A Mother pushes a pram whilst her husband walks their Guide Dog on a stroll through the park.

Guide Dogs SA/NT has called on dog owners to ‘Take the Lead’ and ensure their pets don’t distract or harass working dogs when out and about.

On International Guide Dog Day, Guide Dogs SA/NT Chief Executive Kate Thiele, has called on dog owners to ensure their dogs are on leads and under control whenever they encounter working Guide Dogs.

Guide Dogs contributed to a national survey exploring the issues of Guide Dog distraction that Guide Dog clients encounter daily.

The three main concerns cited in the South Australian sample group were:

  • Members of the general public patting or distracting a working Guide Dog
  • Off-lead dogs distracting a working Guide Dog
  • Dogs in leads but not being controlled by their owners

Two of the sample group reported another dog had attacked their Guide Dog in the past 12 months (no injuries were sustained to either dog or hander) with another five reporting incidents within the last three years.

Five of these seven incidents were in regional areas, two in outer suburban areas.

A Community Service Announcement has been released today to help tackle the issue of off-lead dogs.

“Guide Dogs play a vital role in enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to get around independently,” Ms Thiele said. “Distraction by people or harassment by pet dogs can really compromise this independence.”

Ms Thiele said that everyone can ‘Take the Lead’ in the following ways:

  • Pet owners can ‘Take the Lead’ by ensuring their dogs are under control on a lead and don’t try and play with or harass our working dogs.
  • The general public can ‘Take the Lead’ and not pat Guide Dogs while they are working, or call out to them – no matter how adorable they look.
  • Shop owners, cafes, public transport drivers can ‘Take the Lead’ to ensure all Guide Dogs have access.