As long as I have trained my dogs, I have tried hard to surround myself with those who have positive attitudes about owner training as well as those who get how different working a dog from a wheelchair actually can be.
This has not been easy at all because that limits my exposure to the guide community substantially. Its only been of recent years that the view that the blind can not train their own guide dogs has begun to be trampled down by some of us who do it and do it well.
There's always been an issue I have had with advice from ambulatory disabled people- be they blind, deaf, or mobility impaired. After years of having to explain over and over again why their ideas won't work with a wheelchair team or that their ideas are unsafe, I've pretty much given up with explanations any more.
I'm on a couple of guide dog specific lists. Though I am a part of the lists, I always feel this attitude from some of the members- the attitude that because I owner train, I am missing a big part of what the programs can provide and therefore can't be certain that my approaches I chose are really the best. There's also that attitude that I am not really a part of the whole community not just because I don't go through programs but because I clicker train and God forbid I should offer someone some advice that just might be contrary to what their corrective based program would want.
Usually I just back away when the attitudes start coming. People offering advice about how they believe what I do is dangerous when its not (gotta be there to see how its done to judge that) and then offering me advice that is more of the same nonsense I've been fed for over a decade. I just get so sick of unrequested advice.
No matter what anyone wants to believe, just like I can't realistically know how much different my work with a guide is than how an ambulatory person works or trains their dogs other than knowing some of the differences in the approach to guiding, neither can the ambulatory really comprehend the ins and outs and dangers that the approaches they might take could present for someone working their dog from a wheelchair.
Offering true beneficial advice on the actual aspect that one is asking for input on is one thing, but where things go blurry is that the vast majority of those who think they know what's better for me and my dog are not even owner trainers or people who further their dogs training.
I just get so fed up
Right now I am going through a tough time. I don't have much patience for anyone or anything let alone busy bodies who think they know it all. I will admit that maybe these people think I could be more tactful but when you've been dealing with the same-ol, same-ol for over a decade, wouldn't you get tired of being all sweet and supportive in your responses. Its sorta like telling someone day in and day out why they can't pet or distract your dog.
I probably should have ignored the post altogether that claimed something I do to be dangerous since the person did not have all the facts to begin with, but alas I did not. In hindsite stupid really
I go through this kind of crap way too much on lists that are not multi-disciplined meaning lists that have one type of service animal as the focus and not ones that involve wheelchair users.
So for now, I'm taking a step back. I won't be reading posts on the list. I won't be replying to posts on the list. And above all I certainly won't post about any of the problems I am having for any sort of advice.
Some may feel I need to get a thicker skin, but honestly I think others need to open their eyes and think or consider asking more questions before judging whether I have enough experience or people with that experience at my disposal to ascertain what is safe or not (which btw I do)
Most of my ambulatory guide dog friends are awesome. They are folks from around the world who just get owner training. They get operant conditioning or at least that I am not going to use corrective measures as my focus with Thane. They freely admit that they don't have all the answers when offering suggestions which they know may or may not be something I can do either because of my disabilities themselves or because of safety concerns between the wheelchair and work with Thane.
For now, these are the kind of people I need to surround myself by. If others take offense because I just can't handle the slaps I get for speaking how I feel- then so be it. Its their problem really.