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Puppy Raisers Gather At OCTA Service Animal Training

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We’ve been organizing our Orange County Guide Dogs of America group outings for the past two years and one of our favorites is organized by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).

The OCTA Service Animal Training is held once a year on the first Saturday of October and offers service animals the opportunity to ride the OCTA bus and enter the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park for free!  Training is held from 8am to noon at the Fullerton Park and Ride.

OCTA Service Animal Training

Hina riding the OCTA Bus
Hina riding the OCTA bus at service animal training day.

We’ve been raising and training guide dog puppies for over 6 years now.  Part of our job as guide dog puppy raisers is to make sure our puppies are well socialized with all different kinds of people, places, and things.  When our dogs graduate guide dog college many will start using public transportation on a regular basis.

A lot of us don’t think to much about public transportation especially people like myself living in Southern California and driving a car from place to place.  Many people with disabilities don’t have the luxury of driving their own cars and must use buses, trains, and trams to get around.

Guide dogs in training boarding the bus
Guide dogs in training boarding the bus

OCTA bus training is a great chance for our dogs to gain experience boarding, exiting, and riding on a bus.  Not only that, but OCTA and Knott’s Berry Farm team up every year to also give us free passes into Knott’s Berry Farm to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a theme park.

It’s an awesome experience for both puppy raisers and puppies in training and if you’re a puppy raiser and live in the Southern California area I highly recommend you look into attending OCTA service animal training next year.

Pups at Knott's Berry Farm in front of the train
Pups at Knott’s Berry Farm in front of the train

Some Tips When Working With Your Puppy On The Bus

We got a few last minute tips from our puppy department before our training day and we just wanted to share with you in case you ever have to take your dog on the bus.

  • When riding the bus, puppies need to be sitting in front of you facing out, and your toes should be tucked around your puppy’s toes to protect them from being stepped on.  This will be the most common position for them in formal training and when riding with their blind person.
  • For longer rides, puppies can be laying down as long as no part of them is sticking out from under the seat.

Basically you want to make sure and protect your puppy from getting stepped on.  Be very aware of your puppies feet and tail as they tend to sometimes hang out and can possibly get run over by an unsuspecting person.

OCTA Service Animal Training
Great job puppy raisers! Pups are kept under seats with a clear path for people to walk down.

Many Different Service Animal Groups Gather At OCTA Bus Training

One of my favorite parts about the OCTA training day is seeing all of the different service animal groups gathering to work on training their puppies.  Some of the groups we remember seeing were Guide Dogs of America, Canine Companions for Independence, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Canine Support Teams, Guide Dog for the Blind, Delta Society, and a few others we can’t remember off the tops of our head.

Of course the weekend was not without a little bit of mischief.  we saw this pup hop up on the passenger seat.  A definite no-no when riding the bus.  I guess he wanted to check out the college football scores.

Service Dog Bus Training
Getting into a bit of puppy mischief. Our pups aren’t perfect that’s why jackets say puppy “in training”

Thank you to Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Knott’s Berry Farm for providing us with this wonderful training day.  It’s an invaluable experience for all of us puppy raisers.

We’ll see you next year!

Did you participate in this years OCTA Service Animal Training?  Have you taken you dog on public transportation?  Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.

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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Hi Kriss,

    Please feel free to use any of the photos to help increase awareness for this years Service Animal training event. Thank you so much for offering the training. I know all of us puppy raisers truly appreciate your efforts. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

    Take care,

  2. Hi Colby, would you mind if we use your photos to help increase awareness of our 2013 Service Animal training event? We will give you credit for each photo we post. Please let me know if that would be okay. We’d post them on the OCTA Bus Facebook page. Thanks!

  3. Since I started training guide dog pups I’m much more aware of the sights, sounds, and smells going on around me. The bus stop is a great place because the buses are very noisy which takes some getting used to for some of our pups.

  4. Hi Jet!

    Lucky for us OCTA coordinates most of this event. I just coordinate our group. It’s a lot of fun especially seeing all the different types of service dogs. A few years back we met and talked to a cadaver dog in training and his handler.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hey Stetson, Hey Linus, Jet here. Hi Mr. Colby.

    May we thank you again for all you do. What a pawesome event you coordinated. Thank you for sharing your insight and bringing public transportation to our attention. We would not have thought much about the subject. Your pictures brought the event to life. 🙂

  6. It’s a great day. As I mentioned in the article if anyone has a service dog in training or therapy dog and you’re in southern California I highly recommend attending this event.

  7. Maybe next year! I love this outing because OCTA sets everything up and I really don’t have to do anything. Plus you get to see all the different service dog groups in the same place.

  8. Yep, at least one dog helped me get a little bit of mischief into the blog post. I was lucky to get a good picture of him too.

  9. I agree. It would be a great experience for all dogs. I don’t think they allow regular pets at this outing otherwise I would have brought Stetson along.

  10. Yeah, I love taking my boys out for walks. It’s great after a stressful day. They allowed therapy animals at our bus training day. Do you know if they have therapy turtles?

  11. Aww, that looks like so much fun. What a great way for these dogs to learn about riding in public transportation.

  12. I always miss this outing! It looks like a lot of fun and a great way for the dogs to experience public transportation! OCTA and Knott’s are super generous to do this for all of the puppies in training!

  13. Looks like you had one puppy who thought it was Monday Mischief. That’s an awesome picture of the puppies on the bus. 🙂

  14. What a great way to train the dogs. I would think that would be good socialization for all dogs whether they are going to be service dogs or not. The more experiences the better.

  15. Yep, even our puppies in training will get into mischief from time to time. This event is the first Saturday of October every year and open to therapy dogs as well. You should come visit that weekend and you can ride the bus and get into Knott’s Berry Farm for free.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  16. We haven’t taken any of our puppies on an airplane yet, but one of our outings is to the airport where we get to go through the security check points. I bet Kuster will get the chance to ride on the bus and train sometime in the future.

  17. It was an awesome experience and tons of different service dogs attended. It’s great to meet all the different types of dogs. A few years ago I met a cadaver dog in training.

  18. Hey Colby,

    What a fun way to learn about riding on the bus!! I loved that one of the pups found the time for a little Mischief!! Tee Hee

    Unfortunately where I live I’m not allowed on the bus, but it looks like lots of fun, so maybe one day I’ll get to ride the bus too? 🙂

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  19. That looks like a fabulous outing! I hear that there’s a good chance that Kuster will ride an airplane one day, and he’s trained on riding a boat, but he’s never been on a bus or train. At least, not yet. lol

  20. That looks like a great idea. And who doesn’t love Knotts Berry Farm.

  21. It’s really a great outing and I love that OCTA puts it together for us every year. Our dogs definitely learn a lot on this outing.

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