Zari is almost nine months old now and her puppy raiser felt like she was ready for a new adventure. Flying!

Zari packed her bags and headed to Sedona, Arizona with her puppy raiser on Southwest Airlines. Not only did they have a blast, but they also had great opportunities for socialization.

After taking a bus ride to the airport, Zari maintained a perfect “let’s go,” a command that requires the dog to walk nicely next to their handler, in the busy Sacramento airport. She was instructed to “wait,” a command used when asking the dog to hold their current position until given another command, while getting through the security checkpoint. Zari waited while her puppy raiser walked through the metal detector and then came when called without hesitation.

What a great opportunity to stay calm and collected in a busy environment! Zari did wonderfully and earned the respect of the TSA agents and fellow travelers. If a puppy can travel by air prior to professional training it gives them exposure to the sights and sounds of an airport and the feel of a rumbling airplane, an experience that can be helpful for their future as an assistance dog.

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A command that all Canine Companions® puppy raisers teach the pups they’re raising early on is “hurry.” This means the puppy will toilet appropriately when directed to do so. When traveling, puppies will undoubtedly be unable to access a toileting area for a few hours. This command becomes very important at these times when the pup needs to “take care of business” at the appropriate time. Zari is great at this.

Once Zari and her puppy raiser boarded the flight, Zari stayed content in a “down” under the seat in front of her. The flight attendants fell in love with Zari and in true Golden Retriever fashion, the feeling was mutual.

Once at their destination, they hiked around beautiful Sedona. Zari did very well walking by the other hikers, pet dogs and a ton of mountain bikes. More casual socialization outings like these are fun for puppies and people alike, and sometimes the puppy experiences things they wouldn’t have otherwise – like mountain bikers doing awesome tricks!

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