April 24 is #InternationalGuideDogDay!
Today we celebrate our furry friends that help people who are blind or partially sighted live their lives fully and independently, as well as the hardworking individuals who dedicate their time to raise, train and match guide dogs with their handlers.
Guide dogs are specially trained to help their handler avoid obstacles, access public transportation, cross roads safely, and perform other tasks.
If you come across a guide dog – or a guide dog in training – we’ve provided some best practices for guide dog etiquette:
- Harness on means hands off. A guide dog in harness means “I’m working.” Petting can take the guide dog’s focus off its partner and the potential for injury increases. If the dog is not working, the guide dog handler may decide to remove the harness and let you pet the guide dog. Always ask first.
- Don't feed them. Offering food to the dog can result in disruptive behaviours like begging for food and scavenging off the ground.
- Contain your excitement. Don't encourage excitable play with a guide dog or guide dog in training. Staying calm is part of their job.
- Say "hello" another time. If you're walking your pet and you approach a guide dog team, keep your dog away to avoid a distraction for the guide dog and possible harm to the guide dog handler. Of course, it’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash.