Guide Dogs unveil paw-some new look

A golden Labrador puppy is sitting with its back to the camera, wearing an orange training coat. The pup is looking sideways.

Sara modelling the new national training coat.

National puppy coat a first for Guide Dogs Australia

There were no fashion “fur-paws” in sight as Guide Dogs Tasmania’s newest recruits – Violet, Vinnie and Sara – took to the runway to debut a new national training coat today, sponsored by our national partner ADVANCETM.

Guide Dogs Tasmania Coordinator for Guide Dog Services, Kim Ryan, said it was an exciting step to unveil the new coats, which are 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 over 60 years and provide a life-changing service to those with limited or no vision,” Ms Ryan said.

“At any one time, there may be over 600 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 today, 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.”

A golden puppy is sitting on a concrete floor, looking at the camera. She is wearing an orange training coat.

Violet, proudly wearing the new national coat sponsored by Advance.

 

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 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,” Ms Ryan 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 anywhere their trainer or handler can, to assist with their training.”

“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 in one of our new bright orange training coats.”

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

What does the coat mean?

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, under the Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs Act 1967, working Guides and Guide Dogs-in-training are permitted by law to go anywhere their handler can, including restaurants, taxis and shopping centres.