Published on: 2 March 2017

Our Year 12 Psychology boys invited a friendly and furry visitor into class this week – Barnsey the guide dog. Barnsey came with trainer Phil Stanley from Guide Dogs WA and Phil shared insights with the class on how to best train animals and the psychological theory behind their training methods.

The visit provided the boys with a ‘real world’ example of operant and classical conditioning, which is covered in the School’s Psychology course. The boys heard about the key concepts of different learning techniques, coupled with a demonstration of this method involving interactions with the trainer and the dog.

Guide dogs enable extraordinary transformation in the lives of people living with blindness and vision impairment and take part in over two years of training and assessment.

Did you know:

  • Out of harness, a guide dog can play and behave like any other (well-trained) pet dog
  • Guide dogs are actually working when they are in harness


Year 12 Science and Psychology Teacher Samantha Charlwood said “This visit from Guide Dogs WA was a special opportunity to see how psychology can influence behaviour and its applications in the real world. We are thankful for both Phil and beautiful Barnsey’s time.”

Owned and operated by VisAbility, Guide Dogs WA relies on the generous support of the community to fund its Guide Dog program. Its mission is to see a world where people who need a guide dog, have access to a guide dog. For that reason all of their guide dogs are provided free of charge to people who are blind or vision impaired.