Proper Guide Dog Etiquette

This was a list started by Lorraine in the comments section, and I thought it would be nice to pass on, and add to. By the way, I just realized why I plan to never be rich. With my allergy related ashtma from all of Nash’s sheddings, I am now vaccuming my apartment at least twice a week, as it is nice to be able to breathe. I live in an alcove studio apartment, not too tiny, but not very big. If I was rich, I would live in a much bigger apartment, and that would be more to vaccum, and  I know what you’re thinking, well, if you were rich you could just have a maid. Well, I like doing things for myself, and the whole maid theory would have shot the not being rich idea down, so ok, I would like to be rich, and just get a maid.

Original List courtesy of Lorraine.

There are basically four types of people:
1) Those who say from a short distance things like, “Oh, what a cute puppy, but I know I’m not supposed to pet him while he’s working.” Clearly making a bid to be invited to pet him which sometimes I allow as a good training exercise and other times say thank you for understanding.

My response to these people, if femaile is, “are you hot and single?” or “you can pet him, but you have to pet me first!” I also would place in this category, the person who says, “I know he is working, and I am not supposed to pet him, but I just can’t help myself,” and then proceed to pet him anyway. This is quite annoying, as these people know better, but have no self control, and are probably the same people who eat chocolate at all hours of the day, so in the future, I will assume they are single, but not hot as they probably are suffering from too much chocolate intake! Don’t worry, I am not being sexest, as the men do this too, but they get a firm, “I’m sorry, thanks for asking,  but he is working,” from me.

2) The responsible adult with or without children who take time to explain about working dogs and proper etiquitte. For this I usually reward them by thanking them for instructing their children, explaining that they can pet the dog if they ask, and allow them to do so.

My favortie kinds of people, the people ni the know. I actually like when the parent tells the kid that the dog is a working dog, and you cannot pet the wroking dog. I prefer when they explain it this way, as it saves me having to tell someone, no. If they do take the time to explain to the kid, and I am still around, or it is an adult who just politely asks, “Is it ok to pet your dog?” I of course, first ask if it is a woman, “are you hot?” No, seriously, I just politely tell these people, “thank you for asking, but I am sorry, he is working.” Sometimes, I will even get someone who says, “Well, he is just sitting there.” Which I respond, “for him, sitting there calmly is work.” I try and make sure that I do this in a calm polite way, but that is not always possible.

3) The ‘charger’ who walks straight up to the dog, sometimes kneeling down and grabbing their head scratching behind their ears and asking for kisses.

My response to these people is a Jackie Chan kick to the head without even being asked if they are hot. Okay, so I would let Jessica Biel get away with this. Unfortuantely, I would never even know if it was Jessica Biel, so Jessica if I have given you a Jackie Chan kick to the head, I apologize, do I still have a chance? I don’t even notice these people until it is too late, and with Nash being so friednly, I think these people really hurt his obedience training, and cause Nash to occassionally go looking for attention. These people do amaze me, as even before I went blind, I would never go and pet a strange dog. These are probably the same people who sue Starbucks for burning their tongue because their coffee is too hot. They would also probably go up to the dog, get him all riled up, get bitten, and then sure you.

4) The ‘stealth swipper’ who just casually croutches down and runs their hand along the dogs back or gives their butt a little scrutch while walking by or when behind you in a line or on a crowded street or in an elevator, etc.

These people are very frustrating to a blind guy, as I am sure it happens often, but again, I do not notice it, and unfortunately, it causes Nash to lose focus when we are working, and he probably gets a leash correction for it, through no fault of his own. So, if you are one of these people, even if you are hot, please stop reading the blog, go to the mirror in your bathroom, and slap yourslef in the face over and over to get some smarts!

Oh wait…there’s a fifth type, those who just plain don’t care and think it’s funny to try to distract your dog. This happened to Nash and me once in our local mall. We were being followed by 3 teenage boys – the dumbest of all human beings – who clearly thought I was blind, it happens sometimes which I don’t get because there’s no harness, and were actively trying to distract Nash with non-verbal behaviors such as crowding him and making annimated gestures. Like I said, not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I wanted so badly to spin around and yell, “Hey! Leave my dog alone!” which would have freaked them out because they thought I didn’t see any of what they were doing. But being the responsible raiser that I am, I took the high road – something I have been know not to do 😦 – and just walked Nash on figuring it was a good distraction training exercise for him. He did great by the way.
So there’s MY list. Only five items I know, but it’s a list. I feel like one of the boys now :).

What kind of a response can you have to the Michael Vick’s of the world? I don’t know if it is in the upbrining natural cruelty, or just plain stupidity that would cause people to try and purposedly distract a guide dog or a regular dog. It’s just plain cruel, not matter how hot they are. I wouldn’t even let Jessica Biel slide on this one, but I am sure she would never fall into this category.

One category that I would like to add, is “the people who get it.” The great puppy raisers, trainers, and every day regular people that treat you normal, and they talk to you, sometimes even not paying attention to the dog. I don’t look at this as being cruel or insensitive to the dog, they are just treating you like a normal person who just happens to be blind and have a guide dog. Always nice to be treated like a regular person, but don’t get me wrong, people being nice to me because of Nash is also appreciative, just don’t touch him when we are working.

6 Responses to “Proper Guide Dog Etiquette”

  1. Barbara Fischler Says:

    Brian–what category would you put the person who grabbed Nash’s collar and starting guiding the two of you across the street????

  2. blindgator Says:

    Ok, so I left out a category, stupid attempted helpfullness. Actually, it wasn’t across the street, it was in the bank, and they didn’t grab his collar, they grabbed the handle of his harness.

  3. Barbara Fischler Says:

    stupid attempted helpfulness…..definitely a good name for a category

  4. Lorraine Says:

    How about “When good intentions go bad?”

  5. blindgator Says:

    Yes, both excellent names for a category, and will have a new category to add os soon as I get a chance to write about today, as it has been super busy, and have not gotten a chance to blog yet.

  6. Michelle and Troy Says:

    Hey, don’t worry, I was sitting in church last year one time, and I was told I was sitting near someone else’s guide dog, so then I just lay my guide dog down in front of me as usual. This person grabbed at his harness and tried to drag him to my left as though Troy was a rag doll while she mumbled something along the lones of, “he’ll get excited!” What a rude lady! If she had a child in a stroller, she’d be the first to complain if I tried to drag the stroller out of the way while making some excuse such as they keep crying too much or the child is in the way or something. The next time someone does that I’m not going to be polite. I’m going to say in almost monotone but slightly angered voice for emphasis, “Excuse me, stop dragging my dog around! And let go of his harness and leave him alone! Thank you!” lol I wonder what reaction I’d get!

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