DYK Post

Leave Service Dogs Alone!!

If you see a dog with badges saying that it’s in training or working, please don’t give attention to them. That includes eye contact and talking to them. The handlers are in public with these animals for health reasons or to desensitize them to situations, and it makes it exceedingly difficult to do when someone is in their face. Not only are you distracting the dog, but the handler as well. They are building a team and the handler is trying to teach the dog to focus on the handler. DO NOT DISTRACT THEM.

If you want to know more, pay attention to only the handler and ask them questions. Most handlers will be ok with it, but don’t take it personally if they can’t chat. Avoid making assumptions. Just because the handler seems perfectly able-bodied does not mean they are training the dog for someone else. The are many hidden illnesses that cause debilitating symptoms that you can’t know about, and not everyone will want to disclose their health history to anyone who asks. It’s simply no one else’s business.

The Government of Alberta requires service animals to pass a certification test prior to that animal having full public access rights.

A service dog in training technically has no rights to be anywhere a typical pet dog can’t go, but once the dog is certified that changes. Responsible handlers will typically call in advance to ensure it’s ok for them to be there and have made arrangements prior to arriving. If you have concerns, you can ask for the Alberta government issued ID for certified teams. Animals in training do not have this ID and it is up to business owners to make the call to give permission for the team to be there.

This ID is provided by the Government of Alberta. Other IDs, especially those provided online, really have no meaning and are not indicative that the animal has passed required testing.

Emotional support and therapy animals do not have the same rights in public and businesses as certified service animals.

More information can be found at and

Some dog handlers may get overly defensive if confronted. Some may not have proper requirements to have their animal in public. Others may simply have enough to deal with and don’t feel they need to answer to you. Please remember to be kind, and be careful making judgement.



12 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this! We have a service dog where I work and it’s shocking at how many people not only talk to the dog, but actually pet her too.

  2. Graham Frost Graham Frost says:

    I agree, don’t touch service animals or make stupid cute noises at them. However, you may eat EVERY bag of dicks. I will look wherever I want cock breath. Fuck you and fuck your attitude.

  3. So if you fall over in a ditch and your dog comes to get me and try to bring me back to you i should ignore as well, got it.

  4. Amy Angela Amy Angela says:

    And DON’T fake service animals. Leave your pets home. And ESA are NOT service animals.

  5. Therapy vs Service Animals Therapy animals and service animals are not the same thing. Service animals are trained, certified, and provide a service (guiding the blind, warning of an oncoming seizure, getting needed medications to a person, etc.). As such, they are allowed to be just about everywhere.

    Therapy animals are pets. They don’t require any special training and anybody can call any pet a “therapy animal”. As such, they aren’t afforded the same rights as service animals.

  6. Steve Friske Steve Friske says:

    So you’re not supposed to pick them up and run away, gotcha.

  7. And service dogs are not for entertainment for your kids! Kids actually accept the request to not touch more than the adults do. Please don’t encourage your child to look at or go see the dog just so they stop pestering you. It’s easy to explain that he’s a working dog and wears a uniform just like other people do for their jobs like at McDonalds.

  8. They are trained to handle it or they wouldn’t be a service dog. Yes it’s best to leave them alone but still. The handler should say something if needed

  9. This honestly should be common sense. Those dogs are providing the people they are with a service. Leave them alone. I have gone up to people who are with them how beautiful their dog is but would never draw the dogs attention away from their job. As for the leash thing wish more people would use them. As a driver alot of the people I deliver to ask me first if I am ok with dogs and their dog are harmless. Most time they will just sniff me, size me up to make sure I am ok. I will let them sniff me and if the dog is ok with me then I will pet them but I always allow dogs to sniff before petting them.

  10. Bill Howatt Bill Howatt says:

    But they’re sooooooo cute!!

  11. I’m a leave all dogs alone kind of person. If you want to socialize with a dog, go to a dog park. I have 2 dogs. My one dog is very shy and doesn’t like people coming up to him (he is labeled “caution” “do not touch”) I’m very happy more people are becoming aware and asking to interact with him too bad they never get to. He just sits and ignores them because I have all his favorite treats.

  12. Also consider the stoplight leash rule… red leash = do not approach. Yellow or orange leash = use caution. Green = Ok to approach 🙂

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