Interacting with an Assistance Dog
Hiya friends! I wanted to talk to you about something very near and dear to my heart this week—animals! Specifically, the second week of August is International Assistance Dog Week, where we celebrate how amazing assistance dogs are in our everyday lives. I was trying to think of the very best way to honor these hard-working canines, and thought I should blog about something to help make their jobs a bit easier. You see, sometimes we see get so excited seeing them we forget they’re a dog with a career and that should come first always! Here are some great tips for interacting with an assistance dog you should know.
- Always be very considerate when interacting with an assistance dog. The dog is an extension of the person they are assisting. That person may just be going about their day to day life, are rushing around, and may not have time for an interaction. Be conscious about interrupting a busy person just to interact with their assistance dog, and always speak with the person (not the dog) first.
- Likewise, remember that the dog is working and may not be able to be interrupted! Don’t feel sad if the dog is too busy for an interaction—he or she has an important job to do!
- After you get permission to interact with the dog from his or her person always ask what type of interaction is ok. Petting may be just fine but other things like tugging on the leash and vest or feeding the dog may be a big “no no!”
- Be thoughtful when asking questions about the assistance dog. Be conscious about your question phrasing; instead of asking “Why do you need an assistance dog?” ask “How does the dog help you?” Don’t barrage the dog’s person with loads of questions; keep your interaction short so the person may go about their day and be ok if the person doesn’t want to answer a question.
- Never feel bad for the assistance dog because they “work all day.” Many dogs are very happy to have a job and use their brains! Assistance dogs are usually very well cared for and loved!
Do you want to help assistance dogs? Contact an agency such as Assistance Dogs International or Paws with a Cause for donation or volunteer opportunities. The best way you can help is admire the assistance dog from a distance and let them do their job!