I know I am going to be told otherwise but I think a pitty as a service dog is a really bad idea. I don't think the public is ready to accept them as safe. If anything it will only add fuel to the fear.
Hold on... let me explain why.
If any one of those Pitty service dogs acts out of line in any way it will be on the news faster than OJ admitting he killed his wife. In the public eye out of line will be anything, even if the dog sniffs a small kid, parents are going to freek. I know this from first hand experience...
Long story short I was walking my BOXER. Lady came down the sidewalk. Boxer became excited to see a new "friend" licked the lady. She freeked called the police insisted I stay there till they show up. Told the police that "That Pit Bull" attacked her and they should shoot it on the spot. Officer walked over to my boxer with her tail about to fall off from waggin it so hard, played with her for a sec and said maam this Pit Bull is a Boxer and there is no way it could have attacked you.
Now if people are that afraid there is no way they are going to accept them in stores. Not to mention it will be a political/legal nightmare for the service dog industry which should be spending money on training dogs for people not fighting the Pit Bull battle. There are better ways to get public acceptance other than forcing it on them with a legal loop hole.
***Edited By: Happy1 on 2/15/2007 10:14:28 AM*** Reason: typo
That's terrible. I hate that when people go nuts because they think your dog is 'dangerous'. I have a German Shepherd and she is so friendly and sometimes when I pass people she will have a sniff at them. Some people freak out, they are always shouting at me that I own a dangerous dog and so on. Sure she's still only a puppy, she's only 18 months old. Its so stupid, if they actually educated themselves on the breed they might have more respect for these so called 'dangerous dogs'.
I don't think it's fair to require the general public to educate themselves on the habits of dogs. It's up to the owners to keep their dogs (and especially juvenile dogs) under complete control. I would never allow my dog to "have a sniff" at a passerby, unless that passerby expressed an interest, vocally or physically, in meeting my dog.
However, any certified service dog should be recognized and, at least, tolerated as such by everyone, regardless of its breed.
Look at it from walmart perspective. like it or not, pits got a bad rap. the manager didn't know anything about this dog. all he had to go by were some statistics and public perception about pits. walmart is usually full of people and kids who may not know how to behave around dogs and could easily provoke the dog. he did a quick risk assessment and decided that the risk of the dog biting someone or scare potential customers was not worth the potential fines he could get. had the dog bitten a kid, they would have been facing a multi million dollars law suite and the manager would have lost his job. it was not worth the risk for them.
I am sure the owner knew about public perception and knew about the problems she could face by having a pit for a service dog. she had many others much more acceptable and more suitable breeds that could do the job. she obviously on some kind of a mission with an agenda and thrive on the attention she is getting. it is hard enough to live with a disability. why make it harder on herself by picking a pit. instead of trying to adapt the world to her needs, the least she should do is to try and adapt herself to the world first. Had she gotten a lab, non of this would have happened. every one likes and accepts labs. should have stuck with something that works.
I agree with your points gbroxon but I think irishShepherd meant looks in their direction or "sniffs" in their direction not really climb all over them.
Also on your comment... "However, any certified service dog should be recognized and, at least, tolerated as such by everyone, regardless of its breed." If it is not "fair to require the general public to educate themselves on the habits of dogs" then why should the general public have to accept a dog they believe to be a threat. In my opinion it is irresponsible of the organization that trained the pit when they know it will not be accepted by the public. Most likely they will have to train another dog for this person because a pit is just not realistic as a service dog (because of the public fear of them).
On a side note if this person truly wanted to educate people about service dogs they would be sending out information to let people know how to identify a service dog, the kind of training these dogs go thru, and explaining that service dogs are safe to the public no matter what the breed. From the article it seems as though they are trying to throw Walmart under the bus and obtain Pitties some fame from it.
It is a sad thing to happen. Probably not the first store that has turned her away. Service dogs are not to be touched by the general public while they are on duty. If she had a sign on her dog, like some do, they would assume it had a problem with being touched. The general public does not know much about them. My own husband thought a halti harness meant the dog could bite. I had to school him on that. When we adopt out a pit, the new owners HAVE to put that dog thru training. Pit service dogs probably need even more. Just to stay on top of the game. There is a pitbull in our area that is going to become one of the first therapy dogs in this area. I feel so bad for these dogs, whenever I walk our rescues, everybody steers clear of them. So sad, because if its any other dog, they get to have more socialization. I remember at petco I went to pet a pit, and the owner thanked me and said her dog does not understand why people don't want to come near her. Ok enough rambling, sorry. But all in all I understand why Walmart would do that, but it could be a lawsuit in the making.
Whoever said you can't buy happiness, must have never owned a dog!!!!!!!!!!!
becoming a service dog is not easy. they just don't pass any dog just for the sake of putting them out there. they have to undergo strict temperament testing, training, etc. if this pitbull passed all it needed to pass to become a service dog then by all means it has the right to go wherever any other service dog breed is allowed.
by saying it shouldnt be allowed to be a service dog because of its breed is insane. if you put the limit there because of its breed, then you would have to limit the other areas in which they can be trained, such as search and rescue. people do have to realize that a nasty pitbull is not going to pass service dog training, just as a nasty german shepherd is not going to pass seeing eye dog training.
while i am not saying that anyone has to accept the breed itself if they choose not to , they do need to at least recognize an individual dog for what it has accomplished and not be biased against it because of what breed it is.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
I agree with you scout1 100% but that is in a perfect world and in reality it just is not going to work. The reality of it is most places that train service dogs are non-profit. If they train dogs that the owners can not use then they are defeating their purpose. Now if some Pit Bull association/club wants to give money to organizations to train Pit Bulls as service dogs (to help change their image), then it might work because the organizations would have the extra resources they need to properly introduce them to the public as service dogs. Actually that would probably be an ideal situation because Pit Bulls are pretty abundant in the pounds and are pretty well suited for several types of service dogs.
I'll disagree with Happy. I think that the more pitties that become service dogs, their image can only become better in the public's eye. I don't think that the people training/using these dogs as service dogs should feel a need to take out ads or write articles or get the media involved in making them acceptable as such. In my view, doing those things would make John Q. Public go, "Huh? Why do they have to tell me that pitties are okay as service dogs? What are they not telling me?" JMO, of course.
Good point gbroxon. That would probably not be the best way to introduce them to the public. It is the news and publications that have given them a bad name though so it will take the news and publications to give them a good name. I think positive news would be best. For example: An interview about how that pit bull has helped the person in this article or an article about how well suited pit bulls are and how they are selected for service dogs.
Speaking of people being affraid of every dog that comes in sight. I had a lady that came to my house and was scared to death of my Italian Greyhound and he doesnt dislike anybody and has never even growled out of fear or anger.
"In my opinion it is irresponsible of the organization that trained the pit when they know it will not be accepted by the public."
So you're saying this dog isn't a good representative of it's breed? That's quite ignorant...therapy, service, S&R Pit Bulls are the ones that MANY Pit Bull enthusiasts are pushing for. Most people know that service dogs go through extensive training, and a dog that old, through that training, wearing that vest, should be obvious as safe in public. It does not matter if they would've accepted the dog in were it a Golden or a Labrador...the fact of it all is that this is a service dog. And any manager of a chain like that should know that service dogs should NEVER be refused access.
There is no reason, EVER, to refuse service dogs into any place like that. That is completely unreasonable, ignorant, and discriminatory when you really look at it.
That's horrible! =( I mean come on! Why would someone care if a pitbull service dog came into a store. They have every right to if they passed all tests to become one! Do you think every labrador or golden could pass for a service dog? Absolutley not. That's so sad. You would think that might help the breed by being a good representative of the APBT. Right?
Juno - Had she gotten a lab, non of this would have happened. every one likes and accepts labs. should have stuck with something that works.
Why does that not surprise me in the least?
And who is to say that a lab, or golden, or whatever breed service dog would or would not be biting? That he didnt feel ppl in the store would be safe. Well what about other dogs?
With the dog having the vest on anyways, no one should be approaching the dog. Maybe instead of worrying about kids running up to the "potential biting dog" they should be schooled on watching their kids in public.