Hawkesbury High School’s successful partnership with Guide Dogs Australia could be used as a blueprint in other countries.
Principal Jenny Linklater shared the school’s acclaimed Positive Paws Project at the International Guide Dog Federation Seminar in Sydney.
More than 100 conference delegates were impressed by a demonstration of the initiative at the local guide dog training facility.
Hawkesbury High students visit the training centre each week to help socialise the puppies, aged from five to seven weeks.
Ms Linklater was thrilled by the enthusiastic response to the Positive Paws Project.
“Guide Dogs delegates from around the world are now considering how they might develop similar partnerships with local high schools in their home country,” Ms Linklater said.
“It was great to watch the students listening to instructions and seeing them engage with the puppies in a calm manner.
“The international visitors commended our school and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT for developing this program.
“Students have all said how much working with puppies required learning patience. It also builds their confidence, which helps them back at school.”
Ms Linklater was enormously proud of her students as they went through their paces at the demonstration for delegates.
“Students showed the visitors how they familiarise Guide Dog puppies to different surfaces and obstacles using various handling techniques,” Ms Linklater said.
“The puppies were all well behaved and responded to students using tone of voice, signals and rewards.
“Students demonstrated leadership and were exemplary role models and excellent representatives of our school and Australia.”