What a veteran with a service dog wants you to know – American Humane


Thousands of Americans, especially veterans, suffer from serious illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. For many of these people, a trained service dog is a lifesaving means of recovery and their best hope for continuing a normal life. September is National Service Dog Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation for the extraordinary work service dogs do every day for the people in their care. However, this is also an opportunity to familiarize yourself with service dog etiquette.

Unfortunately, many people do not know how to interact appropriately with service dog teams. Assistance dogs are not pets – they have been specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities and when out in public they work. Often the physical and emotional safety of the handler depends on the behavior of the service dog.

American Humane is committed to harnessing the healing powers of the human-animal bond to help veterans through its Pups4Patriots™ program, and our trainers have paired dozens of veterans with life-saving service dogs. lives. As such, here are some service dog etiquette tips that a veteran with a service dog wants you to know:

  • Talk to the handler, not the dog
  • Don’t ask what the service dog is for or why they need a service dog
  • Don’t pet or ask to pet a service dog – they work
  • Don’t try to distract a service dog
  • Do not offer food or treats to a service dog
  • Don’t let your dog near a service dog

We hope the public will follow these tips to help ensure a safe and positive environment for all service dogs and their handlers.