Dogs Learn to Fly: Hollywood Flight Simulator Helps Anxious Dogs

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dogs Learn to Fly: Hollywood Flight Simulator Helps Anxious Dogs

Dogs may not have wings, but for $349 you can teach your dog how to fly.

In carriers, on planes, that is.

How many times have you had trouble getting your pooch, carrier and your luggage all through security while trying to keep your anxious dog calm?

Air Hollywood, a company that says it will help you and your pooch navigate the flying experience a bit better, is helping dog parents and their pooches get through security a little easier, as well as tolerate turbulence a bit more smoothly.

Talaat Captan, president and CEO of Air Hollywood came up with the idea for classes when he noticed a person and their pooch having trouble getting through airport security.

"The owner was stressed out and the dog was freaking out," Captan told Today. "I figured, 'Why don't I train those people?'"  

The classes are for dogs that travel in the cabin, which includes small dogs less than 20 pounds and will be traveling in carriers or service or guide dogs (airline pre-approval with documentation is typically required). The classes aren’t designed for dogs that have to fly in the cargo departments (we strongly suggest using caution when allowing a dog to be placed as “cargo.”)

Classes are held in a studio simulator that mimics the real airport experience. The class uses the same studio where parts of 500 movies were made, including "Bridesmaids" and "Kill Bill." Television scenes from "The Newsroom," “Modern Family," and "NCIS," have also been filmed at the location.

Megan Blake, a former actress and a friend of Captan’s, wrote the curriculum for the classes, which includes dealing with blaring announcements. Hollywood extras act as airport crowds and personnel, simulated take offs, landings and even luggage carts.

The company used 60 Guide Dogs for the Blind in a test class where some of the human participants with a fear of flying thought the simulation felt so real that they actually felt the same anxiety as they do at a real airport.

The classes will be open to the public on October 19 and will be held once every 1-2 months in L.A.

Editor’s Note: Dogs in suitcase via Shutterstock

Have you ever flown with your dog? Would you invest in such a training program to make it easier?  

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