What to do When Approached by a Service Dog

It is a common practice to never approach a service dog. They have jobs to do, and they are not there to be ogled and petted. But what do you do when a service dog approaches you? If a service dog is alone, there is a high chance that its owner is in danger.

Pay Attention to the Dog

Most dogs that people have come in contact with want to play, but a service dog has a job – to protect his owner. This is why it is important to pay attention to the service dog; it could be trying to get help for his owner.

Typically, a service dog that is trying to get your attention to help his owner will nudge your leg with its nose. He won’t jump or bark because he is trained not to. Any time a dog that is wearing a vest approaches you and he is not accompanied by a person, you should follow him.

See puppies training to be service dogs here: 

Know What You’re Looking For

When you follow the service dog, you should be aware that you are looking for a person that is in distress. Service dogs help people with many different conditions and illnesses, so it’s important for you to be prepared to deal with a possible life-threatening situation. Have your cell phone ready to call for help in case the situation is dire or more than you can handle.

If you cannot find the owner of the service dog, call 911 immediately. In this situation, it’s recommended that you stay next to the service dog while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, so you can provide them with any information that they may need.

Service Dogs are Lifelines

A service dog that is alone is almost always the result of his owner being in distress or otherwise compromised. Throw the traditional teaching of staying away from service dogs out the window, and always follow a service dog that approaches you because he is most likely looking for help.