How NOT to greet a service dog.

Most people with service dogs have had to deal with the question of people wanting to pet their animal. While kindly intended, many service dogs find these attentions disturbing and distracting. Since our dogs are working, most of us regretfully have to answer, “No,” when someone asks to pet the dog. Periodically, however, when the time is just right or the dog is off command or we’re just strolling about enjoying the day, it is our pleasure to let you enjoy the love of our trusty four-legged friend.

BUT . . .

when we do allow folks to pet our service dogs, we are often astonished by their behavior. Both adults and children actually bang the dog on the head as if this feels good! Others do worse. Almost anyone with a dog can relate to this, not just those with service dogs.

So, we thought it might be useful to post some information about the proper way to meet and pet a dog. The folks at made a lovely infographic which explains (much better than we could!) the dos and don’ts for greeting a dog. (If you’re a teacher, consider going to to download and post this in your class.)

Greeting a Dog

Credit: With appreciation to

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