A person is reaching to pet a service dog. The handler is gesturing 'no'.

Service dogs perform vital tasks for their partner. 

They include guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired, service dogs for those with disabilities other than blindness, and hearing dogs for those who have encountered hearing loss. They provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship.

These dogs are specially bred and trained for these important jobs. There are guidelines people should follow when in the presence of a guide or service dog to allow for the safety of the dog and its handler. Disregarding these guidelines can distract the dog, which can create a dangerous situation for the team. 

  • Thank you for respecting me and my service dog. Your consideration and support let us live without boundaries. 

  • Thank you for not touching, talking, feeding, or otherwise distracting my service dog while we are together in public. Please allow my dog to work for our own safety. 

  • Thank you for speaking directly to me and not my friend, spouse, or dog. 

  • Thank you for keeping your children and pets under control around my service dog. Although my dog has been trained to ignore distractions, it still can be difficult for us to work within that type of environment. 

  • I appreciate that you pay attention when driving. My service dog is trained to disobey a command if it would put us in danger, but it's much safer for all of us when you are watching out too. 

  • Thank you for supporting my right to be in public places with my service dog to assist me. It's very helpful when you and the public are aware about our civil rights under state and federal laws. 

  • I understand that some people may have had bad experiences with dogs, but please know that you are safe around mine. My service dog has been trained to not be aggressive and in control at all times. 

  • Thank you for realizing that just because you can’t see my disability doesn’t mean I don’t have one; many disabilities are “invisible.” My service dog has been trained to help make my life better. That's why we are a team. It's OK to ask questions, but sometimes I may be too busy to answer, or I may not want to talk about that part of my life. 

  • Thank you for supporting America’s VetDogs and the Guide Dog Foundation. Whether you made a donation, raised a puppy, or volunteered in some other way, you have helped me and many others live without boundaries.