What exactly does this mean?
- No petting
- No talking to
- No saying his/her name
- No eye contact
- No action in an attempt to get the dog’s attention
- No allowing your child to run up to or grab for the dog
So, now to the question everybody wants to ask… WHY?
The simple answer is that the Service Dog is there to keep his or her handler safe, and to perform very specific tasks to mitigate their handler’s disability. When the service dog is distracted he is not paying attention to his job and his human handler could very easily get hurt or worse. This is not only bad, in most cases, but this is also ILLEGAL. You may not intentionally interfere or prevent a Service Dog from doing their job.
Try thinking about it like this: When you see a person using a wheelchair, do you go up to them and ask if you can take it for a spin? When you see a person using a cane, do you allow your kids to run up to the person and touch or grab the cane? Hopefully not.
So, think of the service dog as a wheelchair or cane the next time you are tempted to pet or are about to ask to pet a Service Dog.
Service dog handlers get MANY questions every day… Sometimes the best option may be to just quietly admire the working dog and handler from a distance.