For the first time ever, Air Hollywood, an aviation-themed film studio in Los Angeles, is offering a unique service for dogs – classes to help man’s best friend overcome fear of flying.
The idea for the school came to ‘Air Hollywood’ owner Talaat Captan, after he witnessed an uptight dog and an equally uptight owner struggling to pass through airport security. “There was a light bulb right on top of my head, saying, I have all these big facilities, millions of dollars’ worth of sets, why don’t I do something really useful? And that’s how it all started,” he said. So he developed the concept for the fear of flying school, and it turned out to be a big hit with pet owners.
“Getting to practice it, I would feel comfortable going on an airplane with my dog. I would know exactly what to do.” said Stacey Huckbea, one of the instructors at the school. The dogs and their owners are trained quite thoroughly on the entire aviation experience – checking in, going through the terminal, TSA screening, and boarding an airplane. The school also simulates take off turbulence and landing in a fake airplane that sits on a working sound stage used for TV and movie productions.
Photo: video caption
Some of the students include dogs that are being trained to help owners with disabilities. Sandy Alexander, owner of a service dog, said: “He’s never been on a plane before and he’s never been in an airport before and so when we got on the simulator, the turbulence, when that started, he was pretty agitated. He looked up at me and wasn’t sure what was going on. I think we’re going to be prepared the next time.”
So if you want to teach your dog how to fly, the Air Hollywood fear of flying school is probably as close as you’re ever going to get. Unless you want to turn him into a creepy flying machine.