Service dog at school

My SA has been approved to go to school with me! He's been going with me for two weeks He's been doing super well. He has little mistakes sometimes but it's nothing that we can't work on! Some students have been absolutely terrified of him and I have no idea how to approach that? like at least they ignore him.
 

Friday

Moderator
Some students have been absolutely terrified of him and I have no idea how to approach that?
A good place to start is to reverse it; how would you like your classmates to approach you about your worst trauma?

If it were me? I wouldn’t people approaching me about my trauma. I might seek individuals out, but I would neither like to be sought out, nor to have others decide how I “should” be. So I would show others (peers/ classmates) the same respect/politeness I would want; by keeping as much distance as possible between what I have with me that terrifies them, not blocking their access to the exits, not attempting to force the issue, etc.. If they want to work on their fear? That’s for them to decide when, how, and with whom. Not my responsibility to force the issue. They’re adults. They can make their own decisions.

((For MY students, IE kids not peers… the most important thing I could do is let them switch classes / make sure they know they have that option, help them through the process, and assure it’s done by the administration without punitive measures attached to the poor kid. No one should be forced to attempt to get an education whilst their rapist stares them down in class day after day, ya know? Nor suffer serious health conditions for no durn reason. (Allergies). Beyond making sure that people who are powerless -assigned classes/teachers- aren’t being brutalized by terror day in and out, or afflicted by misery-making to life threatening allergies…not only the whole quarter/year wasted for them academically, but with untold effects rippling across their lives? There are a whooooooole lot of service dog ambassador type programs that acclimate children & make it a non-issue. Voila; Allergies & Serious mental health conditions attended to, & the rest acclimated. ))
 
A good place to start is to reverse it; how would you like your classmates to approach you about your worst trauma?

If it were me? I wouldn’t people approaching me about my trauma. I might seek individuals out, but I would neither like to be sought out, nor to have others decide how I “should” be. So I would show others (peers/ classmates) the same respect/politeness I would want; by keeping as much distance as possible between what I have with me that terrifies them, not blocking their access to the exits, not attempting to force the issue, etc.. If they want to work on their fear? That’s for them to decide when, how, and with whom. Not my responsibility to force the issue. They’re adults. They can make their own decisions.

((For MY students, IE kids not peers… the most important thing I could do is let them switch classes / make sure they know they have that option, help them through the process, and assure it’s done by the administration without punitive measures attached to the poor kid. No one should be forced to attempt to get an education whilst their rapist stares them down in class day after day, ya know? Nor suffer serious health conditions for no durn reason. (Allergies). Beyond making sure that people who are powerless -assigned classes/teachers- aren’t being brutalized by terror day in and out, or afflicted by misery-making to life threatening allergies…not only the whole quarter/year wasted for them academically, but with untold effects rippling across their lives? There are a whooooooole lot of service dog ambassador type programs that acclimate children & make it a non-issue. Voila; Allergies & Serious mental health conditions attended to, & the rest acclimated. ))
I'm lucky that it's only been one or two students in the hall. No one has really brought it up to me and it hasn't been too much of an issue but I just try to avoid people who are scared of him or even overly excited that there's a dog at the college.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I just try to avoid people who are scared of him
Yeah, some people are just afraid of dogs. Like spiders or snakes or balloons. Even my shih-tzu SD has had a couple of people back away in terror while he's working.

Appropriate response if you notice someone is frightened is give them space. If only for the purely selfish reason that your dog is doing more than enough without having to deal with some stranger flipping out at them!
 

joeylittle

Administrator
He has little mistakes sometimes but it's nothing that we can't work on!
I would suggest you prioritize all of your dog's focus on you and ignore other people skills. His reactivity will increase anxiety in others, especially anyone who is afraid of dogs. So, the more his attention is on you, and the better he is at maintaining his down & stay, the more relaxed everyone will be.

And as @Friday and @Sideways have rightly pointed out - it's better to just give people space. You should expect that some people will be afraid, some people will be annoyed he's there, others will be way too excited about it, and others will just let you get on about your business.
 
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