Skip to main content

K9 Buddy Curriculum: The General Public

In general, having a dog increases the likelihood of interactions with the public. Many of those interactions will not be initiated by you. If your dog is wearing their K9 Buddy scarf, you are acting as an ambassador of GDB and you’ll need to be prepared to manage exchanges with the public in the most productive and effective manner possible. Your communication style will influence the way the public reacts to you and others within GDB’s community of clients.

Your Responsibilities

  • You need to pick up after your dog.
  • You must respect rules and policies as relates to where pet dogs are allowed. You should not ask for an exception or permission to enter a location that is not pet-dog friendly. We want to support our community and reinforce laws about fraudulent service dogs.
  • Because people are curious about our dogs and programs, you will be in a position to educate. We recommend having your dog sit when you stop to talk. If you allow people to pet your dog, have your dog sit first and maintain good control. If you do not want them to pet your dog, be polite when letting them know your choice. When eduating the public about the K9 Buddy program, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the difference between a guide/service dog with access rights and the role of K9 Buddy companion dog as a pet.
  • You should keep your dog clean and well groomed.
  • You are responsible for managing your dog’s behavior.

Public Places
A K9 Buddy is not a service dog and does not have access to all public places, as a guide dog would. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extends only to service animals who have been trained to perform a specific task to mitigate an individual’s disability. As part of the K9 Buddy contract, you agree not to pursue training for your K9 Buddy dog to receive certification as any type of support or service animal. The K9 Buddy scarf acts solely as an identifier that the dog is part of the Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) community and should never be used to attempt to gain access to public places. Similarly, do not add any type of vest or jacket to your dog to imply they are a working animal. Failure to comply with these guidelines is both unlawful and a violation of the K9 Buddy contract.

Your K9 Buddy dog is welcome to join you at any pet-friendly public places. These locations may include some restaurants/cafes that have outdoor seating and businesses that specifically advertise they allow pet dogs indoors (pet stores, some locations of hardware stores like Home Depot/Lowes). It is always advisable to call ahead and ask about a business’s pet dog policy, as even chains that may be historically dog friendly may have varying guidelines by location.

If you choose to have your K9 Buddy accompany you in a public area, they should be fairly unobtrusive and a good representative of GDB. In addition to the K9 Buddy scarf, it is advised to have your dog wear their gentle leader. Manage your dog so they do not sniff, engage with other dogs inappropriately, or disturb others. When you need to use both hands to conduct business, it works well to have your dog sit. Realize that others may not want to interact with your dog and don’t assume that they are welcome in other people’s spaces.

A business may exclude any animal from a facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

There are also places where your K9 Buddy may be allowed, but may not be practical or pleasant for your dog. Some examples include firework displays, loud events such as an outdoor concerts at a park, or emotionally charged demonstrations where tempers may be flaring.

Our Support Center is a good source of information and support regarding these subjects.

Download this Resource

Download a large print, rich text file (.rtf) with the information on this page.