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Fall into Fall Field Trips

 In Events, PPH BLog, Service Dog Training

Have you ever noticed a Paws for Purple Hearts service dog-in-training out and about in your local community? Did you see them at a movie theater or at a grocery store practicing commands with their trainers? As top-tier Service Dogs, our dogs must learn how to perform commands in public despite distractions that can take the form of noises, sights, tactile stimuli or smells. That’s a lot for a puppy to adjust to, and that’s why we take our dogs on field trips!  Fall is an excellent season for field trips. Our program instructors can do things with their pups during the Fall that they can’t do any other time of year.

Scary Sights in Virginia

Our Virginia team took a frightening field trip to their local Spirit Halloween.  At the store, Bentley got to see animatronic ghosts, ghouls, and goblins!

Bentley’s trainer, Alissa Berg, said, “Even though Bentley’s never seen a creepy animatronic before, he did really well and dealt with the sight quickly!” He also got to try on several costumes while he was there. After his show of bravery, he is definitely a king in our book!

Bentley wearing a crown practicing wearing different items
Bentley wearing a crown practicing wearing different items

Pumpkin Patches in Texas

In San Antonio, service dogs-in-training Sergeant and Allen recently took a walk through the pumpkin patch at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery. They got to greet new people and pick out their favorite pumpkins! Even with all the excitement at the pumpkin patch, Sergeant and Allen kept their “Autumn cool” and demonstrated their ability to follow commands regardless of the distractions.

Program Instructors Erica Horn and Jenny Lunde took Sergeant and Allen on a field trip to the pumpkin patch at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery Photographer: Jessica Delgado
Program Instructors Erica Horn and Jenny Lunde took Sergeant and Allen on a field trip to the pumpkin patch at Milberger’s Landscaping and Nursery Photographer: Jessica Delgado

Walking with Bears in Alaska

Our Alaska team recently took a field trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Service dogs-in-training Andi and Reagan got to enjoy the crisp Anchorage, Alaska weather while taking in the sights and sounds of the local area. They saw new animals, including a bear who really wanted to be friends with the PPH pups!  Yes, that’s right, a BEAR!  Andi did a great job of not getting distracted by the bear when her trainer, Debbie Zastrow Yanagida, asked her to practice a “sit” command.

Andi practices a “sit” while a huge bear watches! Photographer: Melissa Kitko

Haunted Houses in San Diego

For Halloween, the San Diego team took an at-home field trip through their very own specially-designed haunted house. Service dogs-in-training Drew and Schatzie walked through a field of bones to practice their “leave it” command. They also practiced the “hold” command in their very own Paws for Purple Hearts pumpkin patch. You can watch them go through the whole DIY haunted house here.

Team San Diego created their own Haunted House and Pumpkin Patch Photographer: Caitlin Donahue
Team San Diego created their own Haunted House and Pumpkin Patch

Airports in Menlo Park

In the San Francisco Bay Area, service dogs-in-training Liberty and Arri looked to the skies for inspiration by taking a trip through the Mineta San Jose International Airport, including TSA check points there. This training gave Arri and Liberty valuable experience navigating a large bustling airport, and also helped airport and TSA staff learn more about working with actual service dogs-in-training.

The airport’s Director of Aviation John Aitken, said,

“We are honored to work with Paws for Purple Hearts to provide support in training these incredible service dogs to navigate their way through our airport. We are always looking for ways to improve the travel experience for our customers, and this effort reflects our commitment to all passengers to provide a safe, healthy and reliable travel experience.”

Libby and Arri get paws-on experience navigating their way through the Mineta San Jose International Airport!
Libby and Arri get paws-on experience navigating their way through the Mineta San Jose International Airport!

You can read more about Paws for Purple Hearts’ partnership with Mineta San Jose International Airport here.

HOW TO HELP

Funding field trips is one way you can help Paws for Purple Hearts achieve its mission to provide the highest quality assistance dogs and therapeutic services. You can send gift cards to restaurants, movie tickets, and event tickets to any of our Paws for Purple Hearts facilities. You can also make a monetary donation to help fund field trips here. These valuable experiences help our dogs learn how to remain calm and collected in the face of new and exciting surroundings.  And if you see a Paws for Purple Hearts team in your local community, be sure to stop and say hello!

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