Thursday, January 8, 2015

Five Tips for a Successful Farm Show Visit

It’s Farm Show time! The Pennsylvania Farm Show starts on Saturday, January 10. If you’re from Central PA, you’ve probably been counting down the days till you could get a milkshake from the PA Farm Show.

This is the largest indoor agricultural exhibit in the United States, and between the animals, produce, competitive exhibits, and vendors, and of course, the butter sculpture, there’s lots to see. And then there’s the food!

The Farm Show is a great experience for our service dogs in training. We usually take our advanced training dogs at least once. Because there are so many smells, crowds, and food on the floor, it’s a very challenging outing. Here are five tips to help you and your service dog in training have a successful trip.

Bring Amazing Power Treats
The Farm Show is chock full of things to distract your dog. You’re going to be competing with animals, food, and crowds of people for your dog’s attention. Make sure you pull out all the stops and bring amazing power treats. If your usual power treats are hotdogs, consider bringing something even better, like hamburger, chicken, or leftover steak. You want your dog to say “Wow, I want more of that!” so they stay focused on you instead of trying to vacuum the Food Court floor.

Plan a Short Visit
The Farm Show is a very challenging outing. While you might want to spend a few hours walking around to see everything, your dog may only be able to handle 30 minutes. Plan to keep your visit short and only stay as long as your dog is being successful.

Be Aware of the Other Animals’ Reactions
It’s a great experience for your dog to walk through the exhibits of horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens. However, these other animals might not be happy being around your dog. Please keep an eye on the other animals’ reactions to your dog, and if they seem distressed, remove your dog, even if your dog is being perfectly calm.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
The Farm Show is usually crowded, and many people will want to pet your dog. Don’t be afraid to say no if your dog can’t handle a greeting at that time or if you just want to keep your dog focused on you. Of course, the Farm Show is also a good opportunity to practice greetings if you think your dog will be successful.

Don’t Expect Perfection
We said it earlier, but we’ll say it again. The Farm Show is a hard outing. Your dog will not be perfect. Be patient and celebrate the small successes your dog has.

Do you have other tips for navigating the Farm Show with your service dog in training? Leave them in the comments.

Have fun and enjoy your Farm Show milkshake!

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