Caution: Dogs At Work - Guide Dog Etiquette - The Trupanion Blog
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Caution: Dogs At Work – Guide Dog Etiquette

Photo courtesy: Texas A&M University

Whenever you see a puppy on the street, your first thought is “ooh, I must pet it!” am I right? While the same instinct may strike when you see a guide dog in training, it is not always the best idea to sprint towards it with outstretched arms.

Unlike the average pet, guide dogs are animals at work. They are performing a job and providing much-welcomed assistance to someone in need. The first thing you will learn is:

The first cardinal rule of guide dog etiquette: Ask the handler first before making any contact with the dog.

If the dog is in the middle of a job then the handler or owner will likely not want any outside distractions during that time which is why it’s best to always ask first.

Don’t feel bad if your request is declined. It’s important for the dog or puppy to be able to focus on his job, especially puppies, so that they can develop proper behavior and provide the help that is needed.

Rule number two: Don’t let your dog run up to a guide dog. When a guide dog is on duty, this is not the time to play and socialize because they are at work. It’s best to keep the leash close and tell your dog that you’ll take him to the dog park later.

Good guide dog manners will ensure that a dog can be of the best assistance to its owner.

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