Company Sponsorship Or Paid CDL Training W/Pet-FRIENDLY Policy?

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K.O. & Jack-Attack's Comment
member avatar

Hi, I'm having a really really hard time finding a trucking company.

I can't find paid CDL training that has an acceptable pet policy. My dog is not neutered, he is 46 lbs, and I am not willing to crate him during travel. I'm also not interested in a mandatory "no pets on customer property" rule; I am open to companies that allow it on a case-to-case basis upon requesting from the customer location though. I also live in Illinois which is a closed state to get my CDL, I do have my CLP though. My dog is also a registered and certified service dog for emotional support complying with ADA.

I can't get into paid CDL training with my dog anywhere for some reason or another. I'm even losing hope for company sponsorships with an acceptable pet policy for my baby. I'm always denied for one reason or another, some because I'm an Illinois resident, some because my dog is a few pounds over their anerexic dog weight limits, some because team training requires several days out and can't have the dog with the trainer, some because I won't crate him during travel, some because he's not neutered, some because I won't be allowed to ask the customer location if it's okay to take my dog out for a few minutes, some who outright discriminate against me for having my service dog instead of taking anti-depressant prescriptions because they don't want dogs in the truck, some that only do paid CDL training for current CDL holders, some that don't have lodging to their training centers and don't provide travel from where I at. It's always something for one reason or another.

Can someone please help? Does anyone know of a trucking company doing paid CDL training or company sponsorship that will take an Illinois resident, that has lodging, and has an acceptable pet-FRIENDLY policy or will be willing to waive the pet policy due to being a licensed service dog and doesn't require 2-3 weeks out in team driving during training? I've now gone through literally dozens of trucking companies! PLEASE HELP!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I'm not aware of any company that will train you and allow you to bring a pet at the same time. It's too much of a distraction, no matter how well-behaved the pet.

What happens if your pet needs an emergency vet visit during your training when you are on a timeline with a loaded trailer? Not too many time outs out here.

K.O. & Jack-Attack's Comment
member avatar

I'm not aware of any company that will train you and allow you to bring a pet at the same time. It's too much of a distraction, no matter how well-behaved the pet.

What happens if your pet needs an emergency vet visit during your training when you are on a timeline with a loaded trailer? Not too many time outs out here.

My friend went through Swift a few years back, and he got me motivated to start a trucking career. He made it sound do good, that I'd be able to bring my dog, and told me I'll be back at the hotel or training lodge each night. I recently found out that some companies don't do it that way, and I'm out 2-3 weeks in team driving without getting back to the hotel or lodging. So I see your point in the instance of not getting back each night in training, but in a lot of the training your back at the hotel or lodging each night. I wouldn't be bringing him to class or in the truck during training, he'd be in the hotel or room for all that. In my current situation, I have no choice but to bring him with me. All pet-sitting is closed until further notice due to covid-19, so PetSmart, etc. Is not an option.

I think it's absurd that trucking companies go through the trouble to make it available for truckers to bring their beloved dog with them, but impose absurd weight limits like 40 and 30 lbs. The most frequent weight limit I've seen has been 40 lbs so far. I have a Hangin' Tree Cowdog, he's not even as large as a Lab, and most dog owners have regular sized dogs, and mine is smaller than most regular sized dogs. Caging policies are also absurd when you think about it, I mean a semi cabin is already a "cage". There's got to be at least one trucking company out there that will take an Illinois resident, that has a 50lb (or higher) dog weight limit, that won't tell me to cage him, or require me to snip my poor baby's bollocks, and let me inquire individually at customer locations if it's okay to let him out for a few minutes, and where I'll be back in the room each night for the training portion.

I can't afford CDL training as an out-of-pocket expenses to go with a company that requires a CDL before applying, for a good pet policy accommodation, so I'm forced to go through dozens of paid CDL training applications and dozens of company sponsorship applications over and over and over again. There's got to be at least one company out there.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

Not the most glamorous route but have you considered getting started as a school bus driver? Most school districts around me have big signs advertising paid training and a guaranteed job. That would at least get you a class B CDL and keep you home.

Maybe that could tide you over until you can work out something with the dog.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Keep in mind (also) that ANY "company based training", is going to require you to be OTR for a period of time with another driver (trainer), in THEIR TRUCK.

An already crowded and distracting environment gets more so - adding a pet into the equation. And not all trainers (probably NONE) are going to want SOMEONE ELSES DOG ON THEIR TRUCK.

Post-training - on YOUR OWN TRUCK - with a pet policy (and damage deposit) - clear sailing. But you cannot expect a company to accomodate a pet - even under ADA rules for "service dog accommodations". A rule that is being stretched to it's limits by everyone calling their pet a "service animal" - not that YOU are taking advantage of this classification, but SO MANY ARE - that it's causing people with legitimate service animals to come under even more scrutiny.

I get it - I have a "certified service animal" myself. And I think the 24 hours I spent in the hospital a few months ago, is the longest we've been separated since the day I picked her up. Leaving my dog behind - yet another of my long list of excuses why I haven't hit the road yet - even though I've held a CDL for 11 years now (as evidenced by how long I've been here on the forum). And she's 90lbs - so getting her on a truck with me is not happening (by company rules, AND getting her big butt in and out of a TT).

Pet size limits - are to prevent damage to equipment and distractions to drivers. Crate requirements (which I agree are ridiculous on their face), are to keep a pet from potentially distracting you while driving.

In order to avoid "running afoul" of ADA complications - many companies are simply going to say NO - service dog or not. And in a "safety sensitive industry", they're going to have a little more leeway in denying service animals - or setting rules so restrictive that it's just not worth bringing one.

And as I mentioned earlier - you cannot expect a trainer to accomodate SOMEONE ELSES DOG ON THEIR TRUCK - not matter how much they like dogs, or how friendly yours is. There just isn't enough room for two people and a large dog.

The long & short of it is - if you want to get company training, you are going to have to find someplace to park your dog, until you complete training and get your own truck. Even the suggestion of school bus driving is likely going to create LIABILITY ISSUES for the school district around bringing your dog.

My dog is a ROAD DOG - she has thousands of well behaved miles on her, since she was 9 weeks old. She will lick you to death - or tear your limbs off on command. Has countless hours of obedience, agility, socialization under her belt. I couldn't imagine spending a day away from her - much less the months of training, much less trying to convince a company my 90lb rottweiler, is actually a 30lb pekingese.

0376806001601383073.jpg

So - sadly - there's really no getting around having to leave the doggo behind - if only for your training period. So I guess you're going to have to wait out the C-19 farce, find someone you trust to keep him for a few months (trust someone with my dog - that'll happen) and go get trained and out solo. There's probably a little more "wiggle room" in pet policies once you get some miles (and time) under your belt. But as a "new entrant" into the industry - you really can't expect a company to go too far out of their way to accommodate someones dog during training (ADA or not).

I have a buddy who's been driving for a few years now - he's got a pitt & shepard on his truck (solo). Works for BM Transport currently. But they're NOT a training company (2 years OTR experience I believe).

Rick

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
K.O. & Jack-Attack's Comment
member avatar

Keep in mind (also) that ANY "company based training", is going to require you to be OTR for a period of time with another driver (trainer), in THEIR TRUCK.

An already crowded and distracting environment gets more so - adding a pet into the equation. And not all trainers (probably NONE) are going to want SOMEONE ELSES DOG ON THEIR TRUCK.

Post-training - on YOUR OWN TRUCK - with a pet policy (and damage deposit) - clear sailing. But you cannot expect a company to accomodate a pet - even under ADA rules for "service dog accommodations". A rule that is being stretched to it's limits by everyone calling their pet a "service animal" - not that YOU are taking advantage of this classification, but SO MANY ARE - that it's causing people with legitimate service animals to come under even more scrutiny.

I get it - I have a "certified service animal" myself. And I think the 24 hours I spent in the hospital a few months ago, is the longest we've been separated since the day I picked her up. Leaving my dog behind - yet another of my long list of excuses why I haven't hit the road yet - even though I've held a CDL for 11 years now (as evidenced by how long I've been here on the forum). And she's 90lbs - so getting her on a truck with me is not happening (by company rules, AND getting her big butt in and out of a TT).

Pet size limits - are to prevent damage to equipment and distractions to drivers. Crate requirements (which I agree are ridiculous on their face), are to keep a pet from potentially distracting you while driving.

In order to avoid "running afoul" of ADA complications - many companies are simply going to say NO - service dog or not. And in a "safety sensitive industry", they're going to have a little more leeway in denying service animals - or setting rules so restrictive that it's just not worth bringing one.

And as I mentioned earlier - you cannot expect a trainer to accomodate SOMEONE ELSES DOG ON THEIR TRUCK - not matter how much they like dogs, or how friendly yours is. There just isn't enough room for two people and a large dog.

The long & short of it is - if you want to get company training, you are going to have to find someplace to park your dog, until you complete training and get your own truck. Even the suggestion of school bus driving is likely going to create LIABILITY ISSUES for the school district around bringing your dog.

My dog is a ROAD DOG - she has thousands of well behaved miles on her, since she was 9 weeks old. She will lick you to death - or tear your limbs off on command. Has countless hours of obedience, agility, socialization under her belt. I couldn't imagine spending a day away from her - much less the months of training, much less trying to convince a company my 90lb rottweiler, is actually a 30lb pekingese.

0376806001601383073.jpg

So - sadly - there's really no getting around having to leave the doggo behind - if only for your training period. So I guess you're going to have to wait out the C-19 farce, find someone you trust to keep him for a few months (trust someone with my dog - that'll happen) and go get trained and out solo. There's probably a little more "wiggle room" in pet policies once you get some miles (and time) under your belt. But as a "new entrant" into the industry - you really can't expect a company to go too far out of their way to accommodate someones dog during training (ADA or not).

I have a buddy who's been driving for a few years now - he's got a pitt & shepard on his truck (solo). Works for BM Transport currently. But they're NOT a training company (2 years OTR experience I believe).

Rick

Hi Rick, I appreciate your post. Now my trucking buddy that went through Swift never had a single overnight run out with the trainer. I'm not sure how many trucking companies do it that way or not though, as I have found you to be correct with the vast majority requiring days out with the trainer.

Currently Swift and I are discussing options; they are the company I've dealt with that seems to be actually making an effort with me on my dog. I'm not getting my hopes up for it, but it sounds like the recruiter is going to sending Jack's service dog credentials to HR for approval or denial. Recruiter says it can take a few weeks though.

And as I previously replied to the man above, I lost my home and job with covid-19, so I'm out fishing, hunting, and camping right now, got my dog a full-body winter snow suit and dog boots, building an indoor fireplace and running my generator in case I'm forced to live like this for the winter.

My buddy got employed with Swift when he was in a tent on a boat 3 years ago and now lives in his semi, and that's what I'm trying to do before winter comes, but my dog causes a slight obstacle. I'm just hoping Swift or another company pulls through for me soon. Thanks for your reply.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
K.O. & Jack-Attack's Comment
member avatar

Not the most glamorous route but have you considered getting started as a school bus driver? Most school districts around me have big signs advertising paid training and a guaranteed job. That would at least get you a class B CDL and keep you home.

Maybe that could tide you over until you can work out something with the dog.

That's an idea that I did consider. It's definitely worth a shot. However the biggest problem I'm facing right now is the fact I've lost my job and home due to covid-19, and my Jeep kept braking down on me so I sold it, and moved to a free campground. With my dog, it's an obstacle doing anything right now, and winter is coming, I don't want to be stuck in a tent in the middle of winter wasting all my money for gas and oil on my generator. My trucking friend was homeless in Kankakee about 3 years ago living in a tent on a boat on the Kankakee river, and Swift took him and lives in his semi now. He urged me to do the same when I lost my job and home with covid-19.

If I could find a dog-sitter I'd be fine, or use my dog's official service dog credentials (Photo ID and Certificate) it wouldn't be an issue. But going as a School Bus driver would mean finding a dog-sitter which are all closed until further notice, as a School district will not allow me to bring my emotional support dog due to concerns related to children having allergies to dogs.

Basically, trucking is my only hope right now, and I've got to get in before winter. Paid CDL is almost out of the question at this point, I'm still waiting to hear back from 4 companies, and I've got maybe a dozen company sponsorship companies left on my list to go through, so I'm losing hope on that. The last option is to find a college or trucking school with housing and use my FAFSA to pay for schooling and housing for my CDL, but most colleges a cross the Nation have gone strictly online until Spring Semester due to covid-19, and that doesn't help get me and my dog out of a tent for the winter.

I'm now to the point where I'm wrapping tarps and plastic industrial wrap around our giant tent, and using bags of concrete to make a fireplace, and chainsawing trees down for warmth, and fishing and hunting for our food everyday. I can only imagine people calling animal control on me having a dog in a tent in winter, so I just purchased a full body winter dog coat and dog boots for him so no one tries and take my baby from me.

That's why I'm so desperate right now to get into a semi for work and housing for the winter coming.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
K.O. & Jack-Attack's Comment
member avatar

Not the most glamorous route but have you considered getting started as a school bus driver? Most school districts around me have big signs advertising paid training and a guaranteed job. That would at least get you a class B CDL and keep you home.

Maybe that could tide you over until you can work out something with the dog.

I replied earlier but noticed it wasn't posted. Not sure why, but I have considered doing the school bus thing, but in my current situation with losing my job and housing and pet-sitters being closed I have no choice but to bring my dog everywhere I go and exercise my rights under ADA to bring my dog everywhere with me. I can't leave him in the tent in the woods by himself.

Now I have seen school bus drivers who have certified registered service dogs allowed to bring their dog on the bus while driving, but this is very rare. Most school districts would not allow me to bring my dog due to the potentiality the school kids having allergies.

So in my current predicament school bus driving has an even slimmer chance than trucking. But I have considered it despite not being a glamorous route to take.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Navypoppop's Comment
member avatar

I see that you are waiting on 4 companies to respond and a dozen more to try. Don't wait for the 4, just flood them all because just 1 of them might be the one that will solve your problem. As for the school bus, you are probably right about allowing your dog and you wouldn't be allowed to "live in the bus". Don't forget all the vast resources here on TT. Read, test, contact every recruiter and company thru this forum. Good luck

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

When is the last time you checked about boarding, such as petsmart? In Iowa petsmart has been allowing boarding for about 2 months now. We've taken our dog there a couple times and they called us to let us know they're back open. Granted, Iowa's Covid response has been far more relaxed than nearly every other state so it may vary. I'm not sure where in Illinois you are but for reference I just looked at boarding at the Chicago (south loop) store online and there's no mention of not being open. I'm not sure when you last looked but it may be worth looking into. That particular store is $40 a night so its spendy but it'd only be a few weeks atleast.

Would it be possible to transfer residency to another state since you're planning on living in the truck? When moneys been tight in the past I've donated plasma. I've used BioLife which usually amounts to $280 a month if you donate twice a week. They're constantly running promotions for $600 your first month with twice a week donations if you're a new donor. There are certain medical conditions and prescriptions that disqualify donating but I just wanted to throw it out there as an option to help financially.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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