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This is what you should do when you meet a service dog

2023-12-05T15:07:57.183Z

Highlights: This is what you should do when you meet a service dog. Don't touch, don't talk to: How to behave towards strange assistance dogs. Do not distract the dog with loud noises. If the animal seems confused or searching, it may have lost its owner – because even companion dogs can nod off from time to time. If you come across a lonely emergency services dog, you should definitely call the emergency services. If a dog approaches you, it might want to get help. You can find even more exciting animal topics in Landtiere's free partner newsletter, which you can subscribe to right here.



Status: 05.12.2023, 15:58 PM

By: Larissa Strohbusch

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Assistance dogs are often essential for their owners' survival. However, uninvolved passers-by sometimes do not know how to deal with them. Our tips will help.

When a dog lover meets "man's best friend", it often becomes cordial. Many people enjoy cuddling or playing with strange dogs. But (not only) if it is an assistance dog, this behavior can be life-threatening. Here you should stick to a few rules.

Assistance dogs have various tasks and special training

Don't be distracted: The assistance dog is focused on his work. © Kai Kitschenberg/Funke Foto Services/IMAGO

Being a friendly family dog is not enough: the animal lifesavers must first complete a two-year assistance dog training, during which they are trained exactly for the tasks that their owners need. That's why an assistance dog only works for one person and can have very different skills. A selection:

  • Almost everyone knows guide dogs. They help their owners through everyday life. Signal dogs work in a similar way, assisting the hard of hearing.
  • Mobility dogs support people with physical disabilities. They press buttons, open doors or hand over the money at the cash register.
  • Some dogs have a special talent for recognizing diseases. A diabetic alert dog smells when blood sugar levels drop or rise threateningly. There are also dogs that sense an epileptic seizure or asthma attack before the person feels bad. These dogs can give warning signals, get help, or even administer medication.
  • Many dogs also help with mental illness. PTSD service dogs (PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) recognize when the sufferer gets flashbacks. In the same way, these dogs also help people with depression, claustrophobia or an anxiety disorder to seek a quiet place when necessary.

By the way, assistance dogs should not be confused with therapy dogs: These are not specially trained, but generally work with people in need of help. They provide comfort in retirement homes or children's hospitals, for example.

Don't touch, don't talk to: How to behave towards strange assistance dogs

If you meet a person with a service dog on the street, you should follow these rules:

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  • Do not touch the dog.
  • Do not talk to the dog without being asked.
  • Do not distract the dog with loud noises.
  • Restrain your own dog.

Service dogs have to work hard and always stay on task. If you disturb his concentration, in the worst case the dog may not be able to protect its owner.

Do you help in an emergency where an assistance dog is present? In this case, you should avoid separating the dog from the human if possible. The animal is even allowed to go to the hospital. On his assistance dog ID card or dog tag, you will find emergency contacts that you can use to alert someone.

You can find even more exciting animal topics in Landtiere.de's free partner newsletter, which you can subscribe to right here.

An unaccompanied assistance dog: what you need to do

You may come across a service dog without its owner. This may be an emergency. However, before you react, you should take a close look at the situation. If the dog specifically approaches you, it may want to get help. If the animal seems confused or searching, it may have lost its owner – because even companion dogs can nod off from time to time. An autism dog, in turn, might be looking for a runaway child. Therefore, do not hold the dog back. If you come across a lonely assistance dog, you should definitely call the emergency services.

Source: merkur

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