The History of the Service Dog, Part V — Etiquette with Working Dogs

In celebration of International Assistance Dog Week, NEADS guest blogger Michele Fournier takes us on a journey through the history of service dogs. Come back each day this week to learn more about the history of working canines!

Wendy Foster and Tippy 026

Wendy Foster and Service Dog Tippy, Andy Kingsley and Service Dog Richie

It is vital to educate the public about the service dog. Many people still do not know that when they see a dog with a vest indicating their role as “working” that they should not approach the dog to pat or greet the dog without first greeting the owner and asking if the dog is working. Unfortunately, many members of the general public have never “met” a service dog and do not know the etiquette involved and the “awwww” response kicks in.  This is when someone sees a dog out in public—at the mall or in a restaurant, and they say, “awww, what a beautiful dog!” and the person immediately reaches out to touch the dog. It’s almost instinct, and I doubt that the person is deliberately trying to be disrespectful of the dog or their work; but as the service dog becomes more and more a part of the fabric of our lives in America, we must teach children (and adults) the proper way to greet a service dog and their owner. Now that there are so many different types of service dogs—classroom dogs, social dogs, ministry dogs, therapy dogs, and assistance dogs; we pay tribute to those who came before and NEADS is thrilled to be a leader in the industry.

For more information:
Burke, Alex. “The History of Service Dogs.”

Cohen, Jennie. “Assistance Dogs: Learning New Tricks for Centuries.”  August 8, 2011

Lobell, Jarrett A. & Powell, Eric.  “More than Man’s Best Friend. “ Archeological Institute of America. Vol 63, No 5 Sept/Oct 2010.

“Service Dogs Through History—Work, Friendship, and Loyalty.”

Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. “The Creation of the American Dog.” Yale University Press: 1997.

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