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Editor's note: Some very insightful comments from our readers has put this video in a better context. Take a look for yourself and then read that the great Bark readers have to say!
Three-year-old Alida Knoblock and her trusty service dog Mr. Gibbs are breaking new ground with their amazing partnership. You have to see it to believe it.
I saw this and it was amazing. It was absolutely shocking that any adult and especially a dog trainer would put a pinch collar in the hands of a 3 year old girl. There are reasons real service dog agencies turned this family down. It's because a 3 year old is way way way too young to handle that responsibility. Besides does a 3 year old really need the kind of freedom that makes them think a dog is required.
I agree completely! When I saw realized it was wearing a prong collar I was horrified! And watching her keep yanking and yanking on that poor dog, digging those prongs into his neck. At one point, on the sofa, the dog is in pain, you can see the facial expressions, she keeps pulling the leash tight and he's trying to get away from her. The Dad takes the leash and yanks it again and harder and makes it stay to endure more pain!!! I can SEE why they were turned down now as well by many agencies!
I watched the program on TV Doctors and initially thought what a gorgeous relationship between the child and Mr Biggs.. Then I decided to google to see more cute footage of the two together. That's when my feelings changed. I was horrified to see that collar hidden by the red bandana and the way the little girl was yanking on the lead and pulling on that bandana. Why didn't the parents tell her to stop that. I've lost the warm fuzzy feelings I initially had for the child and Mr Gibbs. She is far too young for the well being of Mr Gibbs. Parents, please try to realise why this paring is neither good for your child or Mr Biggs. I hope things work out for you Mr Biggs, it's a shame you're not here in Australia where those shock and prong collars are banned.
I so agree with you, Suzy. This is no service dog and he is basically being abused. No reputable established service dog agency would set a dog up for failure like this. I also see no affection, caring or concern for the dog on the part of this child, or from the parents, for that matter.
The vast majority of parents are right there next to a 3 year old at a playground, even a perfectly healthy 3 year old, so why can't a parent hold the oxygen tank while the child is swinging, sliding, etc? Maybe that would help keep the dog from being "beat in the head".
No three-year-old should be out and about alone, dog or no dog. Parents need to be there to tend to their children and whatever needs they may have.
As for participating in sports, how does a dog help her do that? Is she going to run bases or kick a soccer ball with the dog and tank running alongside?
Seems like a tricycle would be a great way to move around with a small tank.
Many people have physical limitations and still manage to live full, happy, productive lives. In this case, the child is also going to outgrow the disease.
A portable carrier is needed, not a confused young dog.
I also wonder where this "independent" trainer obtains these dogs. Is she breeding them? Big money in that.
No responsible dog breeder would send a barely-trained puppy to be yanked around on a prong collar by a three-year-old.
And no qualified, responsbile service dog agency would place a dog in that situation.
This independent trainer's qualifications consist of a HS diploma and 6 weeks of training at the "K9 academy".
they could at least tell her to stop yanking on the collar unnecessarily...
I noticed the collar also. It really bothered me along with the uncoordinated way the child was yanking the leash. I agree that this child is way too young. While it is great that this kind of service dog can be trained for her disability, I think waiting until she's older, with better judgement and coordination, would be far more humane for the dog. That dog must be totally exhausted by evening.
This is really touching. Thanks to the dog and god bless the child and this beautiful dog.
- From PetPeople
I'm surprised to see The Bark sharing a video clip like this one, given the focus on dog friendly training and understanding canine communication I see so often in the magazine itself - there are so many videos and stories of service dogs that don't show a distressed dog with a little girl yanking on a prong collar. :(
This blog entry really sums up my thoughts on this story:http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/2012/03/dog-body-language-how-to-t...
Poor Mr.Gibbs. I feel for this little girl and her family. However, there are other little girls with much more devastating handicaps than carrying an oxygen tank. Maybe they can come up with a temporary solution until the girl is old enough to properly handle a service dog. Dogs for autistic children are not under the control of the child, but they are under the control of the parent. This parent doesn't look like he knows how to handle his daughter's service dog very well either.This is not a good example of a good working partnership between human and dog.
As a doodle owner and dog lover I'm saying that this dog is being abused at the hands of that toddler. Why any trainer would allow this is beyond me other than to think they want the press that the "cute" story brings. The parents of the little girl even admit that the poor thing gets hit in the head with the swing, plus let her yank and yank on the prong collar. SOMEONE needs to do something to help this dog!
I agree absolutely with Suzy. Service dogs should be trained professionally and this costs thousands of dollars. The Goldendoodle and Labradoodle's temperament makes them ideal candidates but I am afraid it also opens them to abuse too. I personally don't like prong collars but to put a prong collar in the hands of a three year old is a disgrace. At first glance this looks like a touching story but on second it is truly awful.
I'm sorry but allowing a three year old to yank a dog about is unfair and abusive to the dog. A child of this age is too young to understand how to work with, let alone train a dog.
It's really too bad that the uneducated media has chosen to put out this story in a positive light. A 3 year old is really too young to be using a prong collar on a dog. This is probably why the family has been refused a service dog in the past.
While I applaud partnerships between service dogs and their handlers, and I feel bad for the poor child stuck with an oxygen tank, I feel especially bad for the dog - trapped in a prong collar that is being yanked by a 3-year-old who doesn't know better, showing body language that is begging for escape (lip licking, yawning, lack of eye contact...) There are tons of happy, brilliant service dogs out there, trained with positive methods... Mr. Gibbs does not appear to be one of them. I'd love to direct your readers to Laurie Luck's Smart Dog Blog; she is a pro-trainer who has raised over a dozen service dogs and her breakdown of the behaviors seen in the video is eye-openeing.http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/2012/03/dog-body-language-how-to-t...
I encourage The Bark to really check into the stories being promoted, to make sure that this is really the picture of a "happy service dog" that you want to send to your readership. Thanks!
I find it deeply disturbing that a dog lovers magazine would run with this story. Prong collars and three year old children DO NOT go together....EVER!
I saw it. Unfortunately, I saw A LOT more than the cuteness factor. I wrote a piece breaking this segment down minute by minute and documented all the dog's stress signals and why I'm sad for this dog. You can read it here and see all the signals, then decide for yourself...http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/2012/03/dog-body-language-how-to-t...
Laurie, I appreciate your by-the-minute breakdown. I saw all of this "more generally" the first time around but your analysis really brought it home. This dog is being abused. I would hope there is some way to relieve him of his duties.
Thank you everyone for your fantastic feedback. Really appreciate having my eyes opened to what's happening here. I just re-watched and now can't see it without wincing. Thanks again.
I am thrilled that The Bark is willing to see a story and realize their initial response to it was wrong. I, too, when initially seeing the video thought it was a great story. Cute dog, cute child, but upon deeper investigation I was horrified by the condition of this dog. I would love nothing more than to take him home with me and give him the unconditional love my doodle takes for granted every day. I so wish there was something I could do.
Thank god i read these posts!! as a dog lover my mum showed me the article and straight away I thought what dog wants to do that!!Also shes 3 years old!!!!!
poor poor dog!!! these comments need to go to the papers... the article I read was in a Chat magazine... im going to write to them and highlight this!! Absolutley disgusting!!!!
As a father of a child with NEHI and a dog companion I see a different story. My golden retriever is not a happy fella unless he has a purpose and a place. He appears most happy when we load him up with a backpack full of soup cans. Or he carries his own water when we're out hikeing. I personally see a simbiotic relationship. A dog with a purpose and a place who I would be willing to bet is more happy than your golden doodle and a CHILD (Children Having Interstitial Lung Disease) with a better life. Who are you to judge?
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