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  #11  
Old 01-06-2011, 11:06 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet72947 View Post
Would you trust a person who functions at that level to handle a dog on their own?
NO.

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Originally Posted by Sweet72947 View Post
Should there be (is there?) an age cutoff for who can handle service dogs?
No, there's not. But public schools have special rules that the general public does not have, regarding anything that can be considered a distraction for other students in the school. That's how they can get away with dress codes and other such rules. With the right student/teacher/classmates/school, it COULD work.... But there are so many variables that I'm not sure it actually would work.

In general, I'm totally against kids handling service dogs by themselves in public. As a service dog trainer, I KNOW how difficult it is to control all the distractions in public; the amount of mental energy it takes to be able to handle your dog around all these distractions. You have to be extremely proactive, make quick decisions, be prepared for difficulties, keep your dog as your #1 priority at all times.... And that's in ADDITION to remembering all the cues and dealing with your disability. I've met a lot of great kids in my life, but I've met very few who have the maturity and sense of responsibility to be able to handle a service dog in public.

My organization's cutoff age is technically 18; but we've turned down several 20-somethings because we don't feel like they have the maturity or sense of personal responsibility to handle a service dog independently.

I also think that organizations who place service dogs with children do it for the PR and donations. I personally know a few organizations who, a few years ago, had extremely low numbers of people applying for service dogs, so they began training dogs for children and now are overwhelmed with applicants. The more applicants you have, the more donations you can get, plain and simple.


/stepping down from soapbox.
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2011, 08:17 AM
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CaliTerp07 CaliTerp07 is offline
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There's a lot of stupid local drama over this. The school district is the one I'm doing my student teaching in starting next week, so it's been buzzing in my ears. People are claiming that the schools are "liberal and hate the military" so they're discriminating against this boy and his family since Dad is in the Army. People wrote allllll kinds of nasty letters to the school and the county. It's really quite sad.

I remember watching a special on TV about service dogs being placed with children. The kids couldn't handle the dogs, the dogs weren't concrete enough in their jobs/tasks yet, and the kids weren't able to train it further. It just seems like it wouldn't actually be that beneficial, and absolutely would distract the rest of the class.

I question why this boy doesn't have a full time one-on-one aide if he's functioning 6 years below grade level and has so many physical issues.
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2011, 10:08 AM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I remember watching a special on TV about service dogs being placed with children. The kids couldn't handle the dogs, the dogs weren't concrete enough in their jobs/tasks yet, and the kids weren't able to train it further.
Yeah, no matter how solid a dog is on his tasks, when he goes to a new handler there's going to HAVE to be continuing training. We ALL know that dogs aren't computers that, once you program them, will run perfectly and consistently in every situation for the rest of their lives. Whoever is handling the dog will HAVE to do some training, and I just don't think most children are capable of handling that along with everything else.
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2011, 04:13 PM
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I also wonder how children are expected to handle their dog getting sick. Once Strider got sick all over the floor at Target. I called their assistance phone thingy and an employee brought some cleaning supplies, and I cleaned up the massive diarrhea puddle.

Is the handler kid expected to clean up if his dog barfs or has the runs? If not, who is? There are so many reasons why children with disabilities need an adult caretaker if their challenges are severe enough to merit a service animal.
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  #15  
Old 01-08-2011, 07:45 AM
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Nope, don't think it should be allowed at school without a full time aide or trainer to be responsible for the dog plain and simple. As others have pointed out, too many variables, too many distractions, and too much chance for more harm than good.
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  #16  
Old 01-08-2011, 04:16 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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we've been having a HUGE discussion on this over at my SD forum. In this particular case, I think the dog is appropriate, if it appears that the boy can handle the dog on his own. Generally I'd very much against SDs in school.

IF the boy can handle the dog on his own, great. Just because he's mentally functioning at a kindergarten level doesn't mean he's incapable of handling a dog. I know plenty SD handlers that have reduced mental capacity but are still excellent stewards.

What I absolutely DON'T agree with is letting dogs in school with very young children - kindergartners and such. And especially when those dogs are meant to babysit the kids (ie tether dogs) instead of actually doing tasks, and the kid stewarding the dog.

There's a lot to work out with having an SD in school. There was a kid in high school with me that had a seizure dog, and it seemed to work out well for him. Would I expect most middle or high school age kids to be able to handle an SD? No. But there are exceptions.



That all being said, this 2 week trial may very well prove me wrong and show that this kid isn't capable of properly stewarding his SD. In which case no, the dog should no longer be allowed in school.
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2011, 04:20 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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I also think that organizations who place service dogs with children do it for the PR and donatio
Yup. Sadly some very good programs are now training their washouts for kids, most often autistic kids, and usually tether dogs. Not even really tasks trained.

I read one - can't remember which program - that specifically says the dogs aren't housebroken. WTF? How can a service dog be a service dog if it's not even housebroken?
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  #18  
Old 01-11-2011, 09:18 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Okay, I take it back. This dog shouldn't be in school, or anywhere else. This is an UNALTERED BITCH and is now in heat. Awesome

Once-Banned Service Dog in Heat, Not in School | NBC Washington


I would not have an unaltered bitch as an SD. Twice a year the dog's going to be out of commission because you just can't drag a bitch in heat all over the place. An unaltered male is different...and Logan is not neutered. But males don't come into heat.
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  #19  
Old 01-11-2011, 10:04 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Sabin [president of the organization that trained this dog] said that since Andrew's story made national news, he has received more than 40,000 e-mails from across the world inquiring about purchasing seizure dogs.
Wonder how many donations he received in that time, too.

OMG.... Also on the organization's website:

Quote:
"Jonny" was a service dog in training that didn't make it through our program. Jonny is available as a pet.

Where most dogs seem to eventually catch on to the concept of SIT, "Jonny" just didn***8217;t get it. I suspect he has no eye/butt coordination. He looks at the treat in front of his nose, he watches it rise achingly slowly above his head, and his rear stays precisely where it is. Upping the ante ***8211; a piece of chicken breast, a bit of all-beef hotdog ***8211; no tidbit is enough to get him to park his tush.


Even when he is caught sitting on his own, and of course, we swoop in with effusive praise and treats, he cannot seem to connect the action with the word or hand signal.

***8220;He***8217;s not stupid, is he?***8221; my trainer begged to know. ***8220;He***8217;s just a little slow, right? Maybe we should get his hearing checked?***8221;

Umm, no, I don***8217;t think so.

Jonny is almost 3 years old and still, a gentle touch to his rump is needed to remind him that SIT has something to do with his hindquarters. COME is fine and STAY is, well, a work in progress.

Will Jonny ever comprehend even the most basic of commands?

Yes

Jonny can only benefit from his trainer***8217;s calm, patient, persistent training, and besides, what Jonny lacks in savvy, he makes up for in love.
The dog didn't make it through the program because they couldn't teach him sit? In three years, they couldn't teach him SIT??

Plus, HELLO, it's a german shepherd.... I wonder if they've bothered to get his hips x-rayed??


Wow, this just gets more and more scary....
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2011, 10:12 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Um, wow. If you can't teach a dog to sit, you probably shouldn't be training service dogs. Just sayin'.
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