​​Why can’t you pet a service dog?

When you see a dog leading a blind man on the street and you want to pet his dog. Do you know why this should be avoided? Why can’t you pet a service dog? to answer these questions this post will talk about service dogs.

Why can’t you pet a service dog’?

You should not interact with a service dog. Because service dogs are trained for work, any form of interaction with the dog can cause him to lose focus and attention on his work. Thus, it can cause accidents that can injure the animal and even its guardian.

If you need to talk to the dog’s guardian, do it on the right side, leaving the left side free for the dog on duty. Never feed these dogs, only their guardian can feed the service dog. And finally, do not do anything with the dog without first asking its guardian’s permission.

Even if the dog calls your attention a lot for its beauty and cuteness, you must reserve this desire to give affection to these animals that are on duty. If you deem necessary to pet the dog, the guardian must be requested, and if he authorizes you can do it. But remember this behavior should not be encouraged. 

What is a service dog?

A service dog is a dog that accompanies people with disabilities to help these people in their day-to-day activities. Thus, avoiding accidents in addition to filling these tutors with love, affection, and companionship. The service most developed by the dogs are:

  • Guide dog: Helps people with visual impairments, informing them of obstacles and avoiding accidents.
  • Hearing Dog: helps people with a hearing impairment or disability;
  • Alert Dog: Alerts people to common conditions, e.g. people with seizure or diabetes;
  • Help dog: helps people with organic or motor disabilities, looking for objects, opening doors, among other tasks;
  • Emotional Help Dog: These are dogs that help people with psychological and/or psychiatric problems.

Teaching dogs to work as a service dog involves training a dog with a complex set of skills to access public roads, thus preparing the animals for the challenges that will be encountered on the streets.

In addition, dogs are trained to be docile, obedient and to identify and communicate situations that can lead to damage to the health of the person who has some degree of disability. So, these dogs are prepared to help a person with a disability.

The main tasks taught to dogs involve training the animal to control impulses, ignoring anything that can stress or hinder the dog from performing its activities in addition to training to make the dog always alert and patient with its owner.

Where can I find service dogs?

These dogs can be found in organizations that can be located on the internet. These organizations are responsible for breeding, training, and marketing these dogs. There is usually a waiting list to buy a puppy. These lists are often long.

The delay in getting a dog trained causes many breeders to buy a puppy and train it at home with the help of a canine behavior specialist. It is worth remembering that not all breeds learned the commands and became good service dogs.

The most common breeds to be used as service dogs

Several breeds are used as service dogs. To be a service dog, the animal must have a balanced temperament in addition to being very sociable and easy to learn.


The most common breeds for service dogs are:

  • Labrador retriever;
  • Golden retriever;
  • Poodle;
  • Cocker Spaniel;
  • Cavalier King Charles;
  • Shetland Shepherd Dog;
  • Corgi;
  • Australian Shepherd;
  • German Shepherd.

Some mixed breeds can also be used when well trained. But before giving the animals the title of service dog, they undergo several evaluations that aim to test their intelligence, behavior, and socialization with the tutors.


Service dogs are animals that are always at work and therefore cannot be distracted by affection and by other people on the street. If it is necessary to approach these dogs, their guardian must be informed so that accidents can be avoided that can result in damage to both the dog and its guardian.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ​​Why can’t you pet a service dog?

What breed of dog guides blind people?

The most common dogs to be used as guide dogs are:

  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • German Shepherd

Labrador retriever dogs are the most used breed for this type of work. Due to his intelligence and affectionate and friendly demeanor.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

A dog can be trained in a period of 2 to 3 years. Since, after this period, the pet also needs to go through an adaptation phase with the person with a disability in which the dog will help.

When should I retire my service dog?

In general, the working time of a service dog is 8 years. After that he retires and can stay with his guardian or be adopted by a family he has lived with before.


Badalo, C. A. D. A. (2014). O papel do cão-guia como facilitador da inclusão da pessoa cega na sociedade: mobilidade, segurança, interação social e qualidade de vida(Doctoral dissertation).

Martin, A. G., & Marta, T. N. (2010). O dever estatal de garantir o treinamento de cães-guia. Revista Brasileira de Direitos Fundamentais & Justiça, 4(13), 249-278.

Pictures from Flirckl.com and commons.wikimedia.org