Friday, September 6, 2013

Do service dog ever get to be just dogs?

Over the years of training service dogs, I have had many people ask if service dogs are always working or do they ever get a chance to just be a dog.  I even got told once that being a service dog is a bad life for a dog because someone with a disability never would be able to play fetch with them.  The first statement is a very valid question.  The second statement left me with my mouth hanging open and probably a look of utter confusion before I came up with a response.

Anyway back to the first statement.  Yes service dogs are working dogs but the dog doesn't view the work as work.  They think it is fun.  If they didn't think it was fun, they wouldn't be a service dog.  But when they are not working and the leash and the vest are off, service dogs are like any other family pet dog.  They play fetch, they roll in the dirt and they run around like crazy.  I have had many people think I have the calmest dogs in the world while out in public then they see them when they are 'off duty' and are in absolute shock how crazy and playful they are.  Service dogs also turn into cuddle buddies and TV watching companions.  So without any further ado, picture proof of my service dog trainees (past and present) just being dogs:

Ice and Serena romping through the ravine
Jack and Darby splashing in the lake

Ice being a mud monster

Serena diving into the lake

Ice in the prairie

Jack giving Serena advice

Darby taking TV watching and cuddling very seriously

Life is good