Guidelines for interacting with guide dogs

This content has been migrated from the Ministry of Health. It is in the process of being updated by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.

Blind Low Vision NZ external URL  is an organisation that provides support to people who are blind or have low vision. The material that appears here was originally produced by Blind Low Vision NZ, and is reproduced with their kind permission.

Please do not interact with a guide dog unless the dogs’ handler gives permission.

When settling a guide dog into a new environment, no interaction is advisable for the first couple of weeks. Once the dog has settled in, the handler may start to allow limited interaction, dependent on the dogs’ behaviour.

No interaction includes:

  • avoid eye contact with the dog
  • don’t talk to the dog
  • don’t feed the dog.

If the dog attempts to interact with you, please ignore it, move away if necessary, or turn your back on the dog.

These guidelines are for the safety of the guide dog handler. If a guide dog gets distracted or excited by people then it can be a safety risk and may have to be withdrawn from guiding work.

If the handler does give permission for you to interact with the guide dog, please ensure you maintain a calm voice and gentle handling. The aim is not to excite the dog too much in a workplace or public place. Guide dogs get plenty of time to play and have fun when off duty. But when in a workplace we must ensure appropriate behaviour is maintained.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Blind Foundation Guide Dogs (09 269 0400) or talk to the guide dog handler directly.