Brace and Mobility Support Dogs are a type of Service Dog trained to provide their disabled handler with assistance moving from place to place. This invaluable service is matched only by these dogs’ ability to also help with other chores and tasks, like opening doors or retrieving dropped items. Due to the unique nature of their work, though, Brace and Mobility Support Dogs have special needs. Read on to learn more!
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