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Assistance Dog Etiquette

Going about daily life with an Assistance Dog can be more challenging than you might think, and although very well trained it is possible for an Assistance Dog to become distracted, which can be dangerous for their handler. Here are some things to keep in mind if you do meet an Assistance Dog team out and about. 

Please DO NOT:

  • Distract the dog by talking to them, patting or touching them, trying to feed them, making noises at them, staring at them or otherwise distracting them. An Assistance Dog who becomes distracted can miss an important task, which puts their handler in danger.

  • Approach, or let children approach an Assistance Dog. Teams need room to be able to work and focus properly.

  • Take photos of an Assistance Dog / Assistance Dog team without permission. 

  • Draw attention to an Assistance Dog Team. This can cause stress and panic to the handler, or could lead others to interfere with or distracting the Assistance Dog.

  • Ask personal or invasive questions about a person's disability/ies, or their need for an Assistance Dog.


Please DO:

  • Allow the team plenty of space to move around. 

  • Address the handler, not the dog if you need to interact with a team. 

  • Always keep the handler and their dog together, even in the event of a medical emergency.

  • Remember that not all disabilities are visible. Though you may not be able to see why a person is in need of help from their Assistance Dog, their dog is still working hard. 

  • Remember that Assistance Dog handlers are trying to go about their daily lives, and may not be able to or want to stop and talk or answer questions. If you do have any questions about Assistance Dogs, you can ask us via our contact page.  

  • Spread the word about Assistance Dogs, and Assistance Dog Etiquette. 

  • Help children to learn about how to act around an Assistance Dog. 

  • Respect the Vest 

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