[nagdu] just want your thoughts on this

Danielle A. Creapeau dcreapeau at gmail.com
Mon Sep 16 20:17:28 UTC 2013

Hi Laura,

I was in a sorority in college and there were activities that we did
such as bond fires, small group talks and relay races that I didn't
take my dog to out of respect for the event coordinators and other
participants. I knew these situations made her very uncomfortable. I
didn't take classes that required much moving around but if I felt
that the dog became uncomfortable, I would excuse myself from the rest
of class so as not to disturb or alarm my classmates. Is there any way
you could get to class without Vegas? Maybe you could talk with your
prof and have him tell you when there will be activities so that you
can come to class without your pup. I understand that things like this
happen but I don't agree that there should be an empty, quiet space
provided to the dog if he gets agitated; as I understand it,
schools/profs are only required to provide reasonable accomodations. I
feel that as handlers, we should recognize that our dogs might need to
stay home in situations where we know they've acted out before. For
example, my little girl has a serious weakness for food. She forgets
herself when we're at picnicks or parties so I don't bring her with me
to those events. She's only 2 and yes, we will keep trying to work on
her food distractions but not at the expense of making others
uncomfortable. Just my thoughts; good luck!

On 9/16/13, Laura T <lltcna at yahoo.com> wrote:
> this is an email I received from one of my professors last week below that
> you will find my reply then his to me
> Laura
> I wanted to send you an email about Vegas' behavior last night at the STRA
> meeting. When we began to do the activities and move around the classroom,
> he appeared to become agitated. He barked several times and directly lunged
> at students who were present. Several students began to feel very
> uncomfortable with his presence in the room when he engaged in these
> behaviors.
> I do believe that you handled the situation the best that you could by
> sitting to the side and holding Vegas apart from the rest of the students;
> however, I am very concerned that he was not able to maintain his calm
> during an activity of this nature. It is my understanding that guide dogs
> should not ever lung at another person or bark at another individual.
> Last night you were having to work very hard to restrain Vegas several times
> during the activities and his behaviors, accompanied by the challenges that
> you had in keeping him quiet and under control, led several students to have
> concerns.
> This is not the first time that he has barked at another student in the
> classroom. I am not sure how best to handle this situation, but as you know,
> in many of the Recreation classes you will be moving around the classroom
> and participating in activities. It is going to be very important to find a
> way to be able to maintain control of Vegas so he does not disrupt or make
> other students uncomfortable.
> this was my reply
> After speaking with the head trainer at Freedom Guide Dogs and having sought
> the counsel of the SDRC we postulated that:
> 1. The dog is young and our partnership is even younger, we have been a team
> for only two months.
> 2. It may have been a mistake on my part to attempt to train through the
> activity instead of removing the dog however, this is the first major
> activity of this type I have encountered and every handler has to go through
> a situation once to figure out what is appropriate for that dog.
> 3. In the future there needs to be a predetermined place to take the dog
> where he can be put on a tie down away from the stimulation of new
> situations such as an office or empty classroom that is nearby. This allows
> me to fully participate in the activity and not have to worry about the dog
> acting out.
> 4. Vegas’ trainer is returning later this month to continue working with us
> and overcome some of these issues.
> Hopefully working with this situation we can achieve your goals and help the
> students who are afraid of Vegas become accustomed to his presence. It is my
> hope that everyone can adapt to these situations with a minimum of
> disruption.
> Please let me know if we need to discuss this further. I look forward to
> working with you on this matter.
> this is the reply I received from the professor
> Laura
> This all makes sense and sounds like a very good plan. I know
> that Wednesday night was not typical of anything that we are currently doing
> in my class, but it did set off some alarms.
> My only caveat with your outlined plan is that if Vegas responds again in a
> classroom situation as he did on Wednesday, he will not be allowed to come
> back to the classroom until additional training has been completed. My
> challenge is that I have to balance the needs of everyone in the class
> and on Wednesday night, Vegas became problematic and scared several
> students.
> i would like the thoughts of the list
> sorry it is so long
> thanks in advance
> Laura L. Thompson
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