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

  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.

  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. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    • Thus we highlighted in gold the following “who do not have previous experience handling a dog with a strong Protection drive, a fierce Territorial instinct or a hereditary dog aggression problem should not attempt a partnership”. As far as the footnote goes, we stated that in full as well. To repeat this (again): “IAADP Policy Prohibiting the Enrollment of Protection Trained or Aggressive dogs – Any dog who is protection trained, attack trained or one who exhibits aggressive behavior in violation of our Minimum Training Standards for Public Access is NOT eligible for enrollment as an Assistance Dog in IAADP, or renewal, no matter what disability related tasks or alerts the dog is said to perform. If an IAADP Partner member’s dog later displays aggressive behavior and cannot be rehabilitated within a reasonable time period, ethically, that dog should be retired as unfit for duty outside the home, as the dog does not qualify as an assistance dog under our Minimum Training Standards for Public Access. Non aggressive barking as a trained behavior will be acceptable in appropriate situations.” We added underlines for emphasis too.

  9. 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?

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