BVA Guide Dogs Code of Conduct
- Pick up after your dog. Leaving waste behind from your dog is irresponsible and unfair to other teams who will encounter it.
- Keep your dog on leash and with you at all times when in public places. It is not acceptable to leave your dog under a table while you wander off to do something else. Remember, your dog is not at home and is not going to react in the same way it does when it is calm and relaxed.
- Ensure your dog is not a tripping hazard and is either tucked in at your side, under your chair or under a table when attending meetings. When standing in a group setting such as a crowded reception, please take care to hold your dog close to you by shortening the leash and holding it closer to your dog’s neck. If your dog lies down in this situation, ensure that it is tucked in and is not a tripping hazard.
- If your dog is stressed out by the conference setting, kindly remove your dog from the setting and try to resolve the issue; if the issue cannot be resolved and the dog becomes a disturbance, you will be asked to either: 1) remove your dog and return without it, or 2) leave the proceedings.
- Never feed your dog in public places; this is distracting to other working dogs.
- Remember to give your dog extra relieving opportunities; you are not at home and the dog is under more stress and may require additional chances in the relieving area.
- Know your dog; if it cannot be left alone, do not leave it in your hotel room. If your dog creates any damage to the premises, you will be responsible. Further, barking due to separation anxiety is not acceptable in a hotel or public lodging facility. Keep other guests in mind as you decide whether or not your dog can be left on its own.
- Try to establish a play area for your conference. This might be a room devoid of chairs and tables where, once dogs have relieved, they can run and frolic. Never use public hallways for this purpose.
- If your dog is bothered by another more aggressive dog, calmly talk with the other handler and try to arrange not to sit near each other. If this does not work or cannot be resolved, talk with the conference coordinator in charge of guide dog-related issues to request intervention.
- Everyone works their dog differently; kindly refrain from making judgments about fellow conferees and how they work with their dogs. No two teams are alike; show other teams the respect you want shown to you in return.
- We, and our guide dogs, shall be appropriate and comply with BVA policy; all local, state, and federal laws, regulations, rules, and animal ordinances at all times.
At the end of the day if all conferees follow these eleven easy steps, the dogs will be calmer and happier as they attempt to guide us around a facility we hardly know. Remember, conventions are stressful for our guides. Help them succeed and have their own jolly good time.
Adopted by BVA Guide Dog Handlers – July 2015
W. Rae Hail
W. Rae Hail