fido over there.
Fake service dogs create access issues for legitimate handlers. Why? Their poor behavior reflects badly on all dogs in a service dog vest.
A true service dog will do none of the bullet points above. They will behave appropriately (above any pet dog) and help their handler as they are trained to do.
Please leave your precious baby at home. After all, public places are sensory overload for dogs not trained to handle the chaos that is the public. Often times pets become overwhelmed in such an environment and may act out of character (such as showing aggression or trying to run away). This is unfair to your dog since they are going through undue stress and anxiety in such a bustling place.