HAPPY HOUNDS: A responsible pet owner shows the correct way to control his animal while passing a guide dog.
HAPPY HOUNDS: A responsible pet owner shows the correct way to control his animal while passing a guide dog. Contributed

Danger for guide dogs and handlers

A NEW client survey by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT reveals one in two handlers reported their dog was attacked by another dog while working.

International Guide Dog Day is held on April 25 - Anzac Day - with a new In Your Hands campaign being rolled out to make pet owners aware of the safety needs around guide dogs.

Guide Dogs chief executive Dale Cleaver said the aim is to encourage pet owners to follow simple etiquette in the name of responsible pet ownership.

"We want to raise awareness of the danger off-lead pet dogs pose to working guide dogs and their handlers,” he said.

Bev Larson knows all too well the danger off-lead dogs can pose to herself and her guide dog Henry.

"We know what it's like to be on the receiving end of aggressive behaviour from another dog,” Bev said.

"It's unsafe for both of us and I've been nipped on the hand.

"One time Henry and I were approached by a barking dog who was on a lead but loose from its owner.

"I was able to grab the lead and keep the dog at bay while shouting for the owner and while they were very apologetic, the situation could have been avoided.

"My main piece of advice to dog owners would be to keep your dog on a lead and under control when out in public.

"If you see a guide dog and handler, give them space and try to not let your dog interact with them.”