Photo Courtesy of Adactio
As dog lovers, most of us have trouble containing our enthusiasm when a dog is in our vicinity, even for those of us who work with dogs on a daily basis. One would think we’d never seen a dog before or that we were obsessed with them, (oh yeah, that’s right, we are.) Whether we are driving in the car, mowing the lawn or taking out the trash seeing a dog stops us in our tracks, generally making squeals and high-pitched tones we didn’t know we could make, to erupt. This goes for men and women! Those of us with less self-control race over as though pulled by electromagnetic energy to introduce ourselves to the owner just so we can become best friends with their dog! There are some instances when this is not appropriate and that is when you come across a guide dog. Though it is the very tail end of September (pun definitely intended) it is still important to note that this month is National Guide Dog Month. In light of that, we would like to take some time to explain guide dog etiquette. Here are some helpful tips.
 
Photo Courtesy of midiman
-It is very crucial to keep your zealous doggie love under control. Guide dogs should not be touched or petted as it is distracting for them. Always remember they are on the job and need to maintain focus.
 
– Do not call out, whistle or direct other distracting noises at the guide dog. 
 
– Even when a guide dog is sitting or lying down, they are still working so do not approach the guide dog.
 
Photo Courtesy of WagsomeDog
– Always remember that a guide dog and their handler have the right of way!
 
– Do not feed a guide dog. According to Guide Dogs of America, “Diet and feeding times are strictly monitored to maintain good health and reliable relieving schedules.”
 
– If you think a guide dog team needs help or assistance, ask the owner first. Don’t grab the leash, harness or the person and start directing them without asking first, unless they are in immediate danger; doing so can disorient and frighten both the dog and handler.
 
– Fortunately, due to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and State Laws, guide dogs and their owners are allowed everywhere the general public is allowed.
 
– Some guide dog owners do not mind you petting their canine. However, you should always ask them first. If they decline, respect their request.
 
– If you have ever considered raising a guide dog puppy, it is a great way to give back to the community. Though this is a very popular way to get involved, it is not the only way. Volunteers are needed for a myriad of other jobs and activities. Visit the volunteer section of  The Seeing Eye organization, locally situated in Morristown, NJ to discover more ways to help.
 
Sources: Guide Dogs of America