When our warriors are out in public with their dogs and families, so much is going through their minds. They want to enjoy their time out, but they are also focused on things they cannot control. It can sometimes be a challenge in certain places or situations to have a dog. So many things can happen, but you can help by making sure you understand the things you should not do around them.
Do Not Talk to the Dog While Ignoring the Warrior
It may seem harmless to say “Hi, doggie. You are very pretty.” This, however, can distract the dog from its job. Getting permission from the warrior to interact with the dog is always the best practice. The warrior will give a cue to the dog to communicate that it is ok to socialize with you. Talking to the warrior before the dog also helps the warrior feel respected and valued as the handler.
Do Not Ask the Warrior about Their Disability
This may seem like a no-brainer. Sometimes, though, people unintentionally say what they are thinking. Everyone has the right to be curious, but think about how disclosing personal information to a stranger would make you feel. It is the warrior’s right to keep their disability private.
Do Not Feed the Dog
Most dogs are very food-motivated, but this does not mean that it would be acceptable to give a service dog food. Doing so not only distracts the dog, but could also interfere with the dog’s diet. If the dog becomes sick, it cannot work.