Lifestyle

Taking the lead in helping guide dogs stay calm

AWARENESS WEEK: Guide Dogs Queensland’s Nerida Hepple and vision-impaired man Graeme Raines with his guide dog, Levi.
AWARENESS WEEK: Guide Dogs Queensland’s Nerida Hepple and vision-impaired man Graeme Raines with his guide dog, Levi. Mike Knott BUNLEV

TERRIFYING. Upsetting. Confusing.

These are the words a Bundaberg vision-impaired man has used to describe what it is like when his guide dog, Levi, has been distracted by pet dogs in the past.

Graeme Raines said he was not surprised by the findings of a Guide Dogs Australia study released today that revealed 71% of attacks on guide dogs were caused by an off-leash dog while 80% said their guide dog had been distracted by an off-leash dog.

"It is really confusing because you are walking along and all of a sudden a dog comes at you," he said.

"And, of course, your guide dog becomes emotional and then loses its concentration.

"This leaves you and your guide dog stressed out and vulnerable."

The national survey of more than 220 blind or vision-impaired guide dog handlers was released to coincide with International Guide Dog Day today and found on average three guide dogs a month were attacked in the past year.

It also found 27% of guide dogs sustained injuries from an attack, with two retired as a result of the trauma.

Guide Dogs Queensland CEO Chris Laine said it was launching a new public education campaign called Take the Lead, calling on the country's dog owners to ensure their pet dogs were always walked on a lead. "We're alarmed that so many guide dogs are being attacked by pet dogs and are appealing to dog owners to keep their pet dogs on leads when out and about," he said.

"Guide dogs play a vital role in enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to get around independently. Attacks compromise this independence and can cause serious injury and trauma to both the handler and the guide dog.

"In rare serious cases, attacks can result in premature retirement of a guide dog, which costs more than $30,000 to train."

Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said residents were responsible for their dogs' behaviour.

"It is the responsibility of the person walking the dog to always keep it under control while in public places," he said.

Topics:  guide dogs guide dogs australia pets



'I blew it' says driver more than four times over limit

OVER AND OUT: Billie Troop blew 0.239 - more than four times the legal limit.

Drink driver in court for first time

UPDATE: Fire under control despite strong wind

FIRE FIGHT: Multiple fire crews are at Raines Rd where grass fires have broken out.

Local farmers and firies battling blaze

New restaurant opening in place of C5 at Bargara

FRIENDLY FACES: Silke Kuhn and Katrin Cichon are opening their new restaurant, At Friends, in the former C5 space at Bargara.

German friends team up for new eatery

Local Partners

Teen left in wheelchair after Gardasil HPV vaccine 'reaction'

"I WENT to stand up and that was when I realised, I couldn't ... I was scared and I was losing hope".

'Refreshing': New Ipswich beer flowing ahead of hot weekend

The new lime beer available at Pumpyard Bar and Brewery.

Ipswich brewery whips up Lime Lager in time for scorcher weekend

What happened when I went bra-free for a week

Author Charlotte Willis, catching the wind.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of going without a bra

Millennial men prefer smaller breasts, says Pornhub data

 “Back in our day, we were grateful for anything above a B-cup goddamnit.”

Do you know what else Millennials have killed? They've killed boobs

WATCH: Shocking video every parent needs to see

Zander and Levi Cunningham show how easy it is to get into their pool area.

Young Mackay brothers beat backyard pool fence

Woman outraged by dog in cage on top of car

THE RIGHT THING TO DO? A dog was spotted in a crate secured to the roof of a car travelling between Maryborough and Gin Gin on the weekend.

The pet owner's actions were not illegal

COMPARISION TEST: Mazda2 v Toyota Yaris v Suzuki Swift

We put the Suzuki Swift, Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris to the test.

Joshua Dowling tests three small cars to find the best performer.