New Training Program

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) – Public Safety and Airline Dilemma

Cell Dogs’ new training program addresses the airline industry’s new regulations regarding the travel of ESAs. We are here to help! Read on and feel free to contact us for more information.

Have you ever traveled on a bus or airplane and it seemed more like a veterinarian’s office? In recent years, people seem to be taking their pet dogs everywhere. And some are purchasing an unofficial “jacket” online in order to falsely claim their pet is a service dog, entitling them to the rights and privileges afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

These faux service dogs have created huge problems for all types of venues, and especially for individuals who have fully-trained service dogs. These pets are obviously well-loved by their owners but most often not well trained nor socialized to act appropriately in public places.

On March 1st, 2021, the airline industry implemented a strict set of guidelines stating that only service dogs, trained by recognized organizations and trainers, were permitted on airplanes free of charge. ESAs are no longer permitted to fly for free in the open cabin and will have to be crated.

This new mandate created an opportunity for us to develop a customized evaluation and training program for individuals who truly need their ESA/pet dogs to accompany them in public. These individuals had letters from their licensed mental health professionals verifying their need.

The initial evaluations were eye-opening for our clients. Since they hadn’t realized the stringent requirements for fully-trained service dogs, they recognized the need for a customized training program to achieve that level of competency.

All our clients were committed to getting their dog appropriately trained. This entailed 3-4 months of training sessions and the successful passing of a recognized Public Access Test to complete the course. Confident that their dogs were well trained and socialized for all types of public environments, we were happy to sign the required TSA documents for them. (To maintain that level of training, all clients will be re-evaluated each year to obtain a new set of authorized TSA documents.)

The price for the evaluation and final Public Access Test (PAT) certification is $750. There are additional fees for any training sessions necessary to pass the PAT. Please contact our office for additional pricing info.

Pictured above is Cooper, our first ESA turned service dog. Congratulations on your hard work!

Please share our contact information with people interested in securing the necessary training and documents to satisfy airline and TSA requirements. Thank you!

Learn more about air travel with ESAs from this Wall Street Journal article. Always check with your airline for specific requirements.

PDF version:

Emotional-Support Animals Are Banned-WSJ_