The Pit Crew

pit crewLove-A-Bull’s Pit Crew is an award-winning all Pit Bull and Pit Bull mix breed therapy dog program serving Austin, TX and surrounding areas. 

Our teams are more than just dogs who provide therapeutic interaction, improving mood, building confidence, and healing hearts.  Pit Crew teams work as ambassadors for their breed, helping to educate the community about dog safety, the humane care of animals, and the importance of never judging a book by its cover.  

 

Where does the Pit Crew visit?  

 

 

See Pit Crew in action on ‘The Hook’ at University of Texas

 

Request Visits 

  • Therapeutic Visits:  Popular with schools, crisis centers, assisted living centers, hospitals,
    Rita aka Chips - Snuggly Softie

    Rita (aka “Chips”) coordinates all Pit Crew events with assistance from her handler, Mark.

    and even UT finals week,  therapeutic visits are cuddle sessions where the presence of a sweet dog provides comfort and companionship to anyone that needs it.

  • Book Reading Buddies: Request a Pit Crew dog to read to at your local library, or request dogs at your school to help get kids excited about reading. Dogs are great listeners and help kids relax as they learn and practice these critical skills.
  • Art Activities: Dog bandanas, paw art, dog toy making, and other fun activities are great for students (or summer campers) to help local charities or just create some cool stuff. Want to work on a project with Pit Crew? We can help!
  • Dog Safety Talks: Pit Crew is available for assemblies and clubs to come talk about dog safety, caring for pets, dog training, and the world of therapy dogs.
  • Advocacy Visits: Pit Crew attends a number of festivals and special events every year to give presence to the positive, sweet, and well-behaved side of Pit Bull-type dogs. Request a Pit Crew dog (or a few) to attend your event and add a bit of puppy-ish charm with a kissing booth or photo-op with America’s finest four-legged friends.

Request Pit Crew visits by emailing our coordinator: pitcrewsites@love-a-bull.org.   

 

Join Pit Crew!

 

Roxie - Playful Trickster

Veteran Therapy Dog Roxy graduated from our first class in 2011 and served proudly until retirement in 2016.

Is your dog a future thera-pittie?  

We are growing and would love for you and your well-socialized Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix to join our team!  

Prerequisites

All candidates must be Canine Good Citizen certified. 

Get Certified*

  • Classes:  Attend our six-week training program (photos) where you and your dog can prepare, test, and certified for therapy work.  Classes occur 2-to-3 times a year. 

*Attending training is not a guarantee for passing.

 


Next Class: TBD

  • Time: 
    • Classes are held once a week for 6 weeks.
  • Graduates:
  • Location:
  • Fee: $150
  • Register here for open classes 

 

Not ready yet? Stay up do date on Pit Crew training and more here!  Or email the trainer with questions: crystal@love-a-bull.org.  

 

Pit Crew Trainer: Crystal Dunn

CrystalBabyRita

Crystal with Pit Crew dogs: Baby and Rita.

After volunteering at a shelter in Houston and witnessing loads of dogs being euthanized for any reason or no reason at all, Crystal Dunn was fed up and on a mission to educate. There had to be a better way.

In 2006 she quit her tech job and got a gig teaching obedience classes. Dog behavior became her obsession and she quickly sought out certifications and every learning opportunity she could find. Eventually she went back to that shelter and helped restructure their programs, moving from a high-kill/low adoption model, to a No-Kill model with a thriving foster program and more city funding.

In 2008 Crystal founded Leaps N’ Hounds Dog Training, where she and her team specialized in private behavior consulting and a full range of classes.  They also trained performance dogs, worked with dog toymakers, and consulted on various projects and new dog-related businesses.

Along the way, she developed an affinity for the many Pit Bulls who graced her classes and private sessions. The stir-crazy pit bulls she’d met in shelters weren’t the same dogs when they had families and love. In fact, they often outperformed many of the other dogs and their desire for affection and companionship shined. After adopting a Pit Bull/Ridgeback mix named Mo off a Houston street in 2007, she quickly learned he was no exception.  She trained Mo to be a therapy dog and he became her teaching assistant (it didn’t take much). Later on, he’d provide her with the inspiration to help create the Pit Crew with LOVE-A-BULL. It would be the first all Pit Bull and pit mix therapy dog team in the world.

In 2017 Crystal sold Leaps N’ Hounds to pursue other projects. She currently writes full time and continues to consult for dog-related businesses. Pit Crew remains a passion project where she helps train and manage the team. She also serves on the board for LOVE-A-BULL and is working on the new LOVE-A-BULL Retreat, hoping to expand their animal-assisted therapy program to include various species of rescued animals.

Crystal lives with her husband, daughter, and three dogs. Yes, one is a sweet Pit Bull named Winnie.

Certifications/Roles:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), Certified Class Instructor, CGC Evaluator, Therapy Dog Evaluator, Vice President LOVE-A-BULL

Reach her directly at crystal@love-a-bull.org

Want to know more about The Pit Crew? Visit our FAQ