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17 thoughts on “Why Breed Matters in Service Dogs and Why Pit Bull Service Dogs are a Bad Idea

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  1. Thank you for this article!! I am a service dog handler,; actually my third service dog from Canine Companions for Independence is laying against my wheelchair as I write this. I have been telling people for years that NO reputable service dog organization or therapy dog group will utilize pit bulls and for extremely good reasons.
    The only pit bull “service dogs”I have come across are owner trained, and that is worrisome. No one confirms the ‘handler’ has a qualifying disability and no one checks the training of the dog, let alone the poor choice made of trying to use a pit bull as a service dog. Pet owners can simply go online and order gear that proclaims the dog is a service dog in their attempt to take them everywhere.
    When we as SD handlers go out into public places, we are asking the public to assume our dog is properly trained and socialized and poses no harm. How can you assume that if the dog you chose is a pit bull?
    As your article states, there are reasons reputable service dog organizations generally have their own breeding stock and choose yellow and black labs as well as golden retrievers and mixes of the two. While working they are focused, wanting to please the handler and ignoring distractions.
    There is currently a pit bull advocate who takes his pit bull into malls and encourages people to pet it…another thing true service dog handlers do not do. The man has no known disability and from the videos he proudly shares, anyone can tell the dog is not properly trained for anything, let alone SD work; it does not focus on the owner, does not stay beside him, and approaches strangers trying to solicit being petted.
    We do not have a service dog at our side to advocate for the breed, get attention, or try to be popular—we have them at our side because we need the help and independence they provide.
    Thank you again for this wonderful, insightful article. I hope it is shared many, many times over!

    • Great comment, thank you! It is so true that SD handlers are asking the public to have confidence that their SD is well-trained and SAFE! I remember reading about the history of the Seeing Eye and they said that part of their mission was to get the public to accept these dogs because at the time, there were no laws protecting them or giving them access. The earlier generations of SD handlers and SD trainers have taken on the responsibility of being SD ambassadors to the public which is why the public has had so much confidence in them. And pit bull fakers are destroying that confidence.

    • I know you commented a long time ago but I am currently waiting for a service dog from CCI and while I’ve been waiting I’ve been researching and then I came across something that absolutely makes me sick, articles saying that pit bulls or rather Staffordshire Terriers are great service dogs for children with autism! As the mother of an autistic person I can assure you that a pit bull no matter how well trained would never have been a dog that was able to be around my child or any other autistic children! People really just don’t seem to understand that autistic children especially have meltdowns over their inability to communicate and being overwhelmed by everyone around them! They become violent to themselves or towards others around them and they just explode like little time bombs! I could just imagine having a dog that was like a ticking time bomb itself around a child that might start screaming and bashing their heads on the floor because they were unhappy about something! And then put a dog that has a history of killing children for no reason other than they were in proximity to the dog! I just pray that no parents of autistic children see the articles and believe that nonsensical lie and end up with a dead child because of it! Then the pit bull nutter will say that the child was autistic and that’s why the dog attacked, just like them saying that pit bulls make great service dogs until they kill people who are having seizures! Then it’s oh well he had a seizure! I’ve never heard of another service dog breed that routinely kills the owner for having a disability! If that’s the purposes of the service dogs it’s sa horrible service!

  2. ;tldr

    Pitbulls as “service dogs” is just another in a long series of scams that pit bull lovers are trying to pull, in their endless quest to lie, lie, lie about the deadly hazards of their dogs.

    Pit bull owners are like junkies. Anybody who deals a lot with junkies can tell you Rule#1, don’t believe a word they say.

  3. That’s a novel idea, to choose a dog for a job based on its breed characteristics. /sarc

  4. I applaud you for this factual article!! Also a LEGITIMATE Service Dog Handler I’ve had breeds from setters to Newfoundland’s to my 4th Great Pyrenees. I’m also a proud member of IAADP and both my current SD’s are Registered as Service Dogs with the State of Michigan. Just like getting a handicap parking placard where your LICENSED, TREATING PHYSICIAN has to verify and fill out paperwork testifying true DISABLED EED for such Michigan is offering the Voluntary Registration. This SHOULD be made legally recognised by at the Federal level and each State SHOULD be responsible for registration and verification as they’re most able to verify physicians license and validity versus FAKE, Online Registries. Some States are offering this now and easily implemented throughout every State quickly. Plus, mine has an ID# with Government Website to look up quickly if it’s legitimate. Also, NO “REAL Service Dog” will be having to wear a prong or electronic collar or both whilst out in public!! If your dog can’t be correctly controlled on a basic flat collar than it’s not legitimate!! I use 2 Great Pyrenees always and NEVER have issues except for the Pits trying to attack us. Funny how people in grocery stores fail to see 2 big white furry dogs until they are literally past them!! They normally follow single file behind wheelchair if needed!!

    • Thank you for the insights. I didn’t know Michigan had a voluntary registry. do you know if other states do the same thing?

  5. The thing is, it doesn’t matter if a pit bull is ‘trained’ or if it’s ‘posing’ as a service dog or IS a service dog, they are by nature temperamentally unstable and can never be trusted and should never be used as any kind of service, therapy, or support dog.

  6. This is an excellent article. I had looked up Service Dog training organizations’ policies on fighting and protection breed dogs 6 or 8 years ago, and I didn’t find much at all. This is all recent, and very necessary, policy additions! I’m glad they’re taking a stand.

  7. I got negative feedback for supporting the common sense move by Delta to ban pits and pit mixes from use as service dogs on their planes. Some people claimed that pits were good dogs for police work. What a bunch malarkey.

  8. Thank you so much for this article! I hadn’t realized how many SD groups openly state that bully breeds and other guardian dogs should not be used.

    Wish someone would do a cartoon of a pit, in service dog attire, attacking a victim, and the nutter smiling, saying: “But I enjoy watching my pit bull maul and kill, it reduces my anxiety.”

    When I was first learning about gladiator dogs, I asked the breeders on a game dog forum, “What should I do if a pit bull attacks my dog.”

    The game dog breeder’s response: “Don’t intervene.
    Stand back, watch and enjoy the show.”

    We’re dealing with psychopaths, dogs and people.

  9. Doesn’t say that Protection BREEDS are strictly prohibited actually, it says “attack TRAINED” “protection TRAINED” or “who exhibits aggressive behaviour” are prohibited.

    Does not mention breed at all. Though I am in agreement that for the most part protection breeds would be unsuitable to be assistance dogs.

    Non-protection breeds can certainly be attack trained, look at IPO poodles and border collies – they’re quite impressive even though never bred for bite work. And of course we know some people (often drug dealers) train their pit bulls to attack people.

    I think the IAADP is excluding any dogs that have been bite trained as assistance dogs (so personal protection dogs, police dogs, military dogs, IPO trained dogs, KNPV dogs etc are excluded) as well as any dog (of any breed) that displays aggressive behaviour.

    Not all individuals of protection breeds are suitable for protection work and some have an atypical temperament and are very soft – these wouldn’t be prevented from acting as service dogs according to the wording used by the IAADP.

    Pit bulls are not a protection or guarding breed (and never have been) in any case. They’ve always been fighting and bloodsport dogs.

  10. There’s a new viral video of a “service dog” interacting with a lion at the Cincinnati Zoo.

    The dog (some sort of black & tan mixed breed) is of course, not behaving like a proper service dog, it’s running back and forth, barking, and the lion is trying to attack the dog through the glass.

    Dogs at zoos now…just think of the the you-know-what-storm this is going to cause. Rare exotic animals mauled to death? Predatory animals attacking dogs when they leap into exhibits?

  11. As a licensed mental health professional, I am sick of the requests I receive from individuals who want me to sign off on their need for an “emotional support” dog to avoid paying pet deposit fees, pet rent and to take their dog on a plane. I frequently see individuals who are begging for attention by walking their dogs through stores, searching my face to see if I will acknowledge their pet. I don’t gratify their need. I love dogs. I own dogs. I see no reason for parading them around in public places. The individuals who possess these fake emotional support animals would be better off investing in therapy to find out why they need attention or why they lie to avoid fiscal responsibility.

  12. The site NextDoor which is sent to and used by every major city, town, county, be it rural,suburban or major metropolis and is based in San Fransisco, is used by many of my neighbors who are unaware that the folksy little site is not what it appears to be.
    Nevertheless, I went to said site to post a warning about aggressive Pit Bulls which , killed another dog and went onto the deck of a senior citizen and growled at the man on the mans property. This I did before I contact the Sheriff enabling the Sheriff to have a paper trail and/or history of aggression by the dog.

    Well that opened a barrage of comments like”It’s not the breed it’s the way it was raised”
    How tiresome it is when dealing with adult toddlers.

    A girl that I know got as a puppy what clearly is a pit bull mix and showed up to my house bragging about how her dog is now a ‘service dog’ obtained through a fake app on her cell phone.
    She opened her car door and out came the now fully grown pit bull mix.
    I said “Misty, get your dog off my property” as politely yet firmly as I could say it.

    Misty called the dog several times and the dog completely ignored her, prompting Misty to go to the dog pick him up with great struggle as the dog now weighs almost her weight .

    Service dog? I think not.
    How a dog is raised? No
    Photos of pit bull and/or mixes their sires or dams with a silly hat proves innocence of breed? B.S.

    Often we see photos of pit bull and/or mixes with cutesy little hat after the same dog has mauled to death their owner.

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