The Governor with a student and his wife in the kennels at the Guide Dogs Centre. They are holding puppies.

On Tuesday, 19 September His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales, visited the Guide Dogs Centre in Glossodia.

The Governor had the opportunity to participate in a new program run by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT known as the Positive Paws Project.

The program has students from Hawkesbury High School visit the Guide Dog Centre in Western Sydney to interact with puppies aged five to seven weeks old, to help them socialise and develop confidence and other behaviours that are essential to their success as future Guide Dogs.

The Positive Paws Project draws on multiple overseas studies that have shown the far-reaching benefits of the early socialisation of puppies.

Research shows that the early handling of puppies aged five to seven weeks old has a significant impact on their behaviour. Handled puppies are very active, explorative, sociable towards people and confident during play with other puppies. They also have greater emotional stability as well as better problem-solving abilities.

“The evidence is that the early socialisation of pups leads to confident dogs in the future,” Guide Dog Services Manager, Paul Adrian said.

“By socialising the pups at a young age and introducing them to as many positive experiences as possible, as an organisation we will become more effective in producing not just Guide Dogs, but Guide Dogs that perform at the peak of their ability.”

The Governor joined the students as they used a variety of equipment to encourage the pups to explore using their sense of smell, sight, touch and sound. During his visit, the Governor also had the chance to name a Guide Dog puppy. A beautiful yellow pup was named “Hurley.”