What not to do when you see a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog
My husband has a German Shepherd Guide Dog called Bamber. Wherever we go he’s the star of the show. But there are times to engage, and times to let him work.
1. Don’t engage with the dog when he’s working.
If a Guide Dog owner is holding the harness, the dog is working. If the harness is lying flat on the dog’s bag, it would be OK to ask the owner if you could engage with the dog.
2. Always ask for permission from the owner before stroking the dog
Never just approach the dog without asking first.
3. Don’t distract the dog when the owner is holding the harness
Lots of people click their fingers to get Bamber’s attention when we’re out. This can be dangerous if Chris is crossing the road or walking downstairs.
4. Remember that the Guide Dog is helping the owner to complete a task
We try to be flexible when we’re out. But Chris and Bamber no longer come to the supermarket because it takes too long to get round. We’ve been eating a meal in a restaurant when a stranger has come over to talk about Bamber.
5. Don’t feed a Guide Dog
Other dog owners have slipped Bamber a treat without asking. Bamber will eat anything! He’s on a very specific diet so other food is not allowed. Also, as Guide Dogs go into restaurants, they are trained not to scavenge.
6. Talk to the owner as well as the dog
We’ve had many instances when someone has fussed Bamber and then walked away without speaking to Chris. I always find this quite sad.