Q. What is the proper etiquette for interacting with a guide dog?
A. Etiquette and Guide Dogs
(taken from the Guide Dog Foundation Web site at www.guidedog.org)
Here is a list of some important dos and donts
for interaction with a guide dog and its handler. Disregarding these guidelines
can distract the dog, which could create a dangerous situation for the working
- Don't touch, pet, or feed a guide dog while it is wearing its working harness.Do
allow the dog to concentrate and perform for the safety of its handler.
- Dont call the dog by its name. Do understand that, for the safety
reasons, some blind of visually impaired people will not reveal their dogs
- Dont give the dog commands.Do allow the handler to do so.
- Dont try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or its
handler. Do assist the handler on his or her request, and always ask before
you attempt to help.
- Dont walk on the dogs left side, as the dog may become distracted
or confused.Do walk on the handlers right side, several paces behind
him or her.
- Dont attempt to grab or steer the handler while the dog is guiding
him or her, and dont attempt to hold the dogs harness.Do ask if
the handler needs your assistance; if so, offer your left arm.
- Dont allow children or other adults to tease or abuse the dog,
especially when it is resting comfortably. Do allow it to rest undisturbed
and focus on its job.
- Dont allow pets or other dogs to challenge or intimidate a guide dog.
Do allow them to meet when the animals can be carefully supervised.
- Dont pat the dog on the head. Do stroke the dog on the shoulder area--but
only with its handlers prior approval.
- Dont be afraid to ask the handler questions. Do address the handler
and not the dog when speaking to its handler.