Why is it inadvisable to touch guide dogs?

Guide dogs: more than just a companion for blind people

Guide dogs: between play and work

Contrary to popular belief, the guide is not simply a tool for accompanying blind people. They play an essential role in their autonomy. Guide dogs have two modes of operation: play and work.

In the first mode, the guide dog behaves like a normal pet. He can be stroked and played with without any problem. In the second mode, however, he has to concentrate entirely on his work.

It's vital to distinguish between these two roles in order to respect both the blind person and his companion. The autonomy of blind people is a responsibility shared by all.

Wearing a harness: a sign to be respected

When a guide dog is wearing a harness, it's important to curb any urge to touch him, as this means he's working. The harness is often fitted with a sign saying “Don't touch me, I'm working”, so there's no excuse for not respecting this instruction.

There are, however, many other factors that can distract a guide dog from carrying out its duties and disrupt its work, presenting a problem for the blind person.

Distractions to avoid

Passers-by often reach out to touch a guide dog when crossing a crosswalk, particularly because the animal remains motionless. This puts the blind person at risk, as the dog is not 100% attentive to its work. It is therefore essential not to distract the animal in any way.

Similarly, is a major distraction for guide dogs. It is vital not to offer them food, as this can not only cause digestive problems, but also break their concentration.

Respecting the guide dog's space

Letting your dog run free in the vicinity of a guide dog can also be a distraction. Animals tend to play with each other, which can distract the guide dog's attention. So it's best to maintain a distance and keep your dog quiet.

It's also important not to touch the harness holding the guide dog. This interferes with the dog's work and should only be done by a blind person.

Respecting the rights of guide dogs

All guide dogs have the right to free access to all establishments, public places, means of transport and restaurants. Denying entry to these animals not only deprives the blind person of accompaniment, but is also against the law.

Children's responsibility

It's not just up to adults to refrain from interfering with the guide dog's work, but also to . They must also be responsible and respectful towards these animals.

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