A really common question I get is, "What breed of dog can be a service dog?"
So I made another infographic all about service dog breeds.
Scroll through and comment with your favorite dog breed!
*All dog photos from Pexels.com
7 Facts from ADA.gov about service dogs. These facts apply to the United States. Other countries have different terminology and laws. Click the button below to download the images to print or share to social media.
Leave a comment with any questions you may have about service dogs.
Before our experience with Riley and the service dog world, I thought the general rule to service dogs was "ask before you pet". I think that is the common understanding. Yes, you should definitely ask before you pet someone's service dog, and be prepared for a "no". But should we even be asking to pet someone's service dog in the first place?
I posted a poll on my favorite service dog community Facebook group asking them how they feel about being approached with their service dog in the grocery store. Here are the results of 300 service dog handlers:
56% said they prefer to be completely ignored.
25% said that they did not mind being respectfully approached and asked questions, but did not want to be asked if their service dog could be pet.
13% said they enjoyed passing compliments but nothing more
4% said they liked being asked questions by disabled people who are considering a service dog.
2%, yes, just 2% said they like it when people ask to pet their service dog.
Now, keep in mind I only asked 300 of the roughly 80 million service dog handlers in America. But I think these numbers give the right message: Most service dog handlers don't want their service dogs to be pet, especially not while they are out running errands.
Here are some of the comments that were left on the poll that I think will help people to understand why they answered the way they did.
"I have a [traumatic brain injury] that makes it hard to remember and process things, and I'm blind. So if I'm trying to just get my shopping done, I really just want to be ignored. I know my dog is cute and is a good boy but he's just doing his job and I'm trying to run errands."
"I would love to be completely ignored, but if someone is to interact with us, I want them to ONLY talk to me, not my dog. she just started public access training and LOVES people, so it can be difficult..."
"It depends on my mood and what I need to get done. 99% of the time I want to be left alone but sometimes if I'm just out with no agenda, I don't mind when people ask questions."
The take away:
People with service dogs have them for a reason. Often that reason makes it hard for them to interact with strangers. So lets change the social norm and stop asking people if you can pet their service dog. Most owners are happy to answer respectful, sincere questions. If they are okay with you petting their service dog, they will most likely offer.
Download the files to print and share. Be sure to tag me if you share them on social media!