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From obedience to agility: A day in the life of a service dog-in-training

At the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia, service dogs go through a rigorous training course, including search and rescue, obedience and agility drills in order to eventually fill a variety of jobs helping people.

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    So a typical day for a working dog here at Penn Vet working dog center- they start out at home with their fosters — which is a very important part of our program so that the dogs are experiencing life in a home, and getting manners and getting out to different places with our fosters.

    Then, when they come in, they're assigned different tasks from our curriculum. And that might be anything from obedience to agility to searches to impulse control and fit to work program as well. Their trainer would then be taking them out to do an obedience exercise, to do a search and rescue exercise — she'll do building searches as well up in our warehouse building in old classrooms we have on campus. She thoroughly enjoys that.

    We do little puppy runaways and just do a lot of play, get them engaged with their special trainer and the volunteers that are here, and that people are just a lot of fun to be with. And we get them engaged with our reward systems.

    We really fill their day pretty well so that when they head back with our fosters at night, our goal is that they sleep well and we get reports back that: 'wow you must have done a lot today with our puppy because they slept really well and were really quiet.'

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