An Off Leash Dog Ruined My Life: A Service Dog’s Story

Dog Bite Prevention Week has me reading up on dog handling and training, especially anything related to leash reactive dogs, or DINOS as they are so affectionately referred to. Lucy is a DINOS, a Dog In Need Of Space. She used to be a super friendly dog – the belle of the dog park! But shortly after adopting her, we had an encounter with an off-leash dog that changed Lucy for good.
Our life-altering experience was much like the one that Kristel describes in this post, except that there was a lot more at stake for Murphy the service dog. Still, a 30 second encounter for any dog can be life-changing. For more information about keeping your dog and others safe, check out DINOS online.

notes from a dog walker

Service Dogs need space to work. But they’re not getting it from us. Turns out, off-leash dogs and dogs on retractable leashes, not to mention humans with no boundaries, are an epidemic for people who depend on Service Dogs.

The intrusions range from minor (people who want to pet their Service Dogs) to major (losing their balance and falling when their Service Dog gets chased by a dog on a retractable leash).

And then there are life altering encounters.  Attacked by a “friendly” off-leash dog, Kristel and her Service Dog, Murphy, had their world turned upside down in a single moment.

This is their story:

“Murphy has been prepared for service work since he was a young puppy. He was well-socialized and exposed to all manner of weirdness from the time he was about nine weeks old. He went to puppy-kindergarten, met lots and lots of new people and had a group of dog-friends with great social skills. He was easy to train, well-mannered and confident. He got…

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