Yesterday marked the first time I’ve dragged Sid out in his green vest, which clearly identifies him as a Service Dog In Training and also includes patches which say “Working Dog Do Not Pet”. The end result of this first evaluation: Sid needs more work on leash walking in fascinating places like Tractor Supply, but is starting to get the hang of it, and I Hate People.
No, let me be precise: I hate adult people. Universally the children we ran into today who wanted to interact with Sid saw the patches, read the patches, and did not attempt to interfere with Sid. One boy paused on his way out of Home Depot to look me in the eyes and say “Nice dog.” I smiled and said “thank you” because hey, Sid is a nice dog and the kid was fantastic.
The adults, though? Oh, the adults. One man behind us in line at Tractor Supply said to his kids, “His patches say he’s a working dog.” and then proceeded to reach out and try to pet Sid. I said, “Please don’t, he’s in training. That’s why his patches say not to pet him.” And the guy responds, I shit you not, “Oh, I didn’t see that.” while trying out a sheepish smile on me.
Really, Mr. Anonymous Guy in Tractor Supply? REALLY NOW? Sid, on the other hand, was pretty golden, he eyed the guy’s hand, gave it an indifferent but polite sniff, and then moved so I was between him and Mr. Anonymous Partially Literate Guy. I gave him a chunk of hot dog for it.
He was balanced out by the young girl in the same store who started to approach Sid (I’d seen her ogling him from afar), saw his patches, and settled for just hanging around to stare at him, which was a little creepy but I’m totally OK with a little creepy since she was being very polite.
Let me insert a pic of Sid in his vest here. Perhaps I need to have LIGHT UP BLINKY PATCHES for the adults, who are apparently either illiterate or convinced that their desire to pet a dog trumps my need to train the dog. Not that I’m, y’know, bitter or anything. One thing that works against me is that Sid is a damn good lookin dog, so he attracts more attention than a less notable looking dog would. The thing that works for me is that Sid is not terribly interested in strangers and sometimes even looks like he wishes they would stop bothering him. He got lots of hot dog bits to encourage him to keep ignoring the impolite strangers. Now I just need to work on him not following Daniel after he realizes that’s what I’m doing.