Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Working Naked

No, not me.  I don't work naked.  Well, I guess I could when I work from home, but most of the time I at least have on a tee shirt.

I'm taking about Isaac.  When service dog handlers talk about their dogs being naked, they mean not wearing a vest or any other special service dog gear.  A lot of people think service dogs have to wear a special vest or harness or something, but they don't.  The Americans with Disabilities Act says they don't.  Still, many - probably most - service dog handlers prefer to use a vest of some sort on their dogs.

I usually put a vest on Isaac because I feel less self-conscious about being in a store or other public place with a dog if it is clear that he is a service dog.  I had assumed I'd have more access disputes without a vest on him, but I have worked him naked several times now and I didn't have any access issues at all.  People just seemed to assume he was a service dog, vest or no vest.  Perhaps it was because he was behaving like a service dog, even when he was naked.

It's interesting to me that I haven't had access issues when working Isaac naked.  Also, Isaac behaves perfectly well in public places without his vest.  I was initially told that the vest helps service dogs know when they are working, when it's time to behave "professionally," but I think at this point Isaac knows to behave that way when we are in a store or restaurant or someplace like that, whether he's wearing a vest or not.

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