Sit! Stay…In This Cell. Good Boy.

The story of Mario Duane Porter getting charged for telling a police dog to sit wasn’t much of a story, but it did make me think of a couple funny ones of my own.

Back when I was a camp counsellor, long before I’d given getting a guide dog serious thought, there was this camper who had a guide dog. He got his dog from a school that taught the dogs French commands. So whenever he commanded his dog, it was in French. There was another camper who also spoke french, and took great delight in yelling commands at the dog to see what would happen. I remember one time, we were trying to get pictures done, and the dog’s handler told the dog to stand. The other guy told the dog to sit. After a couple repetitions of “debout! Assis! Debout! Assis!”, the dog just flopped over.

There was another situation that was simultaneously funny and not funny. After each day, the guy and his dog would scoot over to the side somewhere near the residence where we stayed. If I passed close enough, I would hear the handler saying “Aux besoins, aux besoins.” Knowing nothing about anything, I would always wonder, “Hmmm, besoin is need…so what’s this thing about needs?” If I’d thought for half a second, I would have realized that he was telling the dog to relieve.

But I didn’t need to figure this out, this was explained to me very clearly later on at camp. I was walking down to the lobby, and almost reached it when someone said “Stop! Wait right there!” I froze, and the next thing I heard was the handler saying “Carin, you know that guy who likes to try to command my dog? He told her to besoin!” And there was besoin all over the lobby. If I had been smart, I would have made that other guy clean it up.

So yeah, it goes to show that service dogs of any type may be trained, but they aren’t perfect. So never command a service dog just to be smart. It’s not a good idea.

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