Proper Behavior Around a Service Dog or Service Dog in Training

  • The dog’s job is to focus on completing tasks for its owner or handler.
  • Your behavior should not interfere with this focus.
  • The handler is trying to complete his/her own activity. Even if the handler is out to dinner, the handler is not there to entertain you or to answer your questions.

Do not interact with the dog in any way. Examples of poor etiquette that should not happen when one sees a service dog are:

  • Talking, whistling, cooing, or barking at the dog
  • Petting or asking to pet
  • Praising the pet when it completes its task
  • Tapping your leg or clapping your hands
  • Allowing your children to approach
  • Speaking to the handler such as:
    • “What is wrong with you?”
    • “What a good dog you have!”
    • “What happened?”
    • “What is his name?”
    • “I have a friend that fosters service dogs”
    • “I know you are not supposed to pet, but I just can’t resist!”
    • Asking for a demonstration

Another Thing to Consider:

No one likes to have people stare, point, or hear personal comments from strangers. Health is a private issue. In addition, making comments to others about the handler and its dog is hurtful for the handler to hear.

Please be aware of your actions and the effects these actions may have on others. The best way to help the handler and the service dog is to respect their space and right to privacy.