Service Dog EtiquetteMon, May 06, 2013,
Service dogs are amazing animals. It’s hard not to be in awe of them as you see them helping their masters, either by guiding them down the street or performing household tasks. Still, though, in all of our excitement for these amazing animals it’s important to maintain a proper respect for the dogs, their masters and the job they are performing. With that in mind, here are a few tips for proper service dog etiquette.
First of all, do not distract the dog. These dogs are highly focused animals with an important job to do. It’s essential that you don’t take their focus off of their master and/or the task at hand. They may be highly trained, but they are still dogs. It’s not impossible that attention from you could distract them, and put their owner in a dangerous situation.
Secondly, do not touch the dog without permission. While this is true of all dogs, it is especially true of service animals. When you get down to it, we don’t know what the job is that they are performing, and petting the dog could potentially interfere. It’s also important that you not be offended if they say no. For most people, there is an expected “yes” when you ask for permission to pet their dog, so don’t be taken aback if they inform you that you can’t pet their service dog.
Do not offer food to the dog. No matter how well trained these dogs are, they can still be tempted by food. It’s also possible that the dog could have an adverse reaction to whatever you’re offering and be out of commission for days or even weeks.
So when you see a service dog, definitely feel admiration for the amazing job that they are doing, but try to remain respectful for the fact that they are working. Be polite, be courteous, but also show proper etiquette.