03 September 2013

Wikipedia Definition of Service Dog

Occasionally there is a need to look at the Wikipedia pages, but when something is so grossly in error, I have to wonder why I looked. Why you ask? When a breed of dogs that the homeowner's insurance in most states will not cover, you need to be concerned. In the second paragraph, there is a list of dogs often trained for use by service dog organizations. This statement, “And in recent years American Pit Bull Terriers are the most common breeds used as service dogs”, should be considered an error as by their very nature, few have the temperament to serve as service dogs and I would not even consider working around the pit bull breed.

I have talked to several insurance agents locally and asked about whether the insurance companies they represented would cover pit bull terrier dogs on homeowner insurance or even renter insurance. Every one declared that no; the pit bull terriers would not be covered. I also know from my own experiences with several individuals that do own them that the temperament is not reliable. One family swore they trusted their pit bull, but about three years ago, the dog took quite a bite out of their son's face. At the time, the police seized the dog and put him down. The courts have now decided that the police did the right thing.

The list of dogs many insurance companies will not cover is growing and even a couple of breeds/mixed breeds used for mobility service dogs are now on the list of at least one insurance company. It is mainly because of their size and the damage they can do in some stores that has earned them the notoriety.

Therefore, I can only urge people contemplating a service dog to check with their insurance company to find out if the breed/mixed breed they are considering is covered.

Dogs should have desirable character traits, especially good temperament or psychological make-up and good health. Dogs should be matched to the task for which they are trained. Therefore, a Dachshund or a Beagle would not be selected as a mobility service dog, but a Newfoundland or a Saint Bernard would make an excellent mobility service dog. This is a good site to search for a breed and then look up each breed individually to discover the health problems with that breed.

Most dog breeds or mix of breeds are capable of being some type of service dog, but most are eliminated because they do not have the health qualifications or temperament qualities needed.