Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Career for Harriet

SSD Harriet is well on her way to developing a new career. She’s learning how to be a bomb detection dog for the CIA.

To become a service dog, a dog must have a certain temperament, and we always think about what would be best for the dog and the dog’s potential partner. We want to make sure that service dog work is a good fit for the dog. Although Harriet may not have been well-suited to service dog work, that doesn’t mean she’s not suited for another career. She loves to train and work, so we’re very happy that she’s starting a new career with the CIA.

Her puppy raisers took her to Virginia to start her new training. They met her trainer, who showed them around the building and explained how she will be trained. Her training is actually going to be very similar to her training through SSD. She will be trained with classical conditioning to imprint different smells. When she smells a certain scent, she gets treated for touching her nose to the correct spot.

Harriet also met her new work partner. She spent some time playing with him, and then Peter, Harriet’s puppy raiser, had her demonstrate some of the things she learned during her SSD training. She is going to live with a family, including four children and two dogs.

When she’s on the job, she’ll accompany her partner in a car that’s specially outfitted for dogs. It has a special seat for Harriet, as well as automatic fans, air conditioning, and an alarm to alert when the car gets too hot for her. She may even learn how to ride in a helicopter and spend some time overseas with her partner.

Harriet is a very smart pup, and her puppy raisers worked very hard with her to build her skills. We have no doubt that she’ll take to her new training and become a great partner and bomb detection dog.