Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Phil with yellow labradors

A day in the Life of the ‘Dog Whisperer’

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20 July, 2020

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Phil with yellow labradorsPhil Stanley is a ‘dog whisperer’ of a unique kind. This Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, who started his career in the 1980s in the UK, is about to chalk up 39 years’ service in his highly specialised field.

Prior to joining Guide Dogs WA in 2006, Phil spent two years as Director of Training at Guide Dogs of Texas in San Antonio. Over the years and across three continents, Phil has successfully trained and matched almost 180 Guide Dog partnerships. 

What does a day in the life of a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor look like? It’s a packed schedule, for sure.

When COVID-19 forced the temporary closure of Guide Dogs WA training facilities, Phil took his three Guide Dogs into his home so that he could continue their training. The day starts with an early breakfast for the three hungry Labradors.

By 9am Phil is on the road with his dogs. Under Phil’s careful watch and instruction, the dogs undertake training walks in shopping centres, around café strips, near schools and in suburban areas. There are skills to practice, distractions to ignore, pedestrian crossings and stairs to be found.

By early afternoon, it’s time to head home for lunch, and for the dogs to enjoy play. The afternoon is focused on more obedience skills and testing recall. The dogs love this! They are eager to please Phil and love the praise for a job well done.

Late in the afternoon, the dogs-in-training have time for a free run, before enjoying a well-earned dinner, then a relax on their beds in front of the TV.

Day by day, these amazing dogs are learning new skills that will one day open a whole new world of possibilities for a Western Australian living with a disability. And that’s thanks to wonderful people like you!

“Every Guide Dog makes such a difference to someone’s life. When a client says: “My Guide Dog is my reason for getting up in the morning”, that’s my inspiration. This job is one of the most worthwhile things in the world.” Phil, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor

Learn more about the Guide Dog, Autism Assistance or Therapy Dog programs here in Western Australia.

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