It wasn’t that long ago that I was asked the question in today’s blog post title when I walked up to the Guide Dogs of America (GDA) booth at the America’s Family Pet Expo. This past weekend I was asking pet lovers at the Pet Expo the very same question while working with Tasha (a guide dog puppy in training) at the GDA booth: “Are you interested in raising a puppy for Guide Dogs of America?”
By the way, the Pet Expo was packed this past weekend with thousands of people and we came away with possibly a few new puppy raisers
Bro and Sis? BFF’s? Guide Pups?
Who are those pups pictured above? That’s Tucker and Treacle! Brother and sister from the “T” litter (read more about the GDA rules for naming a puppy). Guide Dog Puppies In Training! These two are currently in formal guide dog training and hopefully will be graduating soon from Guide Dog College. This picture is from our outing to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach, CA.
What Does A Puppy Raiser Do?
So what happens at the Guide Dogs of America booth? We try to recruit new puppy raisers and the Pet Expo filled with thousands of Pet Lovers is the perfect venue. While our time is sometimes short with each prospective puppy raiser here are a few things I like to say and do when working the booth:
First, bring an adorable Puppy In Training to draw in the crowd. I had Tasha an 11 month old gorgeous female Labrador Retriever working by my side. the Pet Expo is full of excitement and distractions so we only bring the older puppies as they can handle the stress better than the little ones.
After you draw in the prospective puppy raisers lead with the question “Are you interested in raising a puppy?“
Then I usually give them the basic run down of what puppy raising entails…
GDA provides you with an approximately 7 week old puppy.
You keep the puppy with you from 7 weeks until about 18 months of age.
During that time you work with them on basic obedience, good house manners, and socialization.
Most pet lovers are intrigued by puppy socialization aspect of puppy raising and love to hear how puppy raisers take their pups to shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and most places many pet dogs can not attend.
At 18 months you return the puppy to the school where they begin their formal guide dog training.
After about 6 months of formal training your puppy gets matched with a visually impaired or blind partner.
After approximately 1 more month of training with their new partner you puppy graduates and begins his life as a guide dog team.
The most common response: “I could never give up my puppy after 18 months…“
My answer: “I understand, but once you see your puppy graduate and give his partner a new life of independence it’s all worth it.” –Cue tears from my eyes…
That’s a very brief summary, but in reality there are so many more benefits to being a puppy raiser. It is a large commitment, but you will receive so much more in return. That is why I’ve raised 4 puppies and plan on raising more. That’s why when you talk to many other puppy raisers they’ve raised 5, 10, 20 puppies over the past few decades.
If you’re interested in puppy raising leave me a comment or shoot me an email though our contact form.
How about you guys? Are you already raising a puppy? If so tell us a little bit about some of your experiences and the benefits you find raising a puppy. If not, what’s holding you back from starting your journey as a puppy raiser.
Many of you already know that I love talking about the OC Pet Expo every year. In fact I usually start writing articles about the Expo starting at the beginning of the new year and usually put together 1 or 2 updates as reminders (we don’t want you to miss out).
We’re now in the final stretch with opening day beginning in less than 1 week!
We found out that Apache and I will be working as volunteers at the Guide Dogs of America booth. We’re currently scheduled to work from 3-6pm on Friday, April 20th, 2012, but we’ll most likely come earlier in the day so we can help out the other puppy raisers.
If you’re planning on attending this years Orange County Pet Expo please stop by the Guide Dogs of America booth and say hello to Apache and I. Our booth is located in Building 10, Booth 1079. Here’s a map of where we’re located:
OC Pet Expo Map
The OC Pet Expo 2012 is held at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.
We’ve been attending the pet expo for over 5 years now and we’ve volunteered at the GDA booth for the past 5 years as well. During that time we’ve learned a few things that help make the pet expo a more enjoyable event.
Tips For This Years OC Pet Expo
Dublin and A Donkey At Last Years OC Pet Expo
Here are a few tips we’ve learned:
Order your tickets online and you’ll save $2 per ticket. Here’s a link to order your tickets.
Fridays especially Friday mornings is the least busiest time. It’s nice to beat the crowds. ***however, this may change this year since “Fido Friday” is the first and only day this year the OC Pet Expo is allowing pet dogs at this event.
Grab a program as soon as you enter so you can see what demonstrations you’d like to attend. Make sure you look at all the events and plan your day accordingly. Some of our favorites are Splash Dogs, Police and Search Dog Demonstration, K9 Nosework Demo. There’s a ton of stuff going on every 15 minutes and as you can see I’m a bit biased towards the dogs, but there’s demonstrations and exhibits for all kinds of pets. A few examples of other pet demos: The Birdman, Hamster Judging, The mystery of cat shows, etc.
Bring along cash. There are tons of great opportunities to buy products or give donations, but not all groups may accept credit cards.
Visit the Guide Dogs of America Booth and say hi to Apache and I!
Tips For People Bringing Their Dogs For “Fido Friday”
If you plan on bringing your own pet dog here are a few extra tips for the OC Pet Expo:
Make sure you read the policy and sign the waiver for Fido Friday.
Make sure your dog can handle a high stress environment. There’s a lot of noises, animals, children running, people in wheelchairs, loud noises, people on microphones, clapping, etc. There’s a lot going on at the pet expo and you want it to be a fun day for your dog not a miserable, stressful day.
Your dog may be a good dog, but you have to consider the 100′s of other dogs at the pet expo. Always keep a close eye not only on what your dog is doing, but what the other dogs and animals might be doing.
I always bring water for my dog, but I don’t usually bring food. If you plan on staying all day you may want to bring some food for your dog as well.
It could be a long hot day. We’ve attended some years when it was very hot. Make sure you give your dog a chance to take breaks throughout the day.
The black top (asphalt) at the pet expo can get very hot and can easily burn your dogs paws. Be careful and plan accordingly.
This is the first Fido Friday at the OC Pet Expo so I’m not too sure what to expect. However, I do know that it can be a very stressful day for our guide dog puppies and I always make sure to keep an eye on not only my dog, but everything that is going on around us especially the other dogs.
I hope these few tips help if you’re planning to attend this years pet expo. Of course if you are coming to the OC Pet Expo 2012 please make sure you stop by the Guide Dogs of America booth (Building 10, Booth 1079) and say hello!
Every year I write about the Orange County Pet Expo and this year has been no different. However, there is something different about this years OC Pet Expo.
As long as I’ve been writing to this blog I’ve received many questions about the Pet Expo: Will splash dogs be at the pet expo? What kind of demonstrations do they have at the OC Pet Expo? What kind of animals are at the expo? Do they sell pet products? Are there puppies for adoption?
However, the most common question I get about the Orange County Pet Expo…Can I bring my dog to the OC Pet Expo? I inevitably hear that comment every year. In fact, I just got this comment from one of our readers today:
ARE you allowed to bring dogs if your not working at a booth. I have been once a few years ago with my parents just before we got our 2nd to last family pet. I was in 4th grade. But now im married and I have two dogs a havanese puppy he is 7 months and yesterday we got a siberian husky from the pound she is 1 year and two monts. Are dogs allowed there?
I’m glad she asked…thanks Nikki! Because just like I do every year I went back to the official website and checked the admissions section for the usual NO DOGS ALLOWED! (reminds me of Snoopy) This year I came to the OC Pet Expo events info and to my surprise it read:
So now I had to find out about Fido Fridays…what was it? It was a little difficult to navigate their website, but I came across a press release about Fido Fridays.
OC Pet Expo – Fido Fridays
So what is Fido Friday at the America’s Family Pet Expo? You guessed it…on Friday, April 20th, 2012 from 10am to 6pm pet dogs can join the fun at the Pet Expo. Here’s the information straight from the official pet expo website:
America’s Family Pet Expo is happy to welcome your well behaved pooch to enjoy the day out with you at our showon FRIDAY! But before you do, please be sure to read the Fido Friday Policy by clicking here.
All pet owners must sign a Liability Waiver upon entrance to the America’s Family Pet Expo. This opportunity to bring your dog is ONLY AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY.
A Few Tips for Attendees and Dogs:
Dogs will be allowed on Friday only.
There will be crowds, loud stimulating noises and many other animals on display as part of our show.
Only one dog allowed per adult.
Public dogs will not be allowed to enter Building 12 due to the other animals in this building.
Dogs MUST be kept on non-retractable leashes.
Bring water and snacks for your pet.
Take note of designated Potty Areas listed on Show Program.
If you decide to bring your dog to the OC Pet Expo make sure you keep a close eye on your dog and other dogs and animals. Your dog may be well-behaved, but you never really know about the other dogs/animals. Make sure you bring water and a bowl for your dog. Some years it’s been very hot at the Pet Expo and you don’t want your dog to get dehydrated. I bring a backpack with water bottle/bowl, towels/paper towels (in case my pup has an accident somewhere indoors), dog poop bags, sterile bone (we work the booths so I sometimes give my pup a sterile bone to chew on), and of course I always have my puppy on a short leash.
Yep! It’s a first for the Orange County Pet Expo! It’s the first time you can bring your four-legged family member to this event. So now the question is will you bring your dog to the OC Pet Expo?
It’s early, but I’m already getting excited for the Orange County Pet Expo 2012! It’s one of my favorite events of the year because they always have awesome new dog toys and products, great demonstrations and events, as well as tons of wonderful informational pet booths across the Orange County Fairgrounds. Not only is the OC Pet Expo a ton of fun, but for the past 3 years I’ve also worked the Guide Dogs of America booth with my Guide Dog Puppy In Training (this year I’ll probably work the booth with Apache).
Also at the Orange County Pet Expo are hundreds of local animal rescues with puppies, kitties, dogs, and cats. We even saw rescue pigs at the pet expo last year.
I hope that little Puppy In Training TV video got you pumped up for this years Expo!
Lets check out the details for this years OC Pet Expo 2012.
Orange County Pet Expo 2012
EVENT: America’s Family Pet Expo WHEN: April 20-22, 2012 HOURS: Friday, 10AM – 6PM; Saturday, 10AM – 7PM; Sunday, 10AM – 6PM WHERE: OC Fair and Event Center
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
General Admission – $12.00
Seniors 60 & over – $10.00
Children 6-12 – $6.00
5 yrs and Under – FREE
Here’s a little excerpt from the America’s Family Pet Expo:
See more than 1,000 animals including dogs, cats, equine, birds, fish, llamas, pot bellied pigs, goats, rats, reptiles, rabbits, miniature horses and more on display in fun and interactive stage shows, competitions and demonstrations. Featuring over 400 exhibitors and rescue groups including Bow Meow Pet Products, No Stray Left Behind, Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue, and more!
Last years Orange County Pet Expo was a lot of fun. If you watched the video then you would have seen that Dublin and I worked the Guide Dogs of America booth, checked out the many different animals, and watched a couple of demonstrations. We even came home with a few goodies for Dublin, Stetson, and Linus.
I know it’s a few months out, but don’t forget to mark your calendars and let your friends and family know that the America’s Family Pet Expo is coming to the Orange County Fairgrounds April 20th – 22n. This is a don’t miss event if you’re a pet lover and live in the Orange County, California area.
How about you? Have you visited the OC Pet Expo in the past? Are you going to the Orange County Pet Expo 2012? Let us know in the comment section below.
I’m sure many of your have been following the Puppy In Training blog for quite a while now so it’s no secret that the Orange County Pet Expo is one of our favorite events of the year. In fact we probably never would have started this blog if it wasn’t for the OC Pet Expo.
A few years ago, before we decided to adopt a puppy, volunteer with a local dog rescue, foster puppies, or raise guide dog puppies we visited America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, CA. It was at the expo that we first began thinking about how we could spend our free time volunteering to help puppies and dogs. We visited many of the animal rescue booths, guide and service dog booths, and watched many of the different demonstrations from elite dog trainers on how to train a puppy and puppy training tips, shutzund training, police k9 search and rescue, and even basic dog obedience training.
Fast forward to today…
We’ve helped rescue and foster several litters of puppies and dogs.
We’ve been raising guide dog puppies for the past 5 years.
We started our Puppy In Training Blog to help others with puppy training tips from our experiences as Guide Dog Puppy Raisers.
Dublin and I took a trip to one of our favorite events…the Orange County Pet Expo! My name is Colby and I’m raising Dublin! a Guide Dog puppy In Training, welcome to episode 12 of Puppy In Training TV!
Guide Dog Puppy Training Starring DUBLIN
With Linus Aussie Shepherd Rescue
Also Colby The Human
And Stetson Career Changed Guide Dog
Every year the America’s Family Pet Expo comes to the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California. It’s one of our favorite events and this year Dublin and I worked part of the day at the Guide Dogs of America booth.
We got to the Pet Expo a little bit early before our shift so I let Dublin check out some of the animals at the show. We saw horses, we saw sheep and chickens and other animals inside the petting zoo, there were also donkeys at the oc pet expo, here’s dublin getting a little bit closer to that donkey, Dublin even relaxed in a down position and got almost nose to nose with a Llama!
There are tons of exhibits and demonstrations at the orange county pet expo. of course our favorites are the dog exhibits…However there are also exhibits for birds, fish, reptiles, and other small animals. my mom goes back every year to check out the cats, and of course there’s just about everything a pet lover can ask for at the OC pet expo.
After getting a short preview of the pet expo we followed this pug and group of horses over to the Guide Dogs of America booth. We hung out for a couple hours with some of the other GDA pups and puppy raisers and talked to people about the guide dog puppy raising program.
The OC Pet Expo gave us a great opportunity to walk Dublin through crowds. We’ve done the same kind of walks through shopping malls, but we have never walked through this many people or had so many distractions. Dublin did great walking through crowds and wasn’t afraid of the people or other animals…maybe a little to gung ho as he was pulling a bit on his lead.
One of our favorite events to watch is splash dogs…WOH! Lets watch that again…some of those dogs can really fly and this dog gets some serious air.. Dublin do you think you could do that?
It’s been a while, but we used to foster dogs for a local rescue so I like stopping by to at least say hello at the pet expo. If you’re looking for a dog or puppy please check out your local animal rescue or shelter or another great place to check out is petfinder.com.
It was a long day so we grabbed some food and got ready to head out.
We tried to get as much done as possible while we were at the expo, but there’s so much to do at the OC Pet Expo we felt like we could have used a 3 day pass. In 5 seconds here’s a list of other things we did or wanted to do that we didn’t capture with our video camera…
K9s for Disabled Kids
Police And Search Dog Demo’s
Does Your Dog Need A Job
Assistance Dogs the How And Why
Shutzhund Mondio Ring Dog Sport
The Art of Dog Protection Training
10 Most Common Reasons Dogs End Up In Shelters
Let Your Dog Follow His Nose
Dog Training Secrets Revealed
Parade of Dog Breeds
Those Jumping Scotties
Pet Adoption Fashion Show
And Tons of Other Non-Dog Exhibits
Thanks everyone for joining us and we’ll see you in our next episode or Puppy In Training TV.
If you’re a pet lover I highly recommend you attend the OC Pet Expo next year. As I’ve mentioned it’s definitely one of our favorite events of the year. There’s tons of great information, demonstrations, exhibits, dog adoption and rescue booths, and of course we will most likely be manning the Guide Dogs of America booth again next year.
Dublin did very well with all the crazy sights, smells, distractions, crowds, and other animals at the OC Pet Expo. However, there was a lot going on and this is definitely not an event we would recommend for a younger guide or service dog puppy in training.
Remember if you’d like to sponsor an episode of Puppy In Training TV visit our sponsorship form.
Have you visited the Orange County Pet Expo in the past? If so, what was your favorite part?
Every year we go to the OC Pet Expo we come home with a bag full of dog products for Stetson, Linus, and this year Dublin to try out. After last years Orange County Pet Expo besides getting good deals on little stuffed doggy toys we also came away with two doggy toys that we had been eager to try. The first was the Amazing Treat Machine Interactive Dog Toy which we never got around to testing. However, we plan on giving Stetson a shot at reviewing the Amazing Treat Machine and add it to his list of dog product reviews. The other big product we bought from last years Pet Expo was Vetericyn wound and infection treatment spray. We were hoping this spray would help with Stetson’s dog skin allergies. Again we did not get a doggy product review posted to the web. However, we plan on putting together a full review of Vetericyn in the coming weeks.
The Dog Products from OC Pet Expo 2011
Upcoming Dog Product Reviews from OC Pet Expo 2010
Once again we got a few plush toys that the boys will most likely shred to bits in a few minutes. We were hoping to find some awesome new dog products at this years Orange County Pet Expo and while we did come across several items we were interested in purchasing we only came home with one NEW dog product we plan on reviewing on the website.
So what is the one product we plan on reviewing? Lets start off with an awesome idea we had years ago:
Way back in 2005 when I took my Aussie mix Linus on a camping trip we wondered through the near pitch black forest at night me with my trusty head lamp and Linus and his black fur blended right in with the darkness. At the time I thought wouldn’t it be cool if Linus had a fancy headlamp just like the one I was wearing, but a canine version. After much (or maybe just a little) inner debate I assumed most dogs would be annoyed wearing a headlamp on their head just like most dogs hate wearing silly antlers or santa hats during the holidays. So I dropped the entire idea.
Fast forward to the 2011 OC Pet Expo. Almost directly across from our Guide Dogs of America booth was a small booth with a Golden Retriever wearing a nice little LED light around his neck. The dog product was quite simply called the PupLight Dog Safety Light! Very cool and because it was around his neck it didn’t bother him much…it was only like wearing an extra collar. While we still think our canine headlamp idea is still pretty cool the PupLight is much more practical.
Upcoming Dog Product Reviews from OC Pet Expo 2011
So stay tuned for our upcoming PupLight Dog Safety Light Review!
One final note on dog products at the Pet Expo Orange County: we were also looking to grab some antlers and saw a number of exhibitors selling both venison and deer antlers for dogs, but ended up coming away with neither. Some of our fellow guide dog puppy raisers purchased some giant elk antlers for dogs that were about a foot long and two inches in diameter. We also saw some much smaller antlers that were only about 4 inches in length and probably less than a half inch in diameter. And finally we also saw a few that were sheered in half (we heard do not buy the antlers that are sheered in half as they don’t last nearly as long) We weren’t too sure which would work best for Stetson’s powerful jaws so we decided a little more online research would be best.
By the way, after shopping around at the OC Pet Expo we thought we might be able to find better deals online. However, the best deals were indeed at the Pet Expo along with the fact that you could haggle with the exhibitors, get bulk discounts, and also when the exhibitors saw Dublin in his Guide Dogs of America jacket they automatically gave us a better deal. So next year we’re going to make sure we bring a fat wad of cash to spend on our three pups.
Did you get a chance to visit this years Orange County Pet Expo? If so, did you find any cool dog products or watch any of the shows?
Do you have an adorable puppy who’s driving you nuts? Not long ago we brought home our first guide dog puppy and after the initial excitement wore off we soon realized we were in for an extreme test of our patience.
My name is Colby and I’ve been raising and training guide dog puppies for the past 5 years. Follow me and my pups on our journey from puppy to working guide dog.