Service Dogs In Training Out on the Town
Service dogs are expected to be calm and attentive in public when they are with their Warrior, so how can we make sure our dogs don’t react to loud cheering at a baseball game or get too excited at the smell of food when they are out to eat with their human companion? In San Diego, we take them out on exciting field trips to practice their impressive service dog training! The goal is to get them used to strange places, objects and noises throughout their training so they are unfazed by the time they are ready for placement.
Where Do We Take Our Dogs?
Just like little kids go on field trips to learn about the world around them, our dogs go on outings to get used to all of the kinds of sights, sounds, smells and places they will encounter as working service dogs. Field trips for our puppies can provide different levels of exposure and practice depending on how far along they are into their training.
At just a few months old, we begin taking our young service dogs in training to places with low levels of distraction to simply get them comfortable entering new spaces. Our trainers will take our puppies to dog parks, beaches, and stores like Target or CVS during weekdays because they are generally less crowded. We even enlist the help of Veterans participating in our Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy program when we go on these field trips. Rather than practicing specific training, these outings allow our dogs to get familiarized with some of the places they will go regularly once placed with their Warrior.
As our service dogs in training get older, the fields trips get more exciting! When they are ready, our program instructors begin taking them out on group field trips to places with higher levels of distraction likes malls and restaurants where they can work on specific training in public. In San Diego, we frequently visit shopping malls where the dogs practice using escalators and restaurants where they work on staying calm even with all of those distracting smells.
To really put our dogs training to the test, we go on higher level field trips to events and places with large crowds and big distractions. Our dogs have been to Padres baseball games, visited bowling alleys, sat through entire movies at the theatre, walked through noisy arcades, and visited seasonal events like the pumpkin patch! All of this exposure will ensure our service dogs are ready to build a true partnership that will improve the quality of life for a Warrior.
Fund Future Field Trips
We are always looking to take our dogs on new field trips to help with this exposure training, and prepare our dogs for their future. If you’d like to sponsor a field trip for our dogs in training, you can donate restaurant gift cards, movie gift cards, and event tickets to any of our PPH training facility locations. Visiting the San Diego Zoo and Birch Aquarium are a few examples of exciting field trips we hope to take with our dogs in the future. Paws for Purple Hearts is one of the foremost charities that help Veterans, so any support advances our mission to improve the lives of our nation’s Warriors with our high quality service dogs and canine assisted therapeutic programs. At PPH, we love our volunteers and have numerous ways that you can help our Warriors.
Interested In Getting A Service Dog?
For any Warrior interested in getting a service dog to help with mobility limitations or trauma-related conditions, please visit our website to learn more about our services and to fill out an application.