Military Working Dogs (MWDs) dogs belonging to members of United States forces are being evacuated from Afghanistan. The MWDs and their handlers waited to be picked up on the tarmac as hundreds of Afghans attempt to flee the Taliban. The MWDs were reported to have been reserved their own seats on flights, with images appearing to show dogs sitting on airplane seats alongside handlers. Images also show the animals waiting to board flights at the international airport with their handlers. Senior US military officials say the city's international airport has been closed to commercial flights as military evacuations continue.
In early 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) updated Service Dog travel rules for Service Dog travel by air. In a nutshell, the new DOT Service Dog rules ban Emotional Support Animals on planes and require all Service Dog handlers to fill out two forms at least 48 hours prior to traveling. One of the new DOT Service Animal forms concerns training and behavior and the other health and wellness. For dogs joining their partner on flights longer than 8 hours, an elimination habits form will also be required. The new updates also change the definition of "Service Animal," for the purposes of flying, to include only dogs. No other species of animal, including miniature horses, will be recognized. Ideally, the new DOT rules will ensure dogs traveling in the passenger compartment of the plane are well-behaved and trained for public access. While there's a little more work required on the part of Service Dog handlers prior to flying, overall, the new process is more streamlined. All airlines will utilize the standardized DOT forms. Owner-trained teams, teams which trained under an individual trainer or organization are all treated the same Owner-trainers (people who have trained their own dog), those who have worked with a private trainer or organization-trained dogs will utilize the same form. The forms do require the name of a trainer, however if you've trained your dog yourself or if you no longer have contact with the trainer who originally worked with you (which is extremely common) you may use your own name or that of another trainer as long as you and your animal can meet Service Dog Standards. Some airlines, like American Airlines, allow electronic submission of the forms, whereas others require the forms to be emailed or brought to the desk. Copies of the 2021 Service Dog travel forms can be downloaded here. The new updates also address and standardize a few other common Service Dog travel concerns. Per the DOT, the 2021 Service Animal Final Rule: Defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained by an owner-trainer, individual trainer or training organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal; Requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals; Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s
Dog Trainers have a tough job. Not only do they train animals — but they also have what is often a far more difficult task: training humans. And with Service Dogs, a trainer's job is even harder. Service Dog Standards helps trainers make sure that their clients understand not only their rights, but their responsibilities as well. How Service Dog Standards Works for Trainers If you're a trainer and you currently train Service Dogs or would like to begin, create an account on Service Dog Standards. Then, set up your free business or organization page. It's so robust, you can even use it in place of a website — no hosting fees or other costs of any kind. If you have a domain name, you can even forward it directly to your SDS profile page. From there, it's easy to invite clients to join. Example of a Service Dog Trainer profile page on Service Dog Standards Service Dog Standards features: · Free for trainers and handlers forever · Public profile page for service dog handlers with a secure resume · Business listings for dog trainers and breeders · Robust tools to manage service dog puppy candidates, graduates, washouts and more · Manage multiple service animals and their status · Secure training and ownership history · Clear explanation of expectations for service dog trainers and handlers · Service Dog Standards Public Access Test · Service Dog Standards Training and Behavior Standards · Template and guidance for getting a physician letter · Information to help the public better understand the complexities of Service Dogs In addition to these features, Service Dog Standards has a supportive online community of nearly 20,000 service animal trainers, handlers and their families, friends and fans. Check out their website at www.servicedogstandards.org. Based on over a decade of input from experienced service dog trainers and handlers, Service Dog Standards clearly lays out what is expected in terms of training, public behavior and more. Service Dog Standards aims to encourage adherence to the ADA and increase public trust through technology and education.