Chief + Sadie

In April 2014, Frontline Plus, Heartgard Plus and PETstock stores partnered up to raise $60,000 for Guide Dogs Australia, the cost of raising two Guide Dog puppies.

The $60,000 donation resulted from Frontline Plus, Heartgard Plus providing $30,000 to PETstock Assist and this being matched by PETstock.

A Facebook competition helped name the two sponsored puppies Chief, who is a black male Labrador, and Sadie, a blond female Labrador.

Keep track of Chief and Sadie, our sponsored Guide Dog puppies! Regular ‘Pupdates’ can be found here!


Over the past few months Chief has received introductory training from our experienced Guide Dog instructors including navigating busy streets, public transport and shopping centres. He has grown to be a very well-rounded pup and has developed effective life skills including the ability to obey standard commands like sit, stay and drop, and good obedience such as sitting and waiting for food and walking nicely on the lead.

As a gentle soul, Chief will take the skills he has learnt into his new life as a much-loved part of a local family. While he will not go on to become an official working Guide Dog, Chief has already touched the lives of plenty of people with his charming temperament and cheeky personality. He will certainly make a loving and trusty companion for one very lucky home.

Not all our pups are equipped to become Guide Dogs, which is why we rely on donations to constantly train new recruits. Although Chief will be leaving the program, your gift has helped us to continue the breeding and training of future Guide Dogs and has been of immense value to the work that we do for people with impaired vision.

On behalf of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and all the people we serve, thank you for your tremendous support.

“Chief is doing really well. We call him cheeky chief, or cuddly chief – he has a lovely personality.” Carol, Puppy Raiser.

Chief’s been enjoying the company of his puppy raising family over the past few months – particularly that of youngest daughter Grace who regularly takes him to the park. This gives him a good chance to meet other dogs and, of course, plenty of open space to stretch his paws.

Chief was delighted to spend time in the company of another Guide Dog recently when the family looked after Frankie for a day; this gave Chief another Guide Dog buddy to spend leisure time with. John told us they had a great time wrestling and chasing one another – he was exhausted by the end of the day so a good long sleep was in order!

Chief regularly makes a habit of greeting visitors with a sloppy lick and wagging tail! When his time is freed up from socialising and training Chief likes to sit on the family’s veranda and sun himself – a life of leisure it seems!

When it comes to learning, Puppy Raiser John has told us that he learnt toilet training “exceedingly well (thank goodness)” and as for the first stages of his guiding duties he’s shown a lot of confidence in public, particularly with surrounding traffic.

What a great 10 months it’s been for Chief. He’s been out and about with the family, met new friends and even met Guide Dog Frankie who we’re sure provided him with lots of advice on the world of guiding.

Little Chief is three months old and living with his Puppy Raising family, who will teach him basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and how to walk on a lead. Chief will stay with the family for 12 months before returning to the Guide Dogs Centre to begin a five month intensive training program.

A Message from Chief:

At the moment I’m learning to listen and how to sit and wait. I am trying hard to not run towards my food bowl as soon as it’s put down. But, I do love my food!

Thank you for helping me on my journey to become a working Guide Dog!

Chief xx


Sadie has now woofed “Goodbye” to her Puppy Raisers and moved into our Guide Dogs Centre to start her official training.

Each pup completes 5 months of intensive training before being assessed on the skills required for a successful Guide Dog career.

The Guide Dogs Trainers begin with simple commands and progress to more challenging tasks, with plenty of positive reinforcement provided along the way. The trainers will be paying close attention to each dog, including Sadie, and tailoring the training to suit her personality.

At the Guide Dogs Centre, the pups train on a specially designed track that introduces them to different surfaces, textures and obstacles that they might face when guiding their future handler.

They are also taken on extensive training walks outside the centre where they learn to navigate challenging areas and be prepared for unanticipated situations.

In order to graduate, Sadie will be assessed on a whole range of skills needed to guide her handler in both rural and busy city areas, on a variety of public transport and through confusing, crowded spaces. The hardest part for many pups is learning to ignore distractions like food, smells and other animals.

Although Sadie is missing her Puppy Raisers, she’s sure to be enjoying her time at the Guide Dogs Centre. Each dog is provided with a private kennel and drinking tray, plenty of food, and even personal grooming! Sadie also gets lots of down time – there are large grass areas where the recruits can socialise with each other and get their exercise.

Thanks to your support, Sadie is one step closer to becoming a caring and responsible Guide Dog for someone who is blind or vision impaired.

“Sadie is a good learner and loves to make you happy! She will be missed when she returns to start Guide Dogs Training School this year.” Mel, Puppy Raiser.

We were delighted to hear that Sadie’s blossomed into a friendly pup who loves to socialise. Whether it’s playing with her pals in the park or greeting customers in Mel’s hair salon you can rely on Sadie to make people feel welcome!

Sadie’s been enjoying lots of outings; particularly those to her local coffee shop. She’s also been having a ball splashing her paws in the nearby waters!

When Sadie first arrived Mel’s priorities were establishing a good routine – getting her settled into the home and familiarised with house rules. Since then, we’ve seen Sadie show good discipline and obedience – ignoring other dogs when out guiding and making sure to always stick to the left of Mel.

It seems Sadie’s a keen student; which may be partly explained by her soft spot for Trainer Brett. According to Mel she “loved every minute” of puppy pre-school class. Her day was so full of excitement that she promptly fell asleep on the journey home – before they’d even left the car park.

Sadie’s had lots of fun going to group training sessions and spending time with Brett and Mel. She’ll be greatly missed when she leaves for Guide Dogs Training School where she’ll be reunited with Chief – but it’s an exciting time for her and us.

Three month old Sadie has recently been placed with her puppy raising family and, just like Chief, will begin to learn basic commands such as walking on a lead and waiting at a kerb. She will learn toilet training techniques and also be told not to run directly to her food when it is placed on the ground.


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