We're discovering a new set of social rules when we're out in public with Icon. I'm honestly surprised by how many people want to interact with him. Granted, he's a well-behaved and good-looking dog, but I wouldn't have thought that would be such an attraction to the general public.
Sometimes, Icon is working and I'm with Alex, so we can't stop to interact with people or go through the protocol to let people greet Icon.
Sometimes I'm on my own with Icon and then I make an effort to be a good ambassador for National Service Dogs.
And sometimes things get awkward.
Lots of people do "drive by" pettings where they pet Icon as they walk past, even when he's in vest. It's incredibly frustrating as it distracts Icon but there's not much I can do. I've noticed that we get fewer when Alex is tethered to Icon and holding the handle, but that may be because they don't want to get close to Alex's flailing limbs.
People who ask to pet and then don't stop are the other challenge. If we're sitting and waiting somewhere, then sometimes people with ask to pet Icon and then sit there and continue to pet him until one of us is called away. I'll have to come up with a strategy for that but thus far, it's caught me by surprise.
Icon's doing pretty well with the distractions, but I still worry about it and it's not the ideal circumstance. He's also getting a lot better about greeting people at home.
All part of the learning curve, I suppose.
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