It is a well known fact that dogs are the cutest things that mankind has ever come into contact with. Because of this, our initial reaction when encountering one is to run full speed towards them, arms stretched into a proper petting position, and throats cleared in order to tell them what a good boy they are. That being said, there are several things to consider before bombarding ANY pups or their owner.
Any dog should be approached with caution, regardless of their service capabilities. Like us, they all have different personalities and back stories. They may be frightened by men in hats, perhaps they only respond to small dogs, maybe it takes them weeks before trusting someone to approach them, or maybe they are just a big ham who loves belly rubs. Whatever the case, the dog and their owner deserve the respect of simply asking if you can pet them instead of assuming it’s okay.
Service dogs, however, are in their own category entirely. While they will usually be dressed in a labeled vest to alert passerby’s they are working, it is not required they wear them. It is best to always assume that someone brings their dog with them for a purpose.
In addition to this, there are several things owners of service dogs want you to know:
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service dog is “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” Their job is to help their companion with physical, intellectual, sensory or mental issues. They are trained for months before being paired with their handler.
You should be talking to the owner, not the dog. As previously mentioned, most commonly our first reaction to seeing a pup is to talk in a high-pitched voice and approach them. However, this is putting their handler at risk. Owner first, dog second.
Don’t ask the handler their or their dog’s story. If they wanted you to know, they would probably type that up and put it on the vest next to the “service dog” logo. Keep in mind, others are probably asking them these same questions every day and it is simply no one’s business.
The dogs are working! They have a job to do and should be treated as such!
It is a common misconception that the dogs never get any time off. This is simply not true! When it is time for them to relax, they are given treats and snuggles and usually celebrate by doing zoomies.
The saying goes, “we don’t deserve dogs,” and we are in agreement. Pups are such fierce love bugs and intelligent caregivers. But next time you are out, keep their handler in mind. Make sure to ask first and pet second (but ONLY with permission).
https://tdhomepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/sd4h_body_image_1_1.jpg400600Laura Honsingerhttp://tdhomepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/TD-Main-Logo-125.pngLaura Honsinger2020-02-12 19:50:142020-02-12 19:59:36Service Dogs: The Dos and The Don'ts
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