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How to act around a Guide Dog

Whether they’re qualified and working or still in training, there’s nothing quite like seeing a Guide Dog leading the way for their User. These dogs possess a unique set of skills as Guide Dogs, and therefore have a specialised set of guidelines for how best to treat them.

When you meet a Guide Dog for the first time, you may wonder what you should and shouldn’t do. You are not alone! To help you with this, we’ve put together a few handy tips that might be useful.

Always introduce yourself to the Guide Dog User or Puppy Raiser, rather than speaking directly to the dog. Often, they’re more than happy to chat about their dog, but can feel ignored when people approach and go straight for the dog. And this leads in to the next point…

A Guide Dog and pup in training is a working dog, not a pet. As difficult as it may be, to assist with their training and safe guiding work, please avoid patting, feeding, or distracting them in any way – especially when they are in harness or training coat!

Even if the puppy is laying calmly by their Puppy Raiser’s feet, if their coat is on, they could be busy learning how to settle in a new environment. This is a vital skill for a Guide Dog to learn, and becomes much more difficult when they’re distracted.

Yellow labrador puppy in the training coat lays calmly by her Puppy Raiser's feed

Young Guide Dogs in training need to learn to behave calmly in public

If you think the Guide Dog User might need some assistance – just ask! They may just need a little help with directions, or they might be perfectly happy as they are.

And remember – Guide Dogs can go anywhere. Legally, Guide Dogs can go in to shops, cafes, movie theatres, on public transport and in taxis – pretty much everywhere their User goes.

If you have any queries about Guide Dog etiquette, please email or call 9311 8202 for a friendly chat with one of our staff.

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