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Working Dog Handout - drafting and weight pull
Crash Course Weight Pull
OFA vs. PennHip
Supplements and Medications at Home
How to Treat Hot Spots
How to Make a Wicket
How to Make a Bloat Kit
Insights from Christine Zink, PhD, DVM
How much should
Greater Swiss Health
P2Y12: What it doesn't mean
Insights from Christine Zink, Phd, DVM
How to Research Dog Show
Danger of Fake Service Dogs
How to Transport a Puppy
Greater Swiss Facebook
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Raw Diet and Other Recipes
How Restaurants can Impress Patrons with Service Dogs
Things you didn't know about being a
Therapy Dog Handler.
many Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are in the US?
How many Lowchens
are in the US?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
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|Have you ever felt help
like you couldn't control your body? Perhaps you couldn't walk. Maybe you
couldn't see. Maybe you couldn't hear what people were saying. According to
the United States Census Bureau, about 5.4% of Americans are living with a
disability. One valuable furry creature that has been making the lives of
people with a disability better is the service dog. For this post, I'll be
using the term service dog to include any dog (or monkey or pony) that assists a
person with disability. This includes, but is not limited to guide dogs,
hearing dogs, seizure alert dogs, and mobility dogs. |
*Please note that
faking a service dog is a serious offense. It is not cool. I encounter
people frequently who want to register their pets (often ill-behaved) as service
dogs or they want to get one as if it was a trendy purse. Not cool. Seriously
A service dog can be trained to:
objects or a phone
Balance a person when
Turn on/off lights
Retrieve a telephone
Guide a person during
Alert a person to
every day sounds like a baby crying or a knock at the door
Alert a person when
they sense an oncoming seizure
Dogs are intelligent and highly useful creatures. When I was on crutches, my
Mouse would pull me around the house in a rolling chair and fetch items for me.
Mouse had already been taught to pull in draft training and to fetch items in
water rescue and obedience training. Additionally, service dogs can be trained
to complete very complex tasks. My late trainer's dog completed a very
difficult task one day at Pace Bend Park. My trainer, Dick, took both his dog
out on a boat. Dick threw his cane overboard while in the middle of the lake.
Buddy, his service dog, jumped out of the boat, fetched the cane, and brought it
back to the boat. Buddy then pulled the boat to shore. Needless to say, Dick
was a great trainer, and Buddy was a wonderful dog.
Dick, Chase, and Buddy on the boat back in 2004.
The value of a service dog is that they give people freedom to live their lives
more independently, and that value is priceless. As Austin is a very dog
friendly city, it may be difficult to determine whether or not a dog is only a
companion dog or a service dog. Here's a friendly guide for restaurants on some
challenges and etiquette when serving a guest with a service dog.
Please see Keep
Austin Dog Friendly for etiquette that companion dog owners should
follow when dining out with their dogs. A big thank you for
Sheri Soltes from Texas
Hearing and Service Dogs for providing much of this information.
By law, a
service dog is allowed to accompany his/her handler anywhere he or she
may go. That means that the dog is allowed in restaurants (not
just the patio), retail stores, banks, and hotels. Even if the hotel
does not allow pets, a
service dog is
allowed by law. The hotel must accommodate and allow the service
dog, regardless of the dog's size. Hotels may not charge a pet fee for
the service, however, the handler is responsible for any damage that the
dog might cause.
Service dogs aren't
always easy to identify. Disabilities are not always visible or obvious.
While many of service dogs may wear vests with logos, some will not.
Service dogs come in many breeds and sizes depending on their function.
If a person identifies their dog as a service dog, I wouldn't
interrogate the handler anymore. Comments and questions such as, "Well,
you don't look disabled." or "What kind of disability do you have?" are
highly offensive. Avoid those types of remarks.
Please do not pet a
service dog without first asking permission from the handler. The
handler might instruct you on how or when to pet the dog. Please do not
be surprised if the handler requests that you not disturb the dog.
Remember, these dogs are working all the time. They do need a break
once in a while. Additionally, the handler may be using the quiet time
under the table as a training tool.
Please do interact
with the dog's handler. A common mistake that one might make it to
completely ignore the dog's handler and to speak only to other people at
the table. Also, please don't direct your questions to the dog. The
dog's handler is your customer. It is a restaurant's job to provide
service to the customer, not to make a big deal about a dog.
Many handlers will
ask their dogs to remain in a down position during their visit.
Please don't bark at the dog, call the dog, or throw food at the dog.
Don't ask me why people bark at dogs. I don't understand it.
Most of the time,
the handler will let you know where it is most convenient to be seated.
The handler may have a difficult time navigating through a sea of
tables, un-level ground, or stairs. Occasionally, diners with a service
dog might be seated in an isolated corner by the staff. This may make
the diner feel as if he or she is a nuisance or bothersome. Dining out
is not something we do to just to fill our stomachs. Dining out is a
social experience that should involve good food, good drink, and good
company. To make someone feel as if his or her party is isolated from
the rest of the world does not make for a positive dining experience.
All diners should be seated in such a fashion that they feel that their
patronage of your restaurant is appreciated.
If other diners do
not wish to be seated near a service dog, the proper course of action
would be to offer the other diners another seating arrangement. It
is considered improper to move the party with the service dog.
A service dog's
handler should carry water for the dog along with supplies to clean
up/pick up. While a restaurant not required to provide water for
the dog, it doesn't hurt to ask if the dog can be offered water.
Any other questions about dining out with service dogs can be sent to
or you can browse the
Texas Hearing and Service Dog website for more information.
Adri and Cookie, photo courtesy of
Dining out with a service dog, photo courtesy of
Stephanie Racier and Excalibur, photo courtesy of