A staff writer for the Oregonian has cleared up some myths and misconceptions about service dogs in a recent column, and explained some of the needs of service dogs and their handlers. It includes advice for people and businesses interacting with service dogs and their handlers. Read her column here.
For more about Oregon law when it comes to service animals, read our guide to service and assistance animals in Oregon.
Some excerpts from the column:
Myth: Service dog handlers are required to dress their dogs in vests, harnesses or other equipment.
Reality: Some service dogs don’t even wear leashes.
There are a few reasons why most service dog handlers choose to dress their dogs in vests and other gear: It can decrease the number of questions handlers receive. And in some cases, the vest signals to the service dog when they are working and when they are off duty.
Myth: Talking to a service dog isn’t distracting.
Reality: Talking to, especially repeatedly gushing at, a service dog can be just as distracting as petting can in some situations. It’s best to talk to the handler rather than the service dog when the dog is on duty.
Myth: Businesses can kick a service dog team out if the dog is acting up.
Reality: This can only be done if the dog is out of control or relieves itself inside a place of business.
Even in this situation, the business has to give the handler the option of coming back the same day without the service dog, and cannot “ban” the team from coming back once the dog is under control again.