Last weekend we took a little outing to a small German restaurant in downtown LA for our friend Rachael’s birthday. Happy Birthday Rachael! While this may not sound like a big deal to you and I it can be quite the adventure for a puppy in training.
Lets sit back and think about this for a second. How do many disabled people get around town? Living in southern California we take hopping in the car and shooting off to our destination for granted. Many people often have to take public transportation. After all, a blind person can’t just hop in the car and drive off to…well, anywhere without assistance! And, unfortunately guide dogs cannot yet drive cars.
One thing I often do is think about what my puppy’s life will be like when she becomes a working dog. Public transportation is often times a must for our dogs, so I always make sure to expose my pup’s to different types of public transportations like trains, buses, trams, etc.
So that’s where today’s journey begins!
Puppies On A Train!
I bet you’d rather see Puppies On A Train rather then Snakes On A Plane…Me too!
Our first stop was the Orange Metrolink Train station. This was actually our second trip on the Metrolink and I wasn’t too worried about Adelle however, this time was a little different then our first train trip…
- We left the same time around 9:30am so no differences there.
- As soon as the train reached our stop the loud speaker announced the train was full and it was standing room only.
- We had to stand scrunched up for the entire hour+ train trip to Union Station!
Apparently everyone was heading to China Town in downtown LA for a Chinese New Years parade. The good news: This was an opportunity to work with Adelle in a totally new situation.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION TIP #1: Avoid the train station on Chinese New Year! Actually check to see if anything big is going on the weekend you’re planning any puppy outing events.
Puppies In Large Crowds
Adelle had experienced a train ride a couple months earlier so this was a great opportunity to work on the train in a large crowd. While I wasn’t totally prepared for this situation apparently she was: Adelle was a super star and stayed in a sit stay or down stay near my feet the entire ride. She even got a little more comfortable once some of the people left our cabin. See below…
The crowd was just as crazy when we got to the Union Station, but we were able to make our way to the yellow line metro tram. We hopped on and made our way towards Wurstkuche (don’t as me how to pronounce that). Once again Adelle was a star staying close to me in a sit-stay.
We took a 15 minute walk from the Yellow Line to our final destination. This gave Adelle a chance to get a little bit of energy out since she had mostly been in a sit-stay or down-stay on the tram or train for the last 2 hours.
It also gave us a chance to relieve Adelle and give her a little bit of water. We gave Adelle the command “Better Go Now!” and she did her business on a small patch of dirt just off the side walk.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION TIP #2 – Bring an outing pack with you including food, water, towels, toys, poop bags and any other essentials you need when out with your puppy. You’ll notice in most pictures I’m wearing my backpack filled with puppy supplies.
We got the chance to relax with friends, enjoy the atmosphere, and have a few drinks (Adelle and I stuck to water). The sausage at Wurstkuche was delish and they have quite a variety of mustards!
After some good food and good conversation we walked on over to Japanese Town for a few road snacks. We took the Yellow Line back to Union Station and noticed it wasn’t quite as crowded…I think everyone was still in China Town for the parade. Here’s a good shot of us back at Union Station:
Lucky for us there were plenty of seats on the train ride back to Orange. Adelle got comfortable and took a nap on the way home!
Introducing Your Puppy To New Things
As a puppy raiser we work on three main areas when getting our pups ready for their advanced training:
- Obedience Training
- Good House Manners
Today was a great exercise in socialization because not only did Adelle have the opportunity to see new sights, sounds and smells, but she also had the chance to work in large crowds.
One last thing I’d like to mention…when I take Adelle out with me I always have her best interest in mind. While we were out for someone’s birthday party I still keep my attention on Adelle and make sure she is not overly stressed in any situation. If you introduce your puppy to a stressful situation too early you may cause more harm then good.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION TIP #3 – Make sure any puppy outing is age appropriate for your puppy.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION TIP #4 – Be prepared to leave any outing that might be to overwhelming for your puppy.
What about you? What do you do to help socialize your puppy? Do you have any puppy socialization tips? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.