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Pooches given in-flight training

Monday September 16th 2013

Dogs who rack up the air miles are being given a helping hand by a new training programme.

The Air Hollywood class uses actors, a real fuselage and a flight simulator to replicate what it is like in an airport and on a plane. Trained dog therapists work with owner and pooch to make sure both have a safe and calm flight.

The training takes place in a Hollywood film studio and uses a sound stage with the simulator to mimic take-off, turbulence and landing. The actors form crowds and fellow passengers, while there are also luggage carts, loud announcements and security checks - all things that are commonplace on flights and can cause a dog to become stressed.

Talaat Captan, president of Air Hollywood, came up with the idea after spotting a dog owner having a trouble getting a pet through airport security.

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

His friend, Megan Blake, a former actress, teaches the class with three other instructors and her dog Super Smiley. Ms Blake is also an animal trainer and lifestyle coach, as well as having a psychology degree.

"There are no numbers on how many pets are taking to the skies, but they have become essential parts of a growing number of families and travelling with them for work and play is becoming more common," said Kim Cunningham, a spokesman for the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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