Monday, April 2, 2012

Service Puppies at the Airport

At some point in their lives, service dogs may find themselves in an airplane 30,000 feet above the ground. To help prepare them for this experience, we take our dogs to the airport while their still in training.

On Saturday, our puppies in training went to the Harrisburg International Airport. Everyone met in the parking garage, and we gave the dogs the chance to potty. While service dogs must always be given the opportunity to potty before entering a building, it’s especially important when entering an airport because they may not have another opportunity for several hours.

To enter the airport, there are both regular doors and rotating doors. We took the dogs through the rotating doors to give them the chance to experience it. If you practice this with your dog, be extremely careful that you and your dog are both safely in the door space before you start turning the door.

Once we were all inside, we headed to security. HIA was wonderful! They opened up a private line for us so that all of our dogs could gain experience without interfering with people trying to get through security to board their flights. Our dogs were able to go through security twice. The first time, our dogs and puppy raisers went through the metal detector and the dogs were patted down. The second time, the TSO used the wands to scan the dogs. Our puppy raisers did a great job keeping the dogs calm and focused so the TSOs could do their job! All of our dogs did great!

Thank you to the Transportation Security Administration at HIA for being so accommodating!

After all of our dogs had the chance to go through security twice, we went down to baggage claim to practice walking on a loose leash and to get the dogs used to being in that area. The baggage claim belts can be very strange to a dog, and they beep before they start moving.

The one thing we didn’t do was go through security with luggage. Service dogs need to have an excellent down-stay for that because they need to be in a down-stay while you take off your shoes, put your luggage and personal items on the belt. Then they need to be in a down-stay while you gather all your items back together.

Tomorrow we’ll share a post about what you can expect when you actually fly with your service dog.


  1. So fun - our group is doing something similar at our local airport on Thursday!

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  6. I would say it all went great. those puppies are great. the cuties seem to be well trained. cheap gatwick parking

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