21 puppies get a taste of service dog training

Job training is hard. There are so many new things to learn and so many new people to meet. It can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially if you’re a little puppy getting ready for an important role as a service dog.

Though the training is fun at this stage and their oversized vests and harnesses make them look incredibly cute, these dogs are heading for serious business. Some are destined for work in law enforcement or search and rescue. Others will offer assistance to veterans or people with disabilities or special needs. The puppy above, for example, is in training with the Puppy Jake Foundation to be a service dog for wounded military veterans.

And there’s this future K-9 officer, below. Right now, he might be tuckered out by this huge ball, but soon he’ll have amazing stamina and some pretty impressive powers of persuasion.

This police dog puppy is stopping the bad guys with his sheer cuteness.
At this stage, this police dog puppy could stop the bad guys with sheer cuteness. (Photo: National Police Dog Foundation/Facebook)

When they wear their bright yellow vests, Guide Dogs of America puppies are in training to one day help blind and visually impaired people. Training takes a lot of concentration, so good thing there are a lot of breaks.

three sleeping guide dog puppies
Training is hard work. (Photo: Guide Dogs of America/Facebook)

Gavel the German shepherd puppy lost his job with the Queensland Police Service in Australia because he was too nice during training. He tried his best, but his overly friendly nature got him ousted as a police pup. Instead, he got a new job as Vice Regal Dog for the Queensland governor. With his career change, he’s a hit on social media and allowed to be as friendly as he wants.

Gavel the German shepherd puppy police dog dropout
In his early days as a police puppy, Gavel just didn’t have the temperament for the job. (Photo: Governor of Queensland/Facebook)

Puppies that will wear harnesses as adults are trained to wear them from a very early age as puppies. This little guy from Southeastern Guide Dogs wears a mock harness that is nearly as big as he is.

service puppy wears tiny harness
‘Seriously. What is this thing?’ (Photo: Southeastern Guide Dogs/Facebook)

Hamish, a 9-week-old Redbone hound, was donated to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. To prepare for his future work hunting down escapees, the soulful-eyed pup is practicing by playing lots of hide and seek.

Hamish the redbone hound
Hamish is training to hunt down escapees. (Photo: Oklahoma Department of Corrections/Facebook)

The mostly retriever pups at Canine Assistants are in training to become service dogs for children and adults who have physical disabilities, seizure conditions or other special needs. The training is challenging and fun and tasty rewards come often.

puppies eating peanut butter
A tasty treat after a long day of training and playing. (Photo: Canine Assistants/Facebook)

Most puppies have a goofy side, but they know when it’s time to take things seriously. Take a look at the concentration on this K-9 cadet’s face.

This future police dog shows some serious concentration skills.
This future police dog shows some serious focus. (Photo: National Police Dog Foundation/Facebook)

When disaster strikes, comfort dogs head to the scene to help everyone from rescue workers to survivors cope with the trauma and loss. For a comfort dog-in-training, sometimes the importance of the job can be overwhelming.

comfort dog and puppy
Sometimes even comfort dogs need a little comfort. (Photo: Lutheran Church Charities/Facebook)

Training isn’t all done in a boring environment. Service dogs typically get to go to all sorts of places so they feel comfortable everywhere.

guide dog puppy at Waterton National Park
BC & Alberta Guide Dog Ivy got to train at lovely Waterton National Park in Alberta. (Photo: BC & Alberta Guide Dogs/Facebook)

And they even get to mingle with other service pups in training. Some wear their working clothes off-duty, while others dress down.

K-9 cadets socialize with civilians.
K-9 cadets socialize at a puppy mixer. (Photo: National Police Dog Foundation/Facebook)

One of the newest members of Taiwan’s police force will one day be on the job sniffing for bombs and drugs. But right now, he can barely keep his eyes open. (And that sure is a big collar to fill.)

NPA puppy sleeping
Already falling asleep on the job. (Photo: Director of the Office of the NPA/Facebook)

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

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