How to Act Around a Guide Dog or Autism Assistance Dog

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  • How to Act Around a Guide Dog or Autism Assistance Dog

People often ask how to act around a Guide Dog or Autism Assistance Dog.

The simple answer is to just act normally and go about your business or journey.

A Guide or Assistance Dog has an important job to do! After undertaking two years of specialised training a Guide or an Autism Assistance Dog is carefully matched to their handler – a Western Australian living with low vision, disability or illness.

It is important to let a working dog concentrate on it’s job, and the commands of it’s handler.

By following a few simple rules you can help ensure the safety of the Guide or Autism Assistance Dog and their handler.

  1. Always talk to the handler, not their Guide or Assistance Dog.
    Not only is it polite but when a Guide or Assistance Dog is working it needs to concentrate. Interruptions to their concentration can severely affect their handler’s safety.
  2. If you think a handler needs assistance, ask them first. Never touch the person, the Guide or Assistance Dog, or the harness/coat without permission.
  3. Make sure your pet dog is on a lead and under control in public. If possible, move yourself and your pet away from the Guide or Assistance Dog.
  4. Never feed a Guide or Assistance Dog.
  5. Never pat a Guide or Assistance Dog.
  6. Never distract a Guide or Assistance Dog, with food, noises, talking to it, approaching or patting it.

Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs and those in training are easy to recognise:

  • An orange “puppy-in-training” coat indicates that the Puppy in training is learning how to behave in a range of environments.
  • A dog wearing a brown harness is a Guide Dog in training.
  • A dog in a white harness with a high-vis flash is a Guide Dog working with their owner.
  • An Autism Assistance Dog wears an orange jacket with text on it to identify it as an Autism Assistance Dog.
Montage of Guide and Assistance Dogs with different types of harness

Downloadable Resources

Please download our Guide Dog Etiquette poster here.

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