I used to work at a movie theater, and occasionally people would bring in their service animals. The dogs were usually identified in some way, either by a vest, leash, or tag. We were required to ask if it was a service animal, and if the person said yes, we had to let them in. Of course, I’ve never gotten any complaints about it, and I loved seeing the dogs that were brought in!
However, smiling at a dog/looking at it is one thing, but touching them is a different matter. Yes, it is tempting to touch/pet any dog that you see, but it’s important to remember that service dogs are TRAINED and they are currently at their job. How would you like it if you were working and someone came up to you and randomly touched you without asking? Plus, it may distract them from actually assisting their human. For a list of tips on how to behave around service animals, check out this post by Felissa Elfenbein at Two Little Cavaliers:
-Allow them to concentrate on their human.
-Some handlers allow you to pet their dog, but ALWAYS ask first- never get mad if they say no.
-Never give the dog food.
-If you have kids with you, do not allow them to approach/pet the dog either.
-Don’t ask the handler what they need the dog for.
Photo Credit: Calsidyrose