What to do if a guide dog without an owner approaches you


2 min read

When a guide dog – service dog – approaches you and is alone, he can ask for help. Most people know some rules about guide dogs: do not approach or pet a guide dog on duty and note that these dogs are allowed to be in specific locations, such as grocery stores, for example.

guide dog


However, most people do not know what to do when a guide dog with his bib comes up and is alone without his owner.

“If a service dog – alone – approaches you , it means that his owner needs help.” “Do not worry, do not get upset, just follow the dog!

Story of Tessa Connaughton and Raider

Tessa Connaughton Raider


A 20-year-old California woman shared an important message about what people should do if approached by a service dog without her owner. Tessa Connaughton, with autism and epilepsy, tells BuzzFeed that her dog Raider is trained to seek help if she has a seizure. Connaughton recently stumbled and Raider ran thinking she needed help. Once Connaughton found herself, she went in search of Raider and found him trying to catch the attention of a visibly angry and annoyed woman who was trying to get the dog away from her.

At that moment, Connaughton was embarrassed and quickly found herself with Raider, but later realized that some people might not know what to do when a service dog approached them.

Tessa Connaughton Raider


“What if I had a crisis?” she wondered. Therefore, she wrote in a now viral Tumblr and Twitter article:

“Do not be scared, do not get upset, follow the dog! If it had been an emergency, I could have fainted and choked, I could have bumped my head, I could have so many things. We will update Raider’s training, so that if the first person does not cooperate, he passes to another … you will understand that a dog wearing a jacket that proclaims him as a guide dog wants you to follow him.

To note:

If a service dog approaches you without its owner, it does not try to annoy you or to attach affection to you. It is looking for help.

Once you have found the owner of the dog, you can try to identify the situation. If the person is conscious, she may be able to tell you what she needs. If you are trained in this, you can try to help them, or you can simply call the police or an ambulance.

Not all service dogs are trained to find help and take you back to their owners. If you are unable to locate the person, you should always call the police to let them know where you have been approached by a service dog without an owner.

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