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Service dog handler lobby

What @Sideways said. I think once a dog is an adult, the name is quite stuck with them.

I didn't like Chopper's name when I got him as an adult. I tried to change it but he never really caught onto the new name. I call him Chopper. Chop, bud, babe. He responds to Chopper and Chop mostly. It would take a lot of training to undue the response to a name. But you can make up a nickname and try to train that in them. And see how the dog responds. Maybe chain it with the actual name and fad the actual name out.. i am sure you can train a response to a nickname. I just dont think it will be as strong of a response as the name they've responded to for 2 yrs. Chopper won't respond if I just say "Bud, go get that" so to get his attention if he isn't working or something, yeah, have to use his given name.


Not a service dog but one of my pet dogs came to us as a young adult . Using your ‘Gary ‘ example @littleoc , her name would have been ‘Ary’ and we out the G on.

I think Gary could become jarry, Larry , Harry, or Ari.

I would like to suggest a different reason for staying with ‘Gary’.

You suggest that the dislike is that it’s an usual dog name. I purposely choose unusual pet names. I know darn well when I call my vet in an emergency they don’t remember’Ms Mee’ from the sea of faces of clients they have ( at least at first). And if my pet is a ‘lucky, rover or spot’ then they are consciously filtering through the myriad of luckies, spots, and rovers, before they can get to a computer to check the history or other relevant details.

When Mee with the dog ‘purple Gary’ calls they laugh and picture purple Gary - the unlikely named dog with that interesting cyst .....

They have some scant details in their heads already and maybe more depending on the animal .

So I think Gary can be a great name - I’d even passport/ register him as something- weirder - Gary the gnome?
Yes. It’s very possible. Myself and a friend with a guide dog from guide dogs for the blind both have done it. Ideal? No. It takes a little time to teach them a second name. Didn’t screw up the dogs at all though. Also, I can throw in that the new names were very unlike the old ones. My dog's original name was too many syllables and nothing I wanted to shorten. She grew into responding to her new name well and no longer responds to the old one. I have a family member that got a dog with a "human name" and my family member changed it slightly, and the dog was none the wiser.

However, years into SD life, frankly, so many people say my dog’s actual name that she really doesn’t respond to it much - she knows it's a name for her, but she also knows everyone says it and she is to ignore everyone but me.... so I use a nickname for her anyhow that she does respond to. She also responds to “cute” as if it’s her name. She taught that one herself on her own! Stinker.

They don’t get so mixed up about names like us. For them it’s just another attention command word like “look.” It’s not an identity for them. The relationship with you and all the non-verbals are actually the primary way dogs communicate and relate. (It’s why many dogs learn hand signals much faster than auditory commands.)
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Something to think about if the dog will have a lot of public access like my own SD. Most common question I get as an SD handler: "What is your dog's name?" I know some people who say "I don't say it because I don't want others to say it and call her." That got too much into dog-o-mystery drama for me with random people in the public.

So instead, she has her formal proper name, which is the same as the new name I gave her, and then what really is her real name, what I call her, or her nickname. She'll respond to the formal proper name with the right signals and a release from me. But it's said so often by people without the release, that it's not as meaningful to me.

Her name was changed to this formal name/nickname combo as an adult dog, and it's gone so well that I plan to do this with future dogs - pet or SD. It's common in the livestock world too. The animal will have it's proper name, and then what people actually call it day to day.

You may actually really like the name the dog has, you may not. You may give it a middle name or nickname too, and then just use that or pair them up. Agency dogs might have a rule about names, so you'll have to check with them. Some agencies ask it be kept incase they end up taking the dog back because it get's uh, career changed, as a service dog and they have to switch it with another dog for you. It happens now and then that an SD passes agency training but flunks the life/tasks needed with the specific handler within the first few weeks or so. There will be a lot of adjustments the first few months to life with an SD.
UGH. I was walking down an elevated sidewalk in front of stores trying to get to my car today when the public decided to get aggressive about my SD. A woman was on the walk way, tying up several dogs. The way the leashes were tied up, there was no way to walk around, without going into traffic, and for some distance, on hot hot hot pavement. My doggo couldn't have done it. She is sore today. I was tired and admittedly cranky. I asked if she could please pull her dogs back so we could walk past. No one could walk past. The leashes were as long as the width of the walk way and the dogs jumping and barking. She was clearly tying them up to go into a store nearby, which is technically illegal where I live. I didn't care, I simply wanted her to please move her dogs to the side so I could walk past and go on my merry way. She was right there. It would have taken seconds.

All I said was "Can you please hold the dogs back so I can walk by?" THAT WAS IT.

By her response, you would think I had asked she sell her soul to the devil.

She got snotty, and in the middle of her rant of how dare I... she told me my service dog should be well trained. Someone else walked up demanding to see "your papers! Give them to me now." (If this was about race, would that not be racist?! It's a f*cking public sidewalk and I just want to walk down it!) There was NO WAY any one at all could walk by without stepping over the dogs and leashes. Somehow they went off that my SD is probably fake because I don't look disabled. "Your dog should be trained well enough to handle it."

"Yes. She is VERY well trained. She could be trained to ATTACK to protect me if a dog or human gets too close. Should we test that training? I'm willing."

I started to walk up.

They moved the dogs back now getting upset I didn't give them a chance to move the dogs. Sigh. (My dog would not have attacked and would have ignored them unless I had to physically carry her over them, which is how the situation was shaking out unless they moved the dogs --- but they didn't know that she wouldn’t attack. And goodness knows what the heck their dogs would have done!)

I walked down the sidewalk, and one of them screamed curse words after me and continued to demand to see my papers for my SD.... so loud a store owner 6 shops down came out and asked if I was ok and said they were calling the police on them. I got in my car and left.

Just another day...

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I ask myself that everyday! There is a lady that seems to live at Walgreens or something. She is there every...single...time...I go. She not only ignores all the "please don't pet, he's working" and not only does she follow me through the entire store, trying to pet him at every step but she reaches into my car when I open the door! I threatened to shut her hand in my car door last time. Are you serious?

Side note. Chopper learned how to pick up my keys with the key ring only today! He progressed with that from a 6 or 12 inch leather leash (to start him with) then to a 2 inch cheap keyring that broke so when it broke he picked it up by just the metal key ring. All in 4 days. So proud of him!

Probably gonna make a paracord keyring for it to be easier for him cause he grabbing the metal keyring is hard but he's doing it and in only 4 days! Gonna see if I can train him to pick up a credit card off the floor next!
Since my last hospital attempt with doggo, I've lost a lot of my soft touch with people. I tell them once "He's working", almost irrespective of what they've done or what question they've asked.
"What kind of dog is he?"
"He's working".
After that? Any further persistence from anyone I tell them "Your behaviour is harassment under disability law".
Said with a great big "fk off" look & tone.

I'm sure Tolerant Sideways will return at some point. But 2020 is not that year!
It’s like the, “what is your PTSD from?” question.
“What trauma?l
“traumatic trauma.”

The disability question? I usually say “the dog mitigates a life altering disability.”
“What disability?”
“A disabling one.”

If they should continue...

“Oh my condition is a medical one that requires a service dog and privacy. Can we awkwardly change the subject together?”

Usually people smile and say sure...

But some days, I just want to throw water on people. I might be 2020ed out.
It’s like the, “what is your PTSD from?” question.
“What trauma?l
“traumatic trauma.”
This is the worst! Trauma explains it all.

Same for disability!

But some days, I just want to throw water on people. I might be 2020ed out.
Seconded! 2020 has taken such a toll on me! Its bad enough that I'm constantly triggered due to the mask and the people and what not, only able to go a few mins at a time. The questions are just like that straw breaking the camel's back!

that’s the best -
It is! I'm so proud of how well he's doing with only going out into public once a month. I expected a back slide in public access training but nope. Its like I just worked him yesterday. He can spend a month not working and the second that vest goes on he's focused and on point. So nice to see!

I finally changed my youtube channel to reflect that hes fully trained. This pandemic proved that to me!
Chopper has now learned how to pick up, sit, and hold my keys! A HUGE mildstone cause he would never hold anything in his mouth. And if I asked for a sit he'd drop what he has in his mouth first.

I got it by asking for "wait" first. Which is really a mobility task positioning thing. Its like playing red light, green light where he freezes in his exact position without taking one step anywhere until advised to. He holds that as long as I need him to. So I asked him to pick up the keys, wait, then sit and got him to sit with the keys in this mouth holding them. I did get him to heel and sit in heel with them in his mouth without having to say wait so maybe it's not an issue but I want him to hold it with the command "hold" rather then wait. Maybe fad in "hold" while fading out "wait"? "Wait hold" and fad each out and in?

I dunno but I am f*cking impressed that we got this far in a week. I made a paracord keychain for him which makes it easier to pick up and to hold so thats probably a big reason why I got this.
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