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Guide Dog Etiquette

Have you ever wondered if you could pet a guide dog? There are many things you can do that can either help or hinder a guide dog team (handler + guide dog) while they are out in public. Here are some expert tips from three excellent guide dog organizations.

Guide Dog Interaction Tips

  • Petting - As tempting as it may be to pet a Guide Dog, remember that this dog is responsible for leading someone who cannot see. The dog should never be distracted from that duty. A person's safety may depend on their dog's alertness and concentration. (source: Guide Dogs for the Blind)
  • Talking to the Handler - Before asking a question of a person handling a dog, allow them to complete the task at hand. (source: Guide Dogs for the Blind)
  • Walking Nearby - Don't walk on the dog's left side as he may become distracted or confused. It's best to walk on the owner's right side but several paces behind him. (source: Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc)
  • Offering Assistance - Don't attempt to grab or steer the person while the dog is guiding him or attempt to hold the dog's harness. Ask if the owner needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm. (source: Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc)
  • Feeding Guide Dogs - Don't give the dog table scraps. Respect the master's need to give the dog a balanced diet and maintain its good habits. (source: Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc)
  • Interacting With Your Dog - Do Not allow your dog, while on a leash, to interact with a guide dog. The blind person depends on their dog to guide them safely and any distraction can endanger them. (source: Guide Dogs of the Desert)
September is National Guide Dog Month. PETCO is partnering with Natural Balance to raise $1 million for Guide Dogs and you can help! All month long you can donate to the cause at your local PETCO. Also, when you buy specially marked bags of Natural Balance Synergy Formula or Healthy Bones dog treats a portion of the proceeds will be donated to participating guide dog schools, up to $25,000. Spreading the word about these guide dog etiquette tips is another way that you can help give to this cause. Whether you give your time, money or knowledge you are  making a contribution that can greatly impact someone's quality of life. How are you planning to give?
  • MS Balance Challenged

    While I understand that you grabbed this information from the ‘Guidedogs for the Blind’ and other similar sites please understand that not only the blind have guide dogs. Just because a person has site doesn’t mean they might not have the need for a guide dog. Autism and MS are just two examples of disabilities that can require assistance. Thanks.

  • Shelly Shetley

    Dear MS Balence Challenge,

    Only dogs that are used to guide Blind or Visually Impaired persons are termed as “Guide Dogs”.  Dogs that assist persons who have physical challenges, Autism, or any other disability are “Service Dogs”.  While Service Dogs have similar Etiquette Guidelines/Rules, the Guidelines/Rules do not include all of the same Guidelines/Rules.

  • Gvag04

    is very important that on occasions you do not realize this, we must be intoaccount advice, tomorrow it can help avoid an accident

  • Gvag04

    sometimes make mistakes by not knowing this information, it is important to know is that it helps us avoid an accident, but we can help these people. work done by these dogs is very nice because they help to move forward and live