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The Do’s and Don’ts when around a service dog

What adults should do or not do when around a Service Dog

In our children’s book, Piki Goes to College, Joan and I tell children about Service Dog training and how to behave around Service dogs. As adults, we don’t expect that you are going to pet the Service Dog without asking permission or make quick moves or loud noises, but you may want to ask the dog’s name. Please don’t, for the same reason we told the kids…it distracts us from our job. We are working dogs when we are out with our person and have our gear on. We take our job helping people very seriously.


In my book, we told you that a person with a Service Dog must ask permission to take their dog into a private home. That’s simple courtesy, but there are other reasons too. What if someone that lives in that house is very allergic to dogs? What if the children in the home aren’t well behaved? And what if the homeowner has a dog? Unless that dog is safely in another room or outside, or the dogs had been officially introduced to each other recently and did okay then, Joan would not take me in that house. The homeowner may tell Joan that their dog will be okay, but Joan doesn’t know for sure if that is the case. The dog that lives there is in his/her territory and dogs protect both their territory and especially their people. It can sometimes turn into a real mess.


All dogs should be introduced outdoors and in neutral territory. If you’d like more information on how to do that, please contact us.


A related issue occurred a couple of years ago when Joan and I were in the cottage in NH and an acquaintance came to the door with his unleashed dog. We dogs had never met before. Joan asked the owner to please leave his dog outside but he just came in the door with the dog saying, “Oh, he’s okay, there won’t be a problem.” This kind of thing has happened when we’ve been out on a walk too when a person with an unleashed dog came toward us and I could feel Joan get nervous. Again that person said, “Don’t worry, my dog is okay.” People who do and say that are being disrespectful and well, rude, to Joan when we’re in Joan’s house, and disrespectful to both of us when I’m in my gear and working. The other person cannot vouch for their dog because they don’t know anything about me, being in my territory, with my person, or Joan’s disability. I’m working and should not be distracted by an unknown dog.


So please remember:

  • Please don’t bring your dog, Service Dog or not, into someone else’s home without the homeowner’s permission.
  • Please don’t allow your dog, Service Dog or not, to approach a working Service Dog, unleashed. And if your dog is on a leash, please still keep your distance.


Thank you, Piki, S.D. (Service Dog)