I am a retired animal control officer, author and dog trainer. My passion is well bred working American pit bull dogs. After the 9/11 tragedy I was struck by the supposed “shortage” of qualified detection dog prospects in America. Despite importing “Europe’s finest” police dogs for over a century, it seemed America could not produce enough quality animals to fill the need. American tax payers dollars were pouring into European dog dealers pockets for Europe’s wash-out police dogs. The LawDogsUSA effort was designed to introduce the American detection dog handler to America’s finest breed – the American pit bull. As much as one person can, it has been my pleasure to showcase the intense drive, uber-friendly attitude, medium size and[…]

  Turning pit bulls into patrol partners Jeremy Pawloski The Olympian 09.01.07 Diane Jessup of LawDogs USA rescues pit bulls from animal shelters and dog- fighting busts nationwide and helps turn them into crime fighters at her Thurston County kennel. The Washington State Patrol uses eight pit bulls that were donated by Jessup as narcotics-detection and bomb-sniffing dogs, said Trooper Steve Gardner, a K-9 trainer for the patrol. Jessup said the pit bulls she gives the patrol for specialized training are trailblazers in K-9 law enforcement, in which breeds such as Belgian Malinois, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers traditionally have dominated. “My pit bulls right now are Jackie Robinson,” she said. “They’re breaking a barrier down.” Pit bulls are unfair[…]

LawDogsUSA does not just put out “detection dogs”. We put out extraordinary detection dogs. Why? Because after two decades as a “fad breed” with the very worst kind of dog owners putting our dogs in a bad light, our dogs have something to prove. Many police officers are afraid of American pit bulls because the only ones they have ever met are man-biting mixbreed curs which have been encouraged to be aggressive toward them. As a result, we take in only the very best dogs – these are animals which will end up in the public eye, representing their breed. Our dogs are selected for the following four things: Intense “hunt” drive for the toy Absolutely sound, friendly attitude toward[…]

In the summer of 2007 Atlanta Falcon’s football star Michael Vick had his Virginia home raided and approximately 50 American pit bulls were seized as evidence of dog fighting, gambling and animal cruelty. The resulting investigation, trial and conviction revealed that Vick and his buddies were not just fighting dogs, they were engaged in the torture of dogs by means of electrocution, strangulation, kicking, and other unimaginable acts of cruelty not necessarily typical of organized dog fighting. The seized dogs were kept for the approximately six months it took to gain their release in various shelters around the Virginia area. Some of these shelters offered the dogs conditions which compared unfavorably with those at the Vick compound. The dogs received[…]

Here is an article which outlines the LawDogsUSA program. America’s New Secret Weapon They are smaller and much more nimble than a German shepherd; friendlier and safer to handle then the average Belgian malinois and shed less than a Labrador retriever. Records with the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS) show them with a higher passing rate for excellent, friendly temperament than the golden retriever. And Washington’s premier law enforcement agency, The Washington State Patrol, one of the nation’s premiere law enforcement agencies, has more of them working the streets and in training as narcotics and explosives detection K-9s than members of any other pure breed. They are truly the best kept secret weapon in law enforcement’s fight against terror plots[…]

I make an effort to contact law enforcement officers involved in any good sized dog fight bust in order to evaluate the dogs for the LawDogsUSA program. I was discouraged after the horrible handling of the Vick dogs by all involved; the disappointment of never getting anyone qualified into evaluate them and the mad scrabble for the considerable amounts of money which went with the dogs – but life goes on, and I keep trying to get access to bust dogs. Why? I think it sends an important message that the American pit bull is such a great dog it can recover from abuse most other breeds could never handle. As well, I think it is important for kids to[…]

Sometimes dogs “wash out” of the training program. This means they may lack specific drives for detection work, may have a physical issue which keeps them from the tough, physical work of being a detection dog; there are many reasons. Organizations which donate dogs to the LawDogs program have three options when their dog donates. They are: A) Reclaim the dog. Shelters and rescues are welcome to take their dog back. I will pay for the health certificate and transportation to the airport, but the donating agency must pay for transportation back to their location. Please be aware that dogs must be reclaimed within 14 days of washing out. B) Adoption Option. If the donating organization wishes, LawDogsUSA will place[…]

Since the 1950’s dog professionals have known about the groundbreaking work of Scott & Fuller concerning the critical periods of puppy development. Basically, if a puppy is not given a rich environment, and exposed to many situations and experiences in the first 16 weeks of its life, the animal will never be able to reach its full potential. As well, the importance of early “imprinting” has shown to produce superior working animals. Anything “imprinted” during the first critical 16 weeks remains with the dog and makes additional learning easier. I have found that puppies exposed to all the things it will experience as a detection dog during this sixteen week period are precocious; far advanced of pups which do not[…]

American pit bulls have proven to be exceptional detection dogs. Historically, they have been accepted by “high end” agencies much quicker than smaller agencies. This is due primarily to the superior experience and knowledge of the trainers involved. Good trainers understand that good dogs are where you find them – and pay no attention to the “fad panics” which plague popular breeds in a cyclic fashion. Those old enough remember the “fad panics” of the 60’s (German shepherds) the 70’s (Dobermans) 80’s (pit bulls) 90’s (Rottweilers) and now in the year 2006, legislation and insurance companies are trying to ban all of the above! All dog breeds suffer when they become popular and fall into the hands of criminal, irresponsible,[…]

Our “green” (untrained) dogs come from two sources. Our primary source are “rescue” dogs coming from animal shelters. Nothing is so satisfying as saving a dog’s life and then, in return, allowing that dog to perhaps save a human life by detecting a bomb! One goal of the LawDogsUSA program is to bring awareness of this untapped source of excellent detection dog prospects in America’s shelters to law enforcement trainers. The current practice of importing expensive dogs from Europe is simply not necessary. The greatest dogs in the world are AMERICAN MADE! We rely on shelter workers to identify likely prospects for us. We accept shelter dogs only; we do not accept dogs from private homes. To accommodate those agencies[…]