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Anxious Dogs Learn To Relax On OCTA Buses

Free training teaches service animals how to navigate public transportation and be comfortable with their surroundings

ORANGE – Nerves and anxiety strike dogs just as they do humans, and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is offering training to service animals and their handlers to help ease those reactions when riding the bus.

Training will be held on Sat., Oct. 4 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Fullerton Park ‘n Ride, 3000 W. Orangethorpe Ave. in Fullerton.

Many animals experience apprehension from vibrations and noise made by the bus and from the opening and closing of the bus doors, making the ride difficult for the animal and handler.

During OCTA’s training, service dogs and their handlers will have an opportunity to ride the bus in a controlled environment. They can board and exit multiple times and ride for an extended period of time to become familiar with the experience. The training has helped more than 500 animals over the past 10 years.

Gail Meinert, a volunteer service dog trainer, has attended OCTA’s program for the past three years. She trains each of her service dogs for approximately 15 months and makes it a priority to teach the dogs how to ride public transportation

"Many people we provide service animals to ride the bus frequently, however trainers may not, so the animals are not taught how to ride," said Meinert. "This training is an important opportunity for handlers to give the dogs time to experience the bus."

World-renowned dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan, recently counseled an OCTA rider and her service dog on the popular National Geographic Channel show the "Dog Whisperer." Anita Brandenburg and Beau, her anxiety-ridden service dog, appeared on the show Sept. 12.

Millan successfully rehabilitated Beau by modeling "good behavior" with repetition and positive reinforcement. The Dog Whisperer said he was impressed with OCTA bus services in Orange County.

For training information, contact Pam Peters at (714) 265-4387 or

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Joel Zlotnik

Communications Manager
(714) 560-5713

Adam Raley

Communications Specialist, Principal
(714) 560-5510

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Eric Carpenter

Communications Specialist, Senior
(714) 560-5697

Megan Abba

Communications Specialist, Senior
(714) 560-5671


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