TORONTO - There are some canine conundrums even the Dog Whisperer can't solve.

Celebrated dog trainer Cesar Millan wasn't allowed to bring his beloved sidekick and constant companion, Junior, into Ontario because the province has banned pit bulls.

Millan's staff, dog lovers and even opposition politicians tried to convince the government to let the three-year-old mutt off his legislative leash.

But Attorney General Chris Bentley made it clear Wednesday: Junior is still in the doghouse.

"It was a very difficult decision," Bentley said.

The Liberal government banned the dogs five years ago, saying the breed was too dangerous.

"I mean, I have a dog myself and she's part of the family. But we heard many complaints from the people in the province. ... So we had to take steps," Bentley said of the law.

On his popular reality TV show, Millan often espouses his belief that dogs are not inherently bad; it's humans who often influence their behaviour.

Millan became famous for rehabilitating aggressive dogs on the show — often with three-year-old Junior's help.

He even advertised the pooch's participation in his cross-Canada speaking tour, calling him an "ambassador" who brings "calm and balance" to dogs who need help.

The grey-and-white pit bull mix has accompanied Millan to all his Canadian shows except the ones in Ontario, said the province's New Democrats.

Millan was concerned that Junior — whose easy nature helps calm aggressive dogs — would be seized by authorities if he brought him into the province.

Millan's staff contacted the Ministry of the Attorney General for help, but were told that they couldn't provide any legal advice.

NDP critic Cheri DiNovo, who has tried to overturn the ban, lodged her protest in an open letter Wednesday, saying even the most responsible owner is punished for the way a dog looks, rather than how it behaves.

Ontario's ban is "absolutely ridiculous," said DiNovo, who was contacted by Millan's staff about the law a month ago.

"It's significant that Cesar Millan, the foremost dog trainer in the world, has had two generations of pit bulls that he's used as his example of well-trained, happy, responsive dogs," she added.

She appealed to Bentley's office to make an exception for Junior, a certified therapy dog that Millan adopted as a protege for Daddy, an aging pit bull who served as Millan's partner in canine rehab.

But Bentley wouldn't budge Wednesday, saying Junior is not welcome in Ontario.

"I really respect the work of Cesar Millan, the work that he does," he said.

"You know why we brought in the pit bull legislation. It was to protect people and protect dogs — protect other people's pets."

Ontario is notorious around the world for its short-sighted ban, which has angered many dog lovers, said Cathy Prothro of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada.

"This is the face of Ontario as a nanny province that is international," she said in an interview from Dartmouth, N.S.

"People aren't happy."

The ban applies to breeds considered to be pit bulls, such as Staffordshire bull terriers, or any dog that looks like one of those breeds.

The only exceptions are dogs that participate in dog shows and flyball, a sport involving a race with hurdles and tennis balls.

Millan once dedicated an episode of his show to dispel myths about breeds that are considered to be particularly dangerous.

Using some of the toughest cases he's encountered, Millan showed how each dog turned over a new leaf then ended the show by leading a pack walk with all the rehabilitated canines.