service dog

travel etiquette

There are very little hard-fast rules about how service dogs may travel when with their handler, but there are some general etiquette points we find important for Jude.

Olivia lives in West Virginia, so that means Jude will be flying sometime next year to join her. With Jude trained and ready to be by her side, Olivia will hopefully be able to continue traveling and socializing as she used to. While Jude is still young and simply training to be a suitable candidate, it’s important that we establish some boundaries and expectations with him early on so they become second-nature to him. One of these expectations is how he travels with us.

Obedient service dog using public transportation

Service dogs are legally permitted into most places and modes of transportation. There are different rules and regulations depending on many factors, but one way to be sure Jude is prepared for his job is to train him on WHERE to be during travel outings. While on a plane, bus, or train, he most likely will be expected to lie by Olivia’s feet to remain out of the way due to his size.

It’s similar to asking others to keep their walkers or oxygen tanks near them so that people can move about the cabin in case of emergencies.

One way we’re preparing Jude for this type of travel is by frequently taking him on car rides right now with him calmly lying on the floor of the car. He is currently placed nearest to our youngest daughter to get used to having human body parts close to him while remaining calm in such a tight space.

He is currently expected to lie down until prompted to do otherwise. This means when we drop the kids off at school, he can’t try rushing out of the car.

Luckily for us (and Jude), this came very naturally to him from the beginning. So instead of actively training for it, we’re working on capturing and shaping this behavior. This means that instead of having to lure him into the position, he is heavily paid when he does it naturally and we’re working on making it better each time.

Since he’s just a puppy, our expectations aren’t too high for him right now. Plus, with him being a future psychiatric service dog, access to touch in order to task for Olivia is important. With these things in mind, we aren’t correcting him for resting his head calmly on the seat. Our only rule is “no licking!”

As long as he’s calm and remaining in his bubble, he’s doing perfect!

Jude taking in the scenery 11/10/2022