Many good-hearted people make the mistake of talking to a service dog, petting the dog without asking, or even worse.
By Laura Pakis, certified professional dog trainer and blogger
Dogs have enriched our lives for centuries, living as our domesticated companions for as long as 32,000 years. They have incredible senses like superheroes on four legs. And with the proper training, they can perform functional tasks that empower disabled individuals to function with greater self-sufficiency–the job of a Service, Guide, or Assistance Dog.
With such an important job, why are there so many good-hearted people making the mistake of talking to the dog, petting the dog without asking, or even worse, asking the disabled individual, “What’s wrong with you?” or asking for a demonstration.
Many people don’t realize there are rules of etiquette when in the presence of a service dog team (the dog and the owner/handler). So, what should you do when you see a Service Dog? What is proper Service Dog etiquette?
Treat the individual as you would anyone else; smile, be polite and be courteous.
Do not interact with the dog in any way.
Even though service dogs are trained to the highest standards and typically ignore distractions, they are not infallible. Service dogs must focus on their handler or the task to perform their job best. A distracted service dog could slip up on a crucial part of his job and put him and his partner in danger.
Distractions include talking, whistling, cooing, or barking at the animal, petting or asking to pet the dog, praising the pet when it completes its task, tapping your leg or clapping your hands, OR allowing your children to approach. Ignore the Service Dog entirely. You’re not being rude if you don’t acknowledge the Service Dog’s presence. The dog is working. Even if it appears it is not.
Never ask personal questions about the handler’s disability or intrude on their privacy.
No one likes to be singled out or have people stare, point, or hear personal comments from strangers. Health is a personal issue, and making comments about the handler and its dog is hurtful for the handler to listen to.
Offer help, but do not insist.
Service Dog handlers are very appreciative of others who ask them if they need any help. Always ask before acting. If a Service Dog handler rejects your offer to help, respect their wishes.
Do not photograph or video record a Service Dog team without permission.
Common courtesy and respect go a long way when you encounter a Service Dog team. Keep these basic Service Dog etiquette tips in mind, and you’ll have a better understanding of how to react when you see a Service Dog team in public.
Steps to take to find your lost dog
With sadness, stress, and bad emotions related to pet loss, it is normal to be confused about what to do. If you face this situation for the first time in your life, you probably have no idea of the proper reflexes to adopt. However, in such cases, it is recommended to take action quickly to put all the chances on your side. To find your lost dog, apply the following advice:
Start a search in and around your home.
Dogs are intelligent animals and can sense their owner’s emotions. After a mistake, he may have just hidden somewhere inside your home. To make sure he’s lost, be sure to check inside and outside thoroughly. Don’t forget to ask your neighbors if they have seen your dog around.
File a lost pet report
The law requires that pets be identified to the authorities. By doing so, it will be easier to detect your dog if it gets lost one day. So, don’t hesitate to alert the veterinarian, the pound, and the animal shelters to declare the loss of your little companion. That way, as soon as these entities find your pet or if someone brings it back, you will be contacted immediately.
Stick up posters
In addition to alerts from the veterinarian and the police, posters also prove to be very effective. To make it, you can only take a template online and copy it by replacing the photos and contact information.
Besides the physical support to stick, consider posting a lost dog ad on Facebook groups or other social networks. By taking this initiative, you increase your chances of finding your pet quickly. Also, take care to regularly check the lost dog ads in your area so that you don’t miss him if he is among the animals found.