The American Pit Bull Terrier likes nothing better than to please his people. Janice Snyder, a Pit Bull enthusiast from Nevada, recalls with pride the day her Pit Bull earned a title in the canine sport of weight pulling. “At the end of the trial, the judge made a comment to all that she was so impressed by my Pit Bull’s willingness to please me,” Snyder says.
That willingness to please is no accident. Although the Pit Bull’s forebears were bred to fight other animals, they also were bred to willingly go to extremes to please their human owners. Today, this eagerness makes the American Pit Bull Terrier surprisingly easy to train. “I have found that Pit Bulls are very eager to please and are most happy when they are working their minds as well as their bodies,” Bobbitt says.
Moreover, the Pit Bull’s love of people can extend well beyond his immediate family. “We had a rescue dog with us for a while,” recalls Jerianne Brown, a breeder from Pennsylvania. “We knew enough of this particular Pit Bull’s background to know that he was not socialized and that he had been neglected and beaten. The first night we had him, a strange child approached us wanting to pet the Pit Bull. He got to the dog before we could stop him. We could tell the dog was not sure what to make of this little human, but he quickly warmed up and wagged his tail. This Pit Bull was by far the sweetest dog I have ever known. He was a prime example of proper APBT temperament in that he endured such a rotten beginning in life, yet he remained human friendly and mentally stable.”
That said, Pit Bulls are not pushovers. Although they love their people and want to please them, Pit Bulls may have their own ideas on how to do so — and sometimes those ideas conflict with those of their humans. “Sometimes Pit Bulls can have a stubborn streak,” Bobbitt admits. “But as a whole, the American Pit Bull Terrier wants to do what his master asks.”
Carol Gaines, a long-time APBT breeder and judge from Washington, agrees. “Pit Bulls can be hard-headed and stubborn, but it’s because they seem to think all the time,” she says. “Labs are trainable, but Pit Bulls are always busy training you. They are very happy when they make you happy; however, a Pit Bull wants to do it his own way.”