Four Paws on the Floor. Real rule or fake? And how to tell?
Yesterday’s Letter Writer from Florida, like many people, holds the misconception that all service dogs work exclusively from the floor.
This is as far from the truth as my service dog is from the floor.
Small service dogs, especially those trained to sense chemical changes in their handlers, are often trained to do their work from a carrier. This puts the dog closer to their owner and allows for easier contact and work.
Carrying or training a small service dog to work “up,” whether in its owner’s lap or in a carrier, offers the benefit of greater contact and allows the service dog to focus more completely on his or her handler without having to keep an eye and ear out for approaching shopping carts or feet.
So next time you see a dog in a bag or a purse, riding on someone’s lap or in someone’s arms, take a moment to consider that this dog, too, may be a service dog.
Service dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and packages, and it’s the handler’s needs that matter most when deciding where and how a service dog is trained to work. As a handler, I seldom consider the opinions of the general public about whether a dog’s work mode appears serious and professional enough to convince them the dog is more than a pet.
That is our right under the law.