LOS ANGELES — For $349, your dog can learn to fly.
Security checks and bumpy air are all in a day’s training at a Hollywood film studio to prepare your dog for a safe and calm flight.
The Air Hollywood class is a real fuselage on a sound stage with a simulator that mimics takeoff, turbulence and landing. Hollywood extras create crowds and chaos that come with terminals, luggage carts and the blare announcing arrivals, delays and departures.
The idea was the brainchild of Talaat Captan, president and CEO of Air Hollywood, the world’s largest aviation-themed film studio, who noticed a dog owner having a rough go getting a pooch through airport security.
“The owner was stressed out and the dog was freaking out,” Captan said. “I figured, ‘Why don’t I train those people?’”
He hired his friend Megan Blake to write a program and teach the class with three other instructors and her dog Super Smiley. An actress, animal trainer and lifestyle coach, Blake also has a psychology degree from Georgia Tech.
With more dogs racking up air miles these days, it makes sense to take obedience school to a new level, said Heidi Heubner, who directs volunteers, including airport therapy dogs, at Los Angeles World Airport.
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 traveling with them for work and play is becoming more common, said Kim Cunningham, a spokesman for the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association in Texas.
The class is using the same studio where parts of “Bridesmaids,” “Kill Bill” and 500 other movies were made. Television scenes from “NCIS,” “Modern Family” and “The Newsroom” have also been filmed there.
Last year, Air Hollywood conducted a test class with 60 puppies from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“Some of the handlers were more nervous than the dogs because they don’t like to fly,” said Rick Wilcox, who oversees puppy-training in Southern California. “It was amazing how realistic it was.”
Two things are deliberately absent in the simulated airport: the smell of jet fuel and a change in cabin pressure that makes your ears pop.
A guide dog takes longer and costs more than any other dog to train because they must be the eyes of their companion. So it wasn’t surprising “that they all went through with flying colors,” Blake said.