Assistance Dogs - Behaviour Guide

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How to behave around Assistance Dogs...

There are over 7,000 disabled individuals in the UK* who rely on assistance dogs to help with simple everyday task in addition to providing emotional support and giving each individual greater confidence, assistance dogs are life savers. They really do change lives.

Each assistance dog is trained to help various disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and those with mobility issues. Key areas, such as medical detection, support, and guidance comprise much of the assistance dogs’ training.

Do you know how to behave around assistance dogs? If you’re unsure, it pays to look at Co-op’s dos and don’ts for approaching assistance dogs. Some top tips are listed below:

1. Make an effort to speak to the handler before approaching the dog, as the handler knows them best.

2. Avoid petting the assistance dog, unless given permission by the handler; their job is to look after their owner without any distractions.
3. Don’t offer food to an assistance dog as this could distract them or make them ill.
4. Keep your pets away to avoid any potential altercations between canines.
5. If you think the assistance dog handler needs help, ask before helping as they could get confused.

For more information about how to behave around assistance dogs see Co-op Insurance’s Assistance Dogs infographic.

You can see the full guide to understanding assistance dogs over on the Co-op Insurance Hub.

*Data taken from
Posted on 25th September 2017


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