By Arden Moore, a dog and cat behavior expert and author of 26 best-selling pet books. She hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and is a writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.
It is easy to understand the conflicting emotions you may feel you encounter a service dog on the job assisting a person with physical or mental limitations. The dog may be walking with the person or sitting quietly under a table at a restaurant. You instinctively want to pet and praise this dog for the great job they’re doing, but then you see those words stitched on his service vest: “Working Service Dog. Please Do Not Pet.”
You may feel like you just collided with a stop sign. You freeze, not knowing what to do or what to say next.
To assist you on practicing the proper pet etiquette around service dogs, we talked to Jennifer Arnold, co-founder of Canine Assistants, based in Milton, Ga. Arnold, who has trained more than 1,000 service dogs at Canine Assistants, has come up with a novel way to satisfy pet lovers who spot one of her trained service dogs.
“About six months ago, I replaced the patches on our service dogs that read, ‘Don’t pet me. I’m working’ with the new message: ‘Ask to pet me. I’m friendly.’ The reason? Our service dogs are friendly and part of what I think helps our clients as well as people in the community is when they are allowed to interact in a positive way with the service dogs,” Arnold explained to us.
Here are three tips from Arnold when encountering a service pet:
1. Never run up and pet a service dog without permission. You may startle the dog and his person, who may fall and get injured.Read More…