School will give boy's dog a tryout

Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by Sweet72947, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    School will give boy's dog a tryout

    I think the school is being very smart with this, letting the family try out having the service dog at school, instead of outright saying no. It says the boy functions at a kindergarden level, I can understand their hesitancy about trusting the boy handle a dog by himself. Would you trust a person who functions at that level to handle a dog on their own? Should there be (is there?) an age cutoff for who can handle service dogs?
     
  2. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    That is a tough decision to make! I'm really glad they are atleast allowing it to happen in the first place, and giving them a try-out. I think it'd be awesome for the boy to be able to have his service dog with him, should anything happen. I don't really have an opinion either way. I'm curious to read how it turns out.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Definitely have mixed feelings. If a parent or adult caretaker is present then yes, but I don't like that they are planning to let him handle the dog solo after the two week evaluation is up.

    Children SHOULD have an adult assistant. I see how the dog does something a human caregiver cannot (the detection and swiping the magnet), but I also think that given his age he should have an adult caregiver present to assist in managing the dog and him if any complications arise from his condition.
     
  4. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I think it depends on the child, and the dog.
    But in kindergarten, distraction would probably be the biggest piece... the other children would be very distracted by a dog in the classroom, especially at first.
     
  5. Amber

    Amber New Member

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    I'm with the school 100%. I saw on the news that the family is planning on having a protest becasue the school is "discriminating". I think they need to be realistic with their child's limitations.
     
  6. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    In the article it says that the father will be present.

    I say it's downright silly to refuse a service dog access, especially when it performs a valuable task for this boy that a human can't possibly do. With an aide or the father assisting the young boy with handling the dog, I think it's fine.
     
  7. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I'm not sure how I feel about it. Of course, from the politically correct standpoint, there should be no question that a service dog be allowed. However, from my understanding, the boy had a seizure while on TV recently...and the dog did nothing. The father wound up swiping the magnet himself. Nor did the dog alert to it before hand.

    I think requiring a certified handler to be with the dog and the boy during the day is the ideal situation, but I also think that if the dog isn't alerting prior to the seizures, that there is no reason the teachers can't handle the swiping. All going off of the few articles I've read, of course. If the dog does more than that and it just isn't mentioned, obviously I may be very wrong.

    I'm also not sure about allowing an animal into the schools if there are children with allergies. I can not believe how out of control some schools are about the rules these days; a child in my mother's class is allergic to eggs *only if she eats them*. The kid's parent has been very clear on that. Zero danger if she is near them, touches them, etc. And yet nobody in the entire area of the school is allowed to have anything with eggs in it for snack. A child with dog allergies and asthma could be in tough shape with big shepherd walking all over the school.
     
  8. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    See, what I gathered was he'd be present for the two week evaluation, but that he's going back to work and leaving the boy alone after that.

    I have a service dog, and I'm concerned about access issues as well. But service dogs are only there to mitigate a handler's disability. I don't think it's fair to expect a child to accept the responsibilities of being a service dog handler. The dogs aren't robots. Accidents can happen. We've had off leash dogs run up and attack Strider. What is the kid going to do if that happens? (and yes, it's not uncommon for loose dogs to end up on the playground at recess time). What's a kid going to do when his peers swarm the dog and try to pet it all day long? That's distracting to the dog, preventing it from working for him. Is he comfortable telling them to stop? Is it the teacher's responsibility to make sure nobody touches his dog? IMO, it's the responsibility of the handler to prevent people from approaching their dog. If someone is unable or unwilling to do that, then a service dog is probably not the right solution for them.

    Minors, ANY minors, and especially disabled ones, should have dependable adult human caregivers.

    I think for minors service dogs and emotional support dogs are an excellent tool for treatment. BUT, that's only with the guidance of a qualified adult. I have no problem with them in an educational setting as long as that adult is there willing to be responsible for the dog and for the child if the dog doesn't fulfill it's duty. If his dad was talking about quitting his job so he could go to school with his son, or hiring an aid to accompany his son, or his teachers were comfortable with accepting that level of liability for his medical well being, it would be a totally different scenario.

    And if the dog, on TV, didn't even alert to a seizure OR swipe the magnet, then what's going to happen to the kid if it happens again without his adult caregiver present?
     
  9. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    I think this is an area some Autisim teams are also running into problems, because some schools are fighting parents/ the service dog organization on the childs EA having to take responsibility for the dog, including taking the dog out to the bathroom during breaks at school.

    LGS is an awful condition that usually does leave a person with a lot of cognitive impairement and is paired with frequent seizure activity that usually can't be controlled by medication. Having his service dog come to school would be hugely beneficial for this little boy if the dog can be controlled by the boy but I can see both sides of it.

    At least the school is open to working with the parents on the positive side of things.

    I guess will just have to see how things go.
     
  10. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Oh, yes I see now that after two weeks the father would leave the dog solely in the child's care.

    The kid is awfully young to handle a service dog in a class full of children, all by himself. Perhaps if his teacher or an aide was taught how to handle the dog, it'd be different, but a teacher has a stressful enough job managing a bunch of little kids without having to manage a dog.

    I just think the grade school environment would suck for a service dog, with tons of snotty kids harrassing the dog all day. =/ That being said, I think strict "no touching the dog EVER" rules would be useful in a case like that. I really do think that in this kid's case, the dog would tremendously improve his quality of life at school. Then again, if there are people with severe allergies to dogs in the class, it'd destroy theirs. I honestly can see both sides, but it sucks for that little boy...

    I wonder if the boy can actually handle the dog. I know when I was 6-7 years old I could take my dog anywhere, but I was also an able-bodied kid...
     
  11. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    NO.

    No, there's not. But public schools have special rules that the general public does not have, regarding anything that can be considered a distraction for other students in the school. That's how they can get away with dress codes and other such rules. With the right student/teacher/classmates/school, it COULD work.... But there are so many variables that I'm not sure it actually would work.

    In general, I'm totally against kids handling service dogs by themselves in public. As a service dog trainer, I KNOW how difficult it is to control all the distractions in public; the amount of mental energy it takes to be able to handle your dog around all these distractions. You have to be extremely proactive, make quick decisions, be prepared for difficulties, keep your dog as your #1 priority at all times.... And that's in ADDITION to remembering all the cues and dealing with your disability. I've met a lot of great kids in my life, but I've met very few who have the maturity and sense of responsibility to be able to handle a service dog in public.

    My organization's cutoff age is technically 18; but we've turned down several 20-somethings because we don't feel like they have the maturity or sense of personal responsibility to handle a service dog independently.

    I also think that organizations who place service dogs with children do it for the PR and donations. I personally know a few organizations who, a few years ago, had extremely low numbers of people applying for service dogs, so they began training dogs for children and now are overwhelmed with applicants. The more applicants you have, the more donations you can get, plain and simple.


    /stepping down from soapbox.
     
  12. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    There's a lot of stupid local drama over this. The school district is the one I'm doing my student teaching in starting next week, so it's been buzzing in my ears. People are claiming that the schools are "liberal and hate the military" so they're discriminating against this boy and his family since Dad is in the Army. People wrote allllll kinds of nasty letters to the school and the county. It's really quite sad.

    I remember watching a special on TV about service dogs being placed with children. The kids couldn't handle the dogs, the dogs weren't concrete enough in their jobs/tasks yet, and the kids weren't able to train it further. It just seems like it wouldn't actually be that beneficial, and absolutely would distract the rest of the class.

    I question why this boy doesn't have a full time one-on-one aide if he's functioning 6 years below grade level and has so many physical issues.
     
  13. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Yeah, no matter how solid a dog is on his tasks, when he goes to a new handler there's going to HAVE to be continuing training. We ALL know that dogs aren't computers that, once you program them, will run perfectly and consistently in every situation for the rest of their lives. Whoever is handling the dog will HAVE to do some training, and I just don't think most children are capable of handling that along with everything else.
     
  14. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I also wonder how children are expected to handle their dog getting sick. Once Strider got sick all over the floor at Target. I called their assistance phone thingy and an employee brought some cleaning supplies, and I cleaned up the massive diarrhea puddle.

    Is the handler kid expected to clean up if his dog barfs or has the runs? If not, who is? There are so many reasons why children with disabilities need an adult caretaker if their challenges are severe enough to merit a service animal.
     
  15. ACooper

    ACooper Moderator

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    Nope, don't think it should be allowed at school without a full time aide or trainer to be responsible for the dog plain and simple. As others have pointed out, too many variables, too many distractions, and too much chance for more harm than good.
     
  16. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    we've been having a HUGE discussion on this over at my SD forum. In this particular case, I think the dog is appropriate, if it appears that the boy can handle the dog on his own. Generally I'd very much against SDs in school.

    IF the boy can handle the dog on his own, great. Just because he's mentally functioning at a kindergarten level doesn't mean he's incapable of handling a dog. I know plenty SD handlers that have reduced mental capacity but are still excellent stewards.

    What I absolutely DON'T agree with is letting dogs in school with very young children - kindergartners and such. And especially when those dogs are meant to babysit the kids (ie tether dogs) instead of actually doing tasks, and the kid stewarding the dog.

    There's a lot to work out with having an SD in school. There was a kid in high school with me that had a seizure dog, and it seemed to work out well for him. Would I expect most middle or high school age kids to be able to handle an SD? No. But there are exceptions.



    That all being said, this 2 week trial may very well prove me wrong and show that this kid isn't capable of properly stewarding his SD. In which case no, the dog should no longer be allowed in school.
     
  17. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Yup. Sadly some very good programs are now training their washouts for kids, most often autistic kids, and usually tether dogs. Not even really tasks trained.

    I read one - can't remember which program - that specifically says the dogs aren't housebroken. WTF? How can a service dog be a service dog if it's not even housebroken?
     
  18. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Okay, I take it back. This dog shouldn't be in school, or anywhere else. This is an UNALTERED BITCH and is now in heat. Awesome :rolleyes:

    Once-Banned Service Dog in Heat, Not in School | NBC Washington


    I would not have an unaltered bitch as an SD. Twice a year the dog's going to be out of commission because you just can't drag a bitch in heat all over the place. An unaltered male is different...and Logan is not neutered. But males don't come into heat.
     
  19. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Wonder how many donations he received in that time, too. :rolleyes:

    OMG.... Also on the organization's website:

    The dog didn't make it through the program because they couldn't teach him sit? In three years, they couldn't teach him SIT??

    Plus, HELLO, it's a german shepherd.... I wonder if they've bothered to get his hips x-rayed??


    Wow, this just gets more and more scary....
     
  20. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Um, wow. If you can't teach a dog to sit, you probably shouldn't be training service dogs. Just sayin'.
     

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