Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Service Dogs as Welcomed Guest Over the Holidays and Beyond

Shilo in her harness laying in the grass next to the pool fence
Shilo at a Barbecue at a friend's house on a down stay off the deck, away from the food and out of foot traffic patterns.

Shilo and I with friends at a Thanksgiving celebration.
The holidays are chocked full of invitations, family events, and more requiring the human half of a service dog team to decide whether or not to bring their service dog when the event in question is being held at a private home. With some family, friends and co-workers the invitation may specifically include the service dog by name; however, that is hardly the end of the decision making process regarding the service dog's attendance.


Considerations for Taking An SD to a Private Home
  1. Is the person inviting you the owner of the home/host?
  2. Do they know about your service dog?
  3. Did they include your service dog in the original invitation?
  4. Do they have other pets in the house that would be upset by the presence of your service dog? Would the presence of other pets upset your service dog/ affect their ability to support you?
  5. Are the residents of the house or other invitees allergic/ afraid of dogs?
  6. If the home is a rental, could there be issues with the property owner/landlord?
  7. Would the presence of your service dog have a negative affect on your ability to enjoy the event?
  8. Do you require the assistance of your service dog in order to be able to get to and/ or participate in the event?
  9. Can you handle any negative reactions to the presence of your SD?
  10. Is their anyone coming to the event that has caused problems with regard to your service dog before?
Tips for Ensuring your Service Dog is a Welcome House Guest
If you are bringing someone to an event at someone's house, it is because you need them to mitigate your disability. This means that your service dog:
  1. Is in working mode. Remember, dogs are situational. Whatever behavior you allow the first time you visit someone's house, they will list as acceptable rules for that environment.
  2. Is well groomed.
  3. Calm, quiet and unobtrusive. Your service dog should be under your supervision at all times. If your service dog begins having problems of any sort leave before you are asked.
  4. Has all their needs planned for and met by you. Never assume that the host will provide for any of your  dog's needs even if their are dogs at the residence.
  5. Keep all four on the floor at all times. If staying overnight, bring you dog's mat or bed with you.
  6. Ask if there are any areas that are off limits to your service dog.
  7. Do not allow your service dog to wander.
  8. Ask where you should relieve your service dog and clean up after them.
  9. If your service dog damages anything, pay for it, fix it, and apologize.
  10. Give people a chance to see some of the support your service dog provides for you, and be proud of them/ the independence they bring you.
Shilo is the only dog regularly welcomed in my friend's houses. I work hard to ensure she is always on her best behavior and representative of how a service dog should behave.

No comments: