Letter: Keep your pet dogs on lead and follow guide dog etiquette

A survey found 80 per cent of guide dogs have been attacked by unleashed dogs, prompting Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to launch the In Your Hands campaign.
A survey found 80 per cent of guide dogs have been attacked by unleashed dogs, prompting Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to launch the In Your Hands campaign.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT recently launched our new ‘In Your Hands’ campaign, aiming to make the community aware that the safety of guide dogs is in the hands of pet owners.

Working guide dogs experience high levels of every day distractions from pet dogs, including attacks – overwhelmingly from off-lead dogs. These distractions can cause guide dog handlers, who are blind or vision impaired to experience anxiety, a loss of confidence, and have their safety and independence compromised.

We’re encouraging pet owners to keep their dogs on-lead when out in public and follow simple guide dog etiquette, to reduce these distractions.

You can help by following these simple steps:

  • Keep your pet dog on a leash and under control when out and about.
  • If you see a loose dog, please alert your local council.
  • If you see a working guide dog in harness, please give it and its handler space.
  • Don't pat, feed or otherwise distract a working guide dog. A well-intentioned pat can undo months of training.
  • When approaching a guide dog team with your dog, please clearly introduce yourself to the person and say you have a dog with you.

By keeping control of your own dog, you can help create a safe community, not just for guide dogs and their handlers, but for everyone.

Dale Cleaver, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT