Pit bulls are loyal, protective and people-oriented, but they do not reserve their loyalty for just one person. While they will show favor to their master, pit bulls can be rehomed and learn to bond with new people. In the family context, they’ve got plenty of love and loyalty to go around.
The degree to which a dog shows loyalty to one person is influenced by his upbringing and his breed history. For example, dogs who originally were bred for working alongside a shepherd or hunter, such as the Australian cattle dog, are more likely to bond to one person at the expense of others. If a dog has been raised with one person and has had little exposure to others, he may display a strong preference for his owner. However, under typical family circumstances, the pit bull is not known for showing loyalty to one person over all others. He’ll take orders from anyone he deems to be his superior. The trick is to socialize and train him well as a pup so he knows his place in the pack.
Pit bulls are known for the ease with which they get along with all family members. They are affectionate and love physical interaction. Their playfulness and clownishness means that their loyalty typically lies with whomever is holding the ball or petting them at a particular time. Anyone thinking of rehoming a pit bull must understand that if shown love and patience, they will receive loyalty and affection in return. Most problems when rehoming a pit bull are linked to anxiety and mistreatment rather than the dog’s propensity to bonding.
Pit bulls are famed for their protective instincts. They are watchful and alert, meaning strangers approaching the family or home may be met with suspicion. However, they are sensitive dogs and react to the behavior of their family. If mom and dad are relaxed around the mailman, it’s probable that a pit bull will be too.
Pit bulls can be trained to be guard dogs but unlike dogs with natural herding instincts such as German shepherds, pit bulls don’t make natural guards because of their inherent fondness of meeting new people. Natural herders typically reserve their friendliness for people they know and remain neutral toward strangers. Pit bulls can be taught to ignore their instincts to greet strangers with a wagging tail, but they are better suited to being a pet.
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