Pit Bulls, Service Dogs and the Breed Ban

Pit Bulls, Service Dogs and the Breed Ban

By Michele Forto

As a service dog trainer and also living in the Pit Bull prison of the world, Denver, Colorado I am seeing more and more people trying to skirt around the rules of the breed ban and train their Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes as service dogs.

Denver’s ABC Affiliate Channel 7 highlighted a story on Pit Bulls, Service Dogs and the Breed Ban.

Read the story here: Legally Trying to Get Around the Pit Bull Ban

I have trained several service dogs for varying afflictions, including psychiatric and post-traumatic stress disorders. I have trained several pit bulls in obedience and advanced disciplines. My husband, Dr. Robert Forto, Ph.D. is a canine behaviorist with an emphasis in canine aggression.  In the past ten years, living and working here in Denver, he has had ONE pit bull in his behavior modification program.

That being said, I feel ANY dog who is temperamentally sound and capable of undertaking the rigorous training to become a service dog should be allowed to work as a service dog. The Channel 7 report is correct in its statements that there is not any certifying agency regulating service dogs and the standards for which announces them as such.  I have met several people who bring me their dogs; from Chihuahua’s to German Shepherds.  My job as a professional is to determine the validity of their request; to train and certify their dog as a service animal, and to determine IF the dog they are choosing is appropriate and capable to perform the duties necessary.

Many of you know that I own and operate Denver Dog Works; I am a certified dog trainer; American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator; Service Animal Registry of America trainer and evaluator; Foundation for Service Dog Support trainer and evaluator; my approach to training service dogs and certifying rests solely on my reputation and ethics.  I have not trained a Pit Bull for service work.  The breeds I typically choose and find to be most appropriate both for the individual and for the public perspective are Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds.  I currently have a Siberian Husky enrolled in my service program, this is considered an unusual breed for service work just as the Pit Bull.  Society however will overlook the unusualness of the Siberian Husky in a service vest to where they will not overlook the unusualness and alarm of that of a Pit Bull.

What are your thoughts on the Pit Bull ban in Denver (or in your city), service dogs and the rules that we must follow. We would love to here from you. Please comment below or send an email to live@dogdoctorradio.com

Tags: Pit Bulls as Service Dogs  |  Service Dog Training Denver


Michele Forto is Denvers Dog Training Examiner, a certified canine trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the Dog Doctor Radio Show.

One Response to Pit Bulls, Service Dogs and the Breed Ban

  1. […] Rewind: Pit Bulls, Service Dogs and the Breed Ban […]

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