Dog Attacks

The Seeing Eye has been matching people who are blind with Seeing Eye® dogs since 1929, and we are fully committed to the success and safety of every team we create. That is why we continue to raise awareness about a troubling but important topic—interference from other dogs and people. The significance of this threat for guide dog teams must not be underestimated. Even if injury does not result, unprovoked attacks and harassment on a guide dog team can compromise the ability of some guide dogs to continue working safely and effectively and force them to retire prematurely. These incidents can also make it difficult for blind handlers to go about their daily lives without the fear of subsequent attacks and interference with their dogs’ work.

2019 Guide Dog Work Interference Survey

Even though most states now have some type of legislation imposing penalties for harming and interfering with guide dog teams, The Seeing Eye has observed that the problem still persists. In an effort to update our data and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the types of interference guide dog teams are facing while working their dogs over the past 5 years, we conducted a survey of our graduates in October of 2019. A peer-reviewed paper discussing the full findings of the survey was published in The Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness in November of 2022. Following is the abstract of the article, for the accepted version of the article, follow this link.

  • Introduction: One of the greatest challenges guide dog handlers face after completing training is interference with their dogs’ work, both from people and other dogs. The Seeing Eye surveyed its active guide dog handlers to gain a better understanding of the types and severity of interference they were currently experiencing, and to develop strategies to better equip handlers to deal with that interference.
  • Methods: For one month (October 2019), an online survey was made available to the 1,761 active Seeing Eye handlers concerning the public interference they had experienced while working their dogs within the past five years. The survey questions were designed to elicit information about the types, frequency, and severity of interference handlers experience both from people and other dogs, as well as the settings in which the interference took place. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.
  • Results: Eighty-nine percent of handlers had experienced people interfering with the work of their dogs at least occasionally by talking to them or making eye contact, and 78% had experienced interference from other dogs regularly. Interference from other dogs was usually non-aggressive, but 36% reported other dogs making aggressive physical contact with their dogs. Interference of all types mostly occurred in public places.
  • Discussion: A robust, multifaceted public awareness campaign will be necessary to address the persistent problem of interference with guide dog teams.
  • Implications For Practitioners: Many factors influence a person’s decision about whether to work with a guide dog. This study provides practitioners with a more realistic picture of the challenges handlers are likely to face in their encounters with the public. Practitioners and guide dog schools can use the information in the study to better equip and support guide dog handlers to proactively engage the public and manage interference when it does occur.

2011 Dog Attack & Interference Survey - United States Report:

The 2019 survey would not have been possible without the baseline study The Seeing Eye conducted in 2011 of guide dog handlers in North America to collect data on the frequency, circumstances and effects of attacks and interference by aggressive dogs. The purpose of the study was to confirm anecdotal information indicating that guide dog teams experience a high frequency of attacks and interference, identify possible interventions to help reduce their frequency, and to establish baseline data to assist with future studies. At this time, The Seeing Eye learned that interference from aggressive dogs is a problem that a majority of guide dog handlers have faced.

Use the links below to download a basic text file, PDF or Microsoft Word Document of the report.

When considered together, these two surveys shows us that interference with guide dog teams is still a very serious problem that we need to work as a community to address. The Seeing Eye would like to express its deepest gratitude to all who have participated in our surveys and supported us in our efforts to better understand the gravity of this problem. The Seeing Eye works extensively with graduates, state legislators, national consumer groups, other guide dog schools, law enforcement agencies, and animal-related organizations to raise awareness and help address this ongoing issue. We cannot do it alone. We need your help to spread the word. Find some great resources to help educate the public about these issues at:

Read more about the following related topics:

For more information, contact The Seeing Eye Advocacy Specialist toll-free at (800) 539-4425 or email