Year of the NEADS Dog Month 3 – Puppy’s First Field Trip

Year of the Dog Library

Our Year of the NEADS Dog series, in which we highlight the transition our Service Dogs in Training make during their first year with us, continues with the next big step for our puppy – meeting its Weekend Puppy Raiser and venturing out into public.

After spending two weekends in prison to bond with the inmate handler and get used to the new surroundings, the pup is ready to meet its Weekend Puppy Raiser. This volunteer will take the puppy home most weekends for the next 12 to 18 months to work on house manners, socialization, and maintaining obedience work that is taught during the week in prison. This is guided by NEADS staff and follows well-established guidelines and procedures.

The puppy spends its first weekend getting to know its Raiser and new weekend home. Field trips start the second weekend. The main goal of these first field trips (Level 1) is for the pup feel comfortable out in public. With his Raiser, he goes to low-key, quiet places, like libraries, smaller playgrounds or parks, quiet stores, gas stations, and coffee shops. As the pup grows and advances through the 14 field trip levels, the exposure to people, smells, activities, and sounds is increased. Pups typically spend about a month on each level.

Follow our Year of the NEADS Dog series here.