Living in a western country where dogs are a common household pet, it's difficult to not come across one when you step out of your house. They're everywhere! I've seen myself do numerous things when I spot a dog, and most of the stuff makes me laugh out loud or sometimes drown in embarassment when I think about it after I'm safely back home. To name a few - trace my steps back to where I began if I see a dog walking towards me; climbing on to children's playground equipment if I see a dog in the area; wait till the neighbour puts the dog on leash or locks them up inside their house before I step outside; do a quick 'dog-check' everytime I leave the house to make sure no dogs (or any other pets for that matter) are wandering around etc. (Ok, so now you're probably thinking I'm crazy and need to get my self checked out.)
I've noticed that some dog owners are somehow aware of Muslims and their phobia with dogs, which is good in a way. Because everytime they see a hijabi around they make sure their dog is at a fairly safe distance & it also saves me from looking like a complete fool by trying different techniques to avoid them.
We've had some rather embarassing moments with our neighbours who recently moved into the house opposite ours. They have an overly enthusiastic dog, to say the least, and he loves jumping on to everyone. DD1 has had a few screaming episodes when he has approached her and not to mention our body language a few times has made it clear to them that we are not the type who are going to go all mushy over their pets friendly nature.
Dogs are considered impure in Islam. There are certain rulings on what a Muslim should do when his clothing or utensils in which he eats comes in contact with a dog. It is not permitted to keep a dog unless it is for a purpose, like hunting or guarding property or other uses that are not contrary to the Sharee’ah, and even then there are many conditions that should be met. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, his reward will decrease by one qiraat every day." (Reported by Muslim, 2948).The ruling on touching a dog (taken from www.islamqa.com)
If you touch it when it is not wet, then your hand does not become impure, but if you touch it when it is wet, this means that the hand becomes impure, according to the opinion of many scholars, and the hand must be washed seven times, one of which should be with earth.
With regard to vessels, if a dog has licked a vessel (i.e., drunk from it), then the vessel must be washed seven times, one of which should be with earth, as was proven in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere, in the hadeeth narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a dog licks the vessel of any one of you, let him wash it seven times, one of which should be with earth.” It is better if the washing with earth be the first washing. And Allaah knows best.