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Questions about assistance dogs

Discussion in 'Assistance Dogs' started by CavalierLotta, Mar 11, 2017.


  1. CavalierLotta

    CavalierLotta PetForums Junior

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    Hey everyone,
    my client has some questions about assistance dogs. For now she would like to ask about one thing but she might have more questions later on. She has heard and read that assistance dogs can be kept off lead if it prevents them from working. She guesses that one of the reasons might be that if the owner had an epileptic seizure and used a leash, he or she might get entangled in it. Could anyone list some other reasons for keeping an assistance dog off lead?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. leashedForLife

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    as SDs do so many varied tasks for many different disabilities, medical / physical / mental conditions, & more, this is more on a case-by-case basis - but if it's ever questioned by a shop owner, or if the off-leash SD causes any issue for passerby, the handler had better have a GOOD solid reason, not a whim or a self-serving rationalization, to explain "why my SD must be off-leash to perform tasks".
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    It's a potentially serious legal issue, & can end with the handler fined or the dog banned, if there isn't a specific justifiable reason to have the dog free-ranging, or worse yet, have the dog free-ranging when s/he is not extremely well-trained & highly compliant - even under stress, immersed in random events.
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  3. CavalierLotta

    CavalierLotta PetForums Junior

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    Hello!
    First of all, this topic is not related to my client's dog. She is just interested in this topic and would like to know more about it.:)

    My client referred to trained assistance dogs. She was just wondering why they in some cases are kept off lead. She knows that their tasks depend on the disability of their owner. My client was wondering if you could list some reasons for keeping them off lead. She understands that it can be a serious legal issue if there's no justifiable reason. So what could these justifiable reasons be?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. leashedForLife

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    only the SD's handler could answer that, i'm afraid. :)
    I have yet to train an SD who needed to be off-lead in order to do her or his job.
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  5. CavalierLotta

    CavalierLotta PetForums Junior

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    Ok, thanks for your reply!:Happy Does anyone else know about this topic?
     
  6. jojora

    jojora PetForums Junior

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    My dog is in training to be a medical alert dog but is kept on lead at all times. However, a close friend of mine has a medical alert dog that is trained to seek out another person's help when her handler loses consciousness, which obviously requires her to be off lead in order to go find someone. I have also heard of some dogs (PTSD dogs in particular) being off-lead in order to circle their handler and provide a barrier in crowded areas. Mobility dogs are often off-lead in order to be able to retrieve objects or perform various other tasks that their handler's do not have the mobility to perform themselves. Finally, people who are wheel-chair bound, missing limbs, confined to walkers, or have other obstacles that would make holding a lead incredibly difficult often have off-lead dogs.
     
    Bella92 likes this.
  7. Mochi_Chan_Ham

    Mochi_Chan_Ham PetForums Junior

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    As someone who has a seizure alert dog, this is not true, most people with seizure alert dogs (including me) hold a lead and we don't get tangled in it when we have a Grand Mal.

    Instances for people who need off lead dogs are those taught to seek out medical help, but even then the off lead dogs are rare and only used for those that loose complete consciousness on a regular basis and in those instances, they mostly have the dogs on lead in public areas with lots of people.

    In my 3 and a half years on Assistance dog and Service Dog forums on google and facebook and 5 years having my own assistance dog, I've never seen anyone with an off lead assistance dog, so they are rarely needed it seems.
     
  8. Bella92

    Bella92 PetForums Newbie

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    My child's service dog is being trained off-lead, because he's wheelchair bound and a lead gets tangled in all of his medical equipment, and also because many of the dog's tasks require her to be off-lead (opening doors, retrieving objects, retrieving medication, reaching light switches, etc.)

    It's not super common, but there are definitely several others within my local service dog community that also have off-lead dogs. Of course, any service dog that is properly trained should be just as well-behaved off-lead as it is on. And that still doesn't mean you should be off-lead without having a good reason for it. But there are absolutely people with good reasons for it.

    I know that in the U.S. the law states that a working dog must be on-lead unless the handler is incapable of holding a lead or the dog performs tasks that require it to be off-lead. So as long as you're within those legal parameters and have a properly trained dog, it's acceptable.
     
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