Real service dogs

I was away this past weekend, so spent several hours at the airport.  As soon as I got there I saw this little sweetie and sat down beside her and her guardian.  Her name is Chloe and her Mom told me all about her.  She was timid but adorably sweet.  I talked to her and within a few seconds she knew that I was very dog friendly.  :)  She asked with her little eyes to come and see me.  I instinctively told her that she could come and she did.  She climbed from her Mom's lap to mine and sat quietly as we had a little visit.  When she was done she walked back over to her Mom.  

Chloe was not a service dog but a dog who enjoys the benefits of travel because of her size.  After our visit I got up and wandered around waiting to board.  I stopped beside a woman with a Border Collie mix with a service vest on.  I wondered if the dog was truly a service dog or an impostor.  More and more fakes are popping up and it's not a good thing.  

The last time  I was at the airport I talked to a man with a boxer who was not a true service dog.  She was calm and well behaved but I could tell right off.  I then talked to her guardian who told me that it was easy to get the status and he had other friends who also had "fake" service dogs.  

Yes I would love it if Elsa could legally fly by my side.  But she is not a service dog and I do not need a service dog (as of yet anyway) so she has to stay home when I fly.  With the surge of fake service dogs comes the fallout for the real service dogs and their people who need them.   As a dog trainer,  I can pretty easily spot the fakes.  Real service dogs work and the first tip off is that the dog is not working.  

People who "fake" their dog's service status jeopardize the real service dogs and the people who truly need them.  If there are more incidents by non service dogs, things will change for those who are the real service dogs.   

On the way back home I ran into the same border mix and his stood waiting with his owner.  He was very well behaved and fairly attentive.  He looked to be young so was more like a service dog in training but he still wore the vest.   I did not talk to the woman he was with but did over hear a conversation that went on after the woman left the area with her dog.  A woman and  man wondered if the dog was a real service dog.  They continued to talk about the problem with the number of fakes these days and how easy it is to buy a vest.  

If your dog is small like the demure little Chloe above; lucky for you, she can fly.  If not then they have to stay home.  When and if they allow dogs in general to fly in the cabin, I will love it.  But for now they cannot unless they have a very specific designation of service dog.  These dogs are highly trained to service what their owner needs as far as assistance.  Buying a vest or certificate does not make your dog a service dog, it makes you a fake.

Waking up to this face, nice to be home with my girl.