Office of Disability Services
Guide Dog 101
- A Guide Dog is a working animal. The guide dog and its owner are a working team. A guide dog remains with its owner and in harness while the guide dog is working.
- Do Not Pet the guide dog when it is working; don’t even ask to pet the guide dog. Petting distracts the dog from its job and the owner could get hurt.
- Do not offer the guide dog food or other distracting treats without the owner’s permission.
- Guide dog owners want dog lovers to know it's not all work and no play for guide dogs. There are certain times when it is okay to pet a guide dog, and those times are when the guide dog is out of harness. At those times, a guide dog is playing and is just an ordinary dog. However, please ask the guide dog owner if it is okay for you to join in before you start playing with the guide dog.
- Guide dog owners do not want people to be afraid of their guide dogs. Guide dogs are well trained and under their owners’ command. Sometimes a guide dog will make a mistake and must be corrected in order to maintain its training. This correction usually involves a verbal admonishment coupled with a leash correction. Guide dog owners have been taught the appropriate correction methods to use with their dogs.
- Guide dogs go where their owners go: inside campus buildings and offices, inside the residence halls and rooms, in classrooms, in public restrooms, and in Thomson Cafeteria, for example. When the student guide dog owner is seated, the guide dog will stay by the student’s side. The guide dog will sit at the student’s feet, next to the student’s chair, or sometimes – if the guide dog can fit – underneath the student’s chair.
- Guide dogs will not interfere with introductions or friendships.
- Guide dog owners are trained to care for their guide dogs: to feed, bathe, and clean up after them. There is a guide dog shower on campus where student guide dog owners can securely bathe their guide dogs.
Please contact the Office of Disability Services at 803/323-3290 if you have questions or concerns about guide dogs at Winthrop University. But remember: don’t pet the guide dog when it is working.