Dog theft

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Losing your four-legged companion to dog theft is always a worry — whether you are a guide dog owner, a volunteer for Guide Dogs, or a pet owner. Here are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself and your dog.

  • We all love dog pictures, but avoid putting photos of your dog on social media, especially with clues about where you live. It’s safer to share your pictures in trusted closed groups.
  • Make sure your garden is secure, your gate is locked and has bells on it so you know when someone's coming in. It’s better to never leave your dog unsupervised in the garden. 
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a public place or left alone in a car for opportunist dog thieves.
  • Work hard on getting a reliable recall, practise it often, and have this in place before letting your dog or new puppy off the lead, so you can keep him or her close and away from strangers. This is a critical skill we teach all of our guide dog puppies from a young age, using positive reinforcement training. Take plenty of tasty treats on walks!
  • Make sure your dog is microchipped and that their microchip information is up to date with your contact details. The same goes for your dog’s collar tag.
  • Don’t have a collar ID tag with your dog’s name on it. Using your dog’s name will make it easier for a stranger to befriend your dog.
  • Be wary of people asking for information about your dog, particularly if you're alone or somewhere secluded. You don’t have to share any details about your dog if you're uncomfortable.

Try not to worry!

The risk of your dog being stolen is very low, even when there is an increase in the number of dog thefts due to higher value and demand. In 2020-2021, hundreds of dogs were reported stolen, but the number of dog-owning households stands at around 11 million.