Editors Note: I admit this is a serious issue but dog attacks from uncontrolled dogs or dogs not on a leash are much worse based on my personal experience. Just be respectful of the blind person, talk to them rather than their dog and always ask the handler / owner for permission before you approach their dog.
Guide dog handlers are urging the public to resist the temptation to pat the working animals regardless of how cute they are.
The message will be the theme of International Guide Dog Day tomorrow.
Anytime … someone pats him, he won’t focus on what he’s supposed to be doing and that can be quite dangerous.
Most people know they are not supposed to touch a working guide dog in a harness, but what many do not realise is that a well-intentioned pat can undo months of training.
Frequent distractions can cause anxiety or serious injury for guide dogs and their handlers.
A recent survey by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT found 89 per cent of handlers reported that their dog had been distracted by members of the public in the past 12 months.
“If people in the street are stopping and talking to a guide dog, or patting and feeding it, all of a sudden the dog starts looking for attention from other people walking down the street,” Guide Dogs chief executive Graeme White said.
“It can lose concentration while walking and if you’re crossing a road or walking up and down stairs or escalators it can actually be quite dangerous.”
A pat can ‘throw off an entire day’
Musician Matt McLaren has been paired up with guide dog Stamford for eight years.
“Anytime that he’s working and someone pats him, he won’t focus on what he’s supposed to…