Service Dog Etiquette

For Community Members

  • Talk to the person, not the dog
  • Respect privacy by not asking about the individual’s disability or to see identification
  • Don’t disturb the service dog by talking, calling, petting or offering food to the dog
  • Teach children that service dogs are working and can’t be petted
  • Don’t make judgments that the dog may be a “fake service dog” based on appearance
  • Learn which questions to ask if you are a business owner or employee (see below)
  • Don’t separate the service dog from its handler if there is a medical or other emergency
Border Collie with a service dog vest lying next to a person who is seated at a bench in a mall

For Business Owners and Employees

  • You must permit individuals with disabilities using a service animal into all areas that the general public is allowed
  • You may NOT ask for documentation or a demonstration of the service animal’s trained work
  • Only (2) questions may be asked, when it is not obvious what service an animal provides
    • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
    • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  • You may ask that a service animal be removed if it is out of control or not housebroken 
  • You must offer goods and services without the service dog’s presence when there is a legitimate reason that the animal is removed
  • For more information, see U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Service Animals

For Service Dog Handlers

  • Label your service dog if its work as a service dog is not obvious (identifying vest, scarf, collar, leash, etc.)
  • Respond to permissible questions
  • Remove your service dog from the public accommodation if there is an issue with control or accidental elimination
  • Have emergency information readily available
  • Utilize a third party if conflicts arise

Continue to About Service Dogs—–Service Dog Myths—–Service Dog Access Resources