It is great to see that more people living with disabilities are finding companions in service dogs to help make everyday tasks easier. For that reason, we may be seeing more service dogs out and about with their human companions. So what kind of measures should one take when they encounter a service dog? Keep reading to find out!
Give The Service Dog And Their Companion Space
It might not always be clear if the service dog is working. The law does not require service dogs to wear a vest so make sure you always ask for permission to pet any dog you encounter. While service dogs are working, people around them should give the service dog and their handler space. One may think it’s hard to resist, but one should not pet a service dog. Service dogs are very well trained but they need to stay alert while on duty. Petting them can be a distraction. You may ask to pet a service dog, but since the service dog is working you may get turned down. Not to worry though, service dogs get plenty of love from their human companion.
Always Acknowledge the Handler
If and when you see a service dog and their companion, make sure that you acknowledge the handler first. Speaking to a service dog is a distraction from their work. It’s also important not to ignore the handler when he asks you to step away, or gives a similar request. They know their service dog the best and know how they are when they work.
Keep Your Dog A Safe Distance Away
Dogs are social creatures, and it may be tempting to want to introduce your dog to a service animal, but it will be best to keep your dog a safe distance away from the service dog. One may know their dog is well-behaved but meeting a new dog is uncharted territory and owners must be extremely careful. Just like people are distractions to service dogs, dogs are also distractions to the working service dog.
Give the Service Dog & Their Handler the Right of Way
In situations where one sees a service dog and their handler walking, it is best to give them the right of way. Doing this will ensure that the dog and their handler navigate more easily. One must also be attentive to how closely they are walking to the service dog and their handler. Overall, just make sure that you give them space as the service dog and their handler are walking.
We hope these tips will help you on your next outing if you see a service dog and their handler. Stay safe and remember to give service dogs and their handlers space!
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