Pitbulls, with their reputation for aggression, may not be the first breed that comes to mind when thinking of service dogs. However, with proper training and socialization, Pitbulls can make excellent service dogs.
First, it’s important to understand the requirements for a Pitbull to become a service dog. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows any breed of dog to be a service animal. This means any type of Pitbull, such as an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier, can work as a service dog. Additionally, airlines cannot ban Pitbull-type dogs from being service animals on flights, per the Department of Transportation.
Service dogs undergo specific training catered to their handler’s needs. Certification and registration are not required, but airlines may ask for documentation attesting to the animal’s behavior, training, and overall health. While individuals can train their dogs on their own, dog-training services can provide specialized training for specific needs, although they can be costly, sometimes up to $25,000 for a service animal.
Pitbulls make excellent service animals because of their high intelligence, loyalty, and strong build. They can aid individuals with certain disabilities in their everyday lives, such as guiding the visually impaired, retrieving items for those with mobility issues, signaling for the deaf or hearing-impaired, and alerting to possible heart attacks and seizures before they happen.
However, not all dogs are cut out to be service animals. In order to pass service animal requirements, dogs must have a calm demeanor, be able to remain focused on their handler in any environment, and have a low energy level to sit or lie with their handler. They must walk alongside their handler without pulling or tugging and not show aggression, be overweight, timid, or aloof.
Unfortunately, some rental management companies or individual landlords may ban certain dog breeds, falsely considering them aggressive. However, if the Pitbull is a service dog, it must be allowed on the rental property with its handler/owner. It’s important to note that while landlords or management companies may not have the right to ask about a disability, they can request documentation proving that the disabled person needs the service animal.
Socializing Pitbulls is crucial as they can be looked down upon in society as being aggressive dogs. Any dog can exhibit undesirable behavior without proper training, and the Pitbull is no exception. Owners should ensure they spend time with their dog and train it appropriately to keep their Pitty happy, healthy, and safe. Adequate daily exercise and high-quality dog food that provides all necessary nutrients are also essential. If owners encounter obstacles while training, they should consider hiring a professional to help them achieve training success.
In conclusion, Pitbulls may have a bad reputation, but they can make excellent service animals with the right training and socialization. Any dog breed can be a service animal as long as it meets the requirements regarding its temperament and abilities. Nearly 50% of dogs do not possess the necessary traits to become service dogs, proving it takes dogs with particular characteristics and abilities to succeed as service dogs. So, if you are a Pitbull owner and have wondered if your dog can make a good service animal, the answer is a resounding yes.