Why do people with service dogs ask people to stop petting their animals, even if they’re just sitting still and the dog isn’t working at the moment?
It’s because service dogs are always working, even when they’re just lying at their person’s feet. Consider that some of them can sense when their human companion is about to have a panic attack, which prompts them to provide tactile stimulation. Others know to react if someone is experiencing dangerously low blood sugar.
In other words, service dogs are not there just to make life a little easier or lead people without sight across the street. They literally save lives as well as restore emotional equilibrium for people with a diagnosed mental health issue, and they’re on the clock the entire time they’re outside.
Thus, if you interfere by trying to pet a service dog, it can distract her from taking care of her human.