My Service Dog, Jade

Friday, July 6, 2012

Volunteering In Training Class

Well, now that my Jade and I are finished with our training (for the most part) and have been completely certified as a Service Dog Team, we have decided to give back by volunteering with the organization that helped train Jade.  So we are going to class once a week to help the new comers with their training, in any way that we can.  I just felt it to be the right thing to do.

The class we have been assigned to is called the CGC 1 class.  This is the first of three classes that will help these dogs and handlers pass their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test. After passing this test, they will go on to the Service/Assistance classes to begin training for Service Dog.  This is the same way that Jade and I went about our training, except that we skipped a few classes along the way because Jade already knew a lot of this stuff.

So there is the CGC 1, 2 and 3 class.  Then the dogs and handlers take the exam. Once they pass the exam, they go on to Service/Assistance classes; there are Assistance 1, 2, and 3 classes. Once the dogs and handlers have completed the Service/Assistance classes, they then take the exam for Service Dog Certification. However, in the Service/Assistance training, there are a few tests to pass along the way, including the test taken in the handler's home to ensure the dog is properly trained in manners at home before going on to test for public access.

I am happy about volunteering and Jade accompanies me to the class.  I like watching all the different dogs and handlers learn so much and progress into becoming such wonderful assistance dogs. I think the experience will be enlightening and purposeful.  There is only one problem. Well, two, if you want to get technical.  In this class, there are two pit bull type dogs.

That is a HUGE problem for me. For one, I don't want to expose my Jade to any situation that could endanger her training, or her life, for that matter.  My trainer knows how I feel about pit bulls, so I'm wondering if she put me in this class deliberately.  I don't know, but if she did, I think that is very disrespectful. She knows that Jade was viciously attacked by a pit bull, and she knows we don't want to be around them.  Just having Jade in the same room with these pit bulls could turn out to be a disaster.  Nothing can stop a pit bull once it sets its mind on attacking and killing. They're just too unpredictable. I do however carry weapons, everywhere I go, and will NOT hesitate to use it if I have to. I will NOT let my Jade get attacked again, and jeopardize all the work, time and money we have put into her training.

Too many service dogs are being attacked by pit bulls.  If it were up to me, I would NOT allow pit bulls to be service dogs.  Their instincts to fight and kill are way too strong to be in the role of service dog.  I don't even think pit bulls should be allowed in public, period.  They're way too much of a public safety hazard. Bash me all you want, but I guarantee that most of the general  public agrees with me on this.

So I have been thinking about what to do about this since we attended the first class.  I could just quit altogether, but I'm thinking, before I do that, I might attempt to request a different class, a safer one.  A class with no pit bulls in it.

In my opinion, pit bulls shouldn't be allowed in training classes with normal dogs, ever. It's too much of a liability. I think pit bulls should have their own training classes, just for pit bull type dogs, pit bulls, and pit bull mixes.  They're just not like other dogs, and in a class with normal dogs, it's just too dangerous.

So, I think I'm going to request a different class.  If that doesn't work, well, then, I most likely just won't go back.

Pit bulls have killed over 150 people in the last 3 years, and have attacked and killed many, many more animals, including Service and Guide dogs.


  1. I would feel the same way. My dog will never be around a fighting breed dog ever again. Just thinking about having him near one is enough to make me nervous. One place I worry is at the vet's office. They take him in the back for everything, and there are all sorts of dogs back there with him. And, let's face it, most vet techs and even vets are so open minded towards dog breeds that their brain has fallen out. If I hear him being attacked, the vet won't like it when I run into the back where I'm not allowed to be.

    1. Exactly Dub V! I don't blame you for being nervous at the Vet's office. I am too. I don't understand why the Vets don't admit that pit bulls are killers. Some of them do and are willing to talk about it, but they are very open minded about letting pits have access to other dogs in the clinics. I don't like either. I would do the to the back and stab the pit. No doubt about it! Thanks DubV!

  2. I would explain your position again. And then explain that if they want you to volunteer, then they have to put you in a class free from pit bulls.

    And if they don't agree and support your position, then you can volunteer somewhere else. Any place would be glad to have you as a volunteer.

    1. Thanks Jim. I totally agree, and that's exactly what I plan to do. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment.

  3. No matter how good your trainer has been so far purely as far as training skills go, it sounds to me like she's suffering from High Moral Ground Syndrome and Lion Tamer Syndrome. Also It Can Never Happen To Me Syndrome. She is endangering not only Jade, but every other normal dog in her classes in order to prove some point of personal politically correct vanity. On top of this, she is for the same reason ignoring the experience she knows you and Jade have had.

    This is evidence of mental and moral incompetence, never mind training skills. A mentally and morally competent trainer and/or behavior therapist take a dog's past into account, as well as the owner's and the owner's wishes. They also take real risks into account, and won't risk a dog for some personal vanity point.

    I've worked with plenty of dogs who were traumatized by running into some nutcase pointer or GSD or _____ . The difference is that these nutcase normal dogs didn't try to maul or kill, they were 'just' too over the top in symbolic aggression. The traumatized dog often needed help in trusting any other dog. [See Semyonova's work for why this is.] So you work progressively -- starting with very small, very socially skilled peaceful dogs, then going on to slightly larger, socially skilled peaceful dogs, etc, always (but always) only taking the next step when you see that the traumatized dog is confident enough and ready for it.

    A later step CAN be introducing a not nutcase, normal, peaceful pointer, GSD or _____ . But ya know, it doesn't HAVE to be. It's also an option to say: As long as trust in the general dog-world is restored, it's okay to avoid _______ forever. The only, but really the only, reason to insist on desensitization to the traumatizing dog-type is if for some reason this benefits the traumatized dog.

    Never, but really not EVER, to serve the High Moral Ground Look At Me The Lion Tamer vanity of a human being -- be it your trainer or anyone else.

    Okay. I understand your emotional investment here and thus your dilemma. But I agree with Jim above -- tell this woman you won't be in a class with pit-bull type dogs. If propagandizing for the pit is more important to this woman than realities, then volunteer somewhere else. Jade's safety and well-being go above all other things, she loves you so much and serves you so well -- and trust you so much. Gads, we can't let that down when a dog gives us those gifts...certainly not just to stay with a particular trainer who has a personal problem.

    Last point: You're right. If people want their pit-type dogs to be doing obedience, agility or whatever, they should be in separate pit-only classes.

    1. Thank you Sputnik! I agree completely. My Jade was pretty traumatized for a long time after the attack she suffered by the pit bull. I don't EVER find it necessary for her to be around pit bull dogs to get over being traumatized; I don't think it's necessary at all. She's fine around other dogs now, after a long time of extra training to get her to this point, and I REFUSE to jeopardize this ever. I am not sure if you've read through my blog but I have spoken to my trainer in the past about how I feel about pit bulls, when she tried to use the pit she was fostering at the time for part of Jade's training to get used to being around other dogs. I wrote her an email that I didn't feel comfortable with her using this pit bull to get close to Jade, and she called me. We talked a while and she was very respectful of how I feel, and said that she would not ever use the pit bull again to get close to Jade. I was glad she was very understanding and even told me that "pit bulls aren't like other dogs and their body language is very different and difficult for people, and even other dogs to understand." She said, "many people don't like pit bulls, and I totally understand where you're coming from." She was very nice about it, and respectful so I don't understand why she didn't ask me if I was okay volunteering in this class with 2 pit bulls in it. I even talked to her a while after class, and wanted to bring up the issue, but didn't. I was thinking it won't be long before both pit bull dogs drop out of training, which I'm sure will happen. But, regardless, I'd rather not take the chance and I REFUSE to put Jade in any situation that may be dangerous to her.

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave this helpful comment. I sure appreciate the feedback.

  4. I can think of all sorts of places that would love to have your volunteer expertise. And be sure that this pit-friendly service dog training organization knows why you're leaving, should you choose to do that.

    1. I will certainly talk to the trainer about this as I request to have a different class. If she can't or won't honor my request, I will find somewhere else to volunteer. Thanks quiet neighbor.

  5. Jewel, I don't know how big your emotional investment is here, in this woman...but the whole thing dismays me quite badly.

    This trainer is collaborating in pretending that pit bulls can be service dogs. Her behavior towards you says she's even pushing them as such. She is going along with the lies that pit bulls are safe with other dogs (and with humans and children) unless they've been trained for fighting. Her remarks about pit bull body language are appalling, sorry, but it's typical pit nutter talk. And again, I can't believe the lack of professional ethics she's showing by not once, but now again trying to make you and Jade be in the company of pit bulls. Also the damage she's willing to risk to the entire service dog community by her choice to 'give pit bulls a chance' as service dogs. If she were to certify even one pit bull that later berserks (or even just takes a chunk out of someone), it will undermine the value of all service dog certification.

    And so I feel that this woman's 'respectfulness' is only in words. Her deeds say something rude, contemptful, disrespectful, destructive and demeaning, full of personal vanity...and are a kind of inadmissible bullying. This is a thing I particularly can't stand -- people who think if only they use polite words, they can get away with doing the most destructive and rude deeds.

    We are what we do, not what we say. I'm glad at any rate that you are so determined to protect Jade and not give in to this woman's subtle intimidation tactics.

    1. All very good points, Sputnik. I never thought of it this way....thank you!

  6. Meanwhile, over on the HuffyPo, the nutters are mewling again:

    Methinks that Belfast did the right thing.

  7. Well, if you can't have a pit bull in a service dog training class, you can always get its nails trimmed at this oh-so-special event:

    Something tells me that the spay/neuter aspect of this event won't get a lot of takers. And I agree with the reader comment about cultural insensitivity.

    1. Thanks for the info, Quiet Neighbor! You know....I think that ALL dogs are overpopulated and ALL dogs could take advantage of this SPECIAL event; however, this makes me think that at the very least, The Humane Society in Tucson is thinking about and talking about the problem of pit bulls being the most overpopulated and most killed dogs in shelters. This is a FACT! So this at least makes me think that they're actually trying to do something about the problem....but could be just that, a ploy to make people THINK they're actually trying to do something about the problem.

      I hope the truth is that they are at least taking notice that there IS a problem, and hopefully trying to find a way to begin to resolve it. The next thing that needs to happen is a complete and total BAN on any breeding of pit bulls, adopting of pit bulls, and bringing any new pit bulls into the city. Let the ones that live here die out, and NO MORE NEW ONES!!!! Now THAT would begin to solve the problem!

  8. I like pit bulls but I agree with this post on their capacity as service animals.

    The situations with which these dogs, both the pit bulls and yours, are being placed in are grossly irresponsible from the pit bull owner's so called service dogs.

    You cannot help where your dog has to be because she needs the exposure and went through proper certification. The pit bulls however should not be placed in a situation that requires a controlled environment and stable dogs, especially since they could be a welfare to your dog or even people.

    Most people who own pit bulls have no business owning them because they won't properly contain socialize their dogs.

    Not only that, but most people don't even know the genetic makeup or background of their dog, especially when it is an adopted individual or from a backyard breeder.

    I think a pit bull that is properly bred and raised, with breeding being the emphasizes, can be a great dog in almost any social event. But even then, I wouldn't recommend them being a service dog similar to how I wouldn't recommend an Akita, Dalmatian, or most terriers to be a service dog. Labradors, goldens, and beagles tend to be better suited for it.

    That being said, too many pit bulls are bred with unknown or purposefully bred temperaments and too many are being easily acquired by people who know nothing of the pros and cons of this breed type.

    So until most breeders are truly checking on their lines and individual dog temperaments before breeding and placing their pit bulls, I to cannot support pit bulls being placed in social situations where a lot of dogs are present such as a service dog seminar. It's just too much of a lability in this situation.

    And handicapped or seniors restraining a pit bull? Any one who thinks that is a good idea is a twit.

    And I know you hate pit bulls, but I think we both can agree that regulations enforcing better breeding and handling should be placed in all states for the benefits for people, other pets, and the pit bulls themselves. Because if they were properly bred and handled, there would be little to no problems from pits.

    I hope that those pit bulls are removed and your concerns taken seriously by the instructor.

  9. Just posting again since I'm not sure if my first post went through or not. I was also posting-while-angry, and was rather snippy.
    First off, why must you insult the owners of these dogs? (in other posts, not just this one) Calling them horrible people for wanting to rescue an animal from certain death?
    One of my long time friends has a beautiful blue pittie, and that dog is one of the sweetest I've ever met. Yes she plays harder than other dogs, when playing tug-o-war, but pitties are an energetic and strong breed.
    Also, not sure if you watch Animal Planet or not, but there is a show called Pit Boss. Shorty Rossi has an unaltered Pit Bull as his service dog for his back problems. Hercules is only unaltered because he almost died from an allergic reaction to anesthetic as a puppy.
    One of Shorty's employees (or former, not quite sure) also has one that he's training to become a hearing assistance, service dog due to the fact that he's slowly becoming deaf. Both of these dogs are perfect service dogs, and if a little person can control them, it shows they do have a gentleness to them as well.

    Thanks for reading, and I hope to see my post show up this time maybe? And possibly a reply?

    1. Dear Vampire:

      The reason I have a problem with pit bull owners is because of the rude, threatening and insensitive things they say to me and other victims of pit's a couple of examples for you. Read these and tell me YOU wouldn't have a problem with pit bull owners.....

      "I have read sum of ur posts and if u think killing a pitt bull is a good thing then come to my house so i can kill u becuz these dogs love there owners and who gives a shit about those kids and those ugly ass dogs..... i will be at the walk bullshit with an army of pitts to kill all of everyones dogs who hates pitts and wen i find u ima kick ur dumb cunt ass!!!! im gonna have my blue pitt attack ur dumbass dog cuz its a pussy and if u shoot my dog i will kill u on site will a swift kick to ur throat...... if u say pitts r killers then y do u want them to die if u want them dead... u hypocriticle dumb bitch u make no sense and all the ppl who agree with u are just as dumb and deserve to die with ur none pitt breed and if u got a problem with me then come find me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

      "it would also be nice if mental people as urself would die out also dont you think? many people do. sympathy for Jade but for your rediculous hate towards a breed is mental get over yourself many dogs can be aggresive and violent just like humans sadly humans dont get killed and band from places for being evil and cruel to any animal or good people. Pits as well as any breed can be wonderful dogs if in right hands, so get over childish mentality and grow up and open your eyes to reality."

      Now, these are just a couple of comments from pit bull owners that I've recently received, and turned into the police by the way. Myself and other people I know are constantly receiving messages, and comments like these when we defend children, and people, or pets that have been victimized, mauled, maimed and killed by pit bull type dogs. I find this MORE than unacceptable. I also find this very commonplace when dealing with pit bull owners. I've also blogged about this, and if you look back in my blog you'll find many more comments by pit bull owners that are more than vile.

      I do not think that EVERY single pit bull will attack, maim and/or kill someone or another pet; however, the problem is that you NEVER know which one will and which one won't. I'm not willing to take that chance...not with myself or with my service dog.

      I do not watch animal planet anymore because I feel they are pit bull pushers. They are constantly trying desperately to change the "image" of the pit bull and make people think that they are the sweetest, most loving dogs out there, while at the same time, I read of vicious attack after vicious attack by these dogs. Animal planet is flat out lying to the public and I DO NOT support that.

      Pit bulls are very dangerous dogs that were bred for one purpose, to fight and kill, and that's what they do best. They do it over and over again. I am not going to change my stance on that, as it is the truth, and I will continue to educate the public about what is real. The dead children are REAL. The children with their faces disfigured, maimed and scalps missing is REAL! Watch my video....

      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and comment.