My best friend just returned home with her fourth guide dog. Since there working relationship is so important there are some guidelines that the public should follow when they see a working guide dog team.
- Ignore the dog. When the dog is working-in harness-their job is to get their handler to wherever they are going safely. Distracting the dog can get the team off course. The best thing anyone can do when they see a working guide dog is to pretend the dog is not there. Remember the dog is only supposed to take commands from the handler.
- Talk to the handler and not the dog. If you think a blind person is lost, and they are not in transit, then politely go up to the handler and ask if they need assistance. If they do then offer it.
- Understand that we have other interests and hobbies besides things that relate to our dogs/blindness. Blind and visually impaired people have different hobbies and interests. We have other topics we can talk about besides our dogs or blindness. Get to know us as people.
- Feed the dog. The dog gets a well-balanced diet and treats at home, so please do not offer anything to them.
- Try to pet or play with them while they are working. When the harness is off, they get plenty of playtime. Playtime is a great way for the handler and dog to bond. The dog has a well-balanced life of work and play.