Service Dogs – What you should and shouldn’t do around them


There is going to be a time when you come across a service dog. You have the urge to interact with this canine, due to the way it carries itself while assisting its owner/handler. However, you don’t know what to do, as you heard so many things with them.

The confusion is stressful for the owner/handler, as he/she needs his/her canine to help cope with life. Fortunately, with the help of this guide, you can put an end to this uncertainty, and learn what you should and shouldn’t do when you are around a service dog:

Always talk to the handler/owner first

Keep in mind that the service dog is there to help its owner. Both the canine and its handler work together as a team. The rule of thumb is that you should never try to distract the dog by touching or interacting with it.

Even though the canine looks calm at all times, it is keeping a close eye on its owner. The reason is that the life of its handler is in its hands. If it fails to take appropriate action, it can put the owner in harm’s way.

The best thing you can do is to leave them alone. However, if you want to interact with the service dog, you must talk to the handler.

Avoid touching the service dog without any invitation

In general, you should never go about petting unknown dogs, as you don’t know how they will respond. Every service dog receives extensive training, which teaches them to maintain their composure in outdoor environments.

It is the job of these canines to remain vigilant and listen to the instructions of its owner. When you pet or touch the service dog, it acts as a distraction, preventing it from assisting its handler. Only when the handler gives you the green light, should you go ahead and interact with the canine.

Don’t try to feed the service dog

When you see a dog, it is second nature to offer it a treat. After all, you want to make sure every canine you come across is happy. However, when it comes to service dogs, it is a different story, due to the nature of their work.

The problem with food is that it is a huge distraction. As a result, it puts the working relationship between the dog and its handler at risk. Do keep in mind that the canine may have a diet, which it needs to eat at a specific time. The relationship between a service dog and its handler/owner is crucial. As the canine helps people cope with the activities of life, you should make sure that you don't cause any disruptions. The tips highlighted above are the etiquette you should follow when you are around service dogs.

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