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18 January, 2018

Guide Dogs unveil paw-some new look

Two Labrador puppies wearing their training coats

Forget about the cat walk, all eyes will be on the “dog walk” as Guide Dogs Australia harnesses a fresh new uniform look for their iconic Guide Dogs.

There will be no fashion “fur-paws” in sight as furry four-legged models debut their new training coats, sponsored by ADVANCETM.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO, Dale Cleaver said it was an exciting step to unveil the new coats, which will be uniform across the country for the first time to make Guide Dogs-in-training more easily recognised when working.

“Our Guide Dogs have been working in local communities for more than 60 years and provide a life-changing service to people with sight loss,” Mr Cleaver said.

“At any one time, there may be more than 600 pups and dogs being trained in communities across Australia to take on a special role as a Guide Dog.

“While our Guide Dog harnesses are easily recognisable, the launch of these new training coats for dogs still learning to guide is particularly significant, as it’s the first nationally branded Guide Dogs coat to be used across the country. 

“From next week, wherever you are in Australia, if you spot one of our coats, you will know that it’s a Guide Dog-in-training and should not be distracted.”

The new coats feature a reflective bright orange colour for visibility and are made of a highly breathable material to keep the dogs cool – and looking cool – when they are working.  What’s more important though, is what they represent.

“When you see a trainee Guide Dog wearing one of our new coats in the community, it means they are on an important journey and working towards fulfilling the life-changing role of being someone’s guiding eyes,” Mr Cleaver said.

“Whether a dog is walking, sitting or sleeping, a Guide Dog should not be patted, fed or distracted.  It also means these dogs are legally allowed to go everywhere their trainer or handler can, with the exception of operating theatres and the zoo. 

“We’re asking the community to do their bit by making sure our handlers and their dogs feel welcome, and that your pet dog is on a leash and under control whenever you see a Guide Dog in harness or one of our trainee dogs in our new bright orange coats.”

The new coats were made possible thanks to the support of Guide Dogs Australia’s national partner ADVANCETM who feed our Guide Dogs nationally, and are the result of a period of testing and consultation with all Guide Dog schools across the country.

Guide Dog etiquette:

As we launch our new coats, here are some points to keep in mind about when you see a dog or puppy wearing a Guide Dogs coat:

  • When a Guide Dog is in harness or wearing a coat, it is working. Whether it is walking, sitting or sleeping, it should not be patted, fed or distracted.
  • If for any reason you need to interact with a Guide Dog, please ensure you check with its handler first.
  • Please make sure your pet dog is on a leash or under control around the Guide Dog. When approaching a Guide Dog Team, it may be polite to let the handler know that you have a dog.
  • Remember, Guide Dogs are legally allowed in any public place and to travel on all forms of public transport – this includes restaurants and cafes, taxis and shopping centres, with the exception of operating theatres and the zoo.

To support a trainee Guide Dog please make a donation to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT or sponsor a puppy.