Do Pitbulls Imprint? [And What Does This Mean for YOU]

Have you ever wondered why puppies have to stay with their mothers until they are at least 8 weeks old? It’s because they watch them and learn. They learn important instincts and how to behave during that crucial time of puppyhood. 

Do Pitbulls imprint? Yes, Pitbulls imprint on their mothers or their owners. From the age of 7 weeks, you might find your Pitbull readily making eye contact, following you everywhere, mimicking your behavior, etc. Some people call it “bonding”. 

But what does this even mean and how will it affect your Pittie’s behavior around you? To learn what imprinting is, whether Pitbulls are capable of imprinting, how to know whether a dog has imprinted on you, how to know if your pup has imprinted, and how will this affect their behavior, keep reading. 

What is imprinting? 

Pitbull puppy in owner hands to show how do pitbulls imprint

In simple terms, imprinting is learning. It starts from birth when a puppy learns from its mother. During puppyhood, dogs watch their mothers and learn.

 It is an adorable little ability of theirs. 

So, what exactly do they learn? They learn how to behave, how to read another dog’s body language, when to bite and when not to bite, how hard to bite, and who to socialize with. 

Of course, they learn a lot from humans too when they are socialized and trained. But, there are some things only a mother can teach her puppies. 

After they are separated from their mother (usually at 7-8 weeks), they can start imprinting on humans. Stay with me to know what that means. 

Do Pitbulls imprint? 

Yes, Pitbulls imprint like all other dogs. Pitbulls are not dogs that like to be alone. They are needy, protective, affectionate, and loyal. 

A Pitbull will most likely follow you everywhere if you do not forbid him to. It’s a sign that they love you. 

Your Pitbull will most likely imprint on you if you do everything right. For instance, if you raise them with a lot of love and affection they will become very attached to you. 

If you have this effect on your Pit Bull, you are 100% in control of how they behave. They will always behave the way you do and go wherever you go. This will make them quite easy to train.

Do all dogs imprint? 

Yes, all dogs imprint. They have the need to imprint as soon as they are born. It is all part of their evolution.

Dog imprinting is essential to let them know who they can mate with. They need to know that so they can continue their species. 

The first imprint on their mothers. Naturally, children learn from their mothers. This is true for dogs too. 

When they are introduced to a loving and ethical home, they will start imprinting on humans too. Some owners consider this a blessing. 

How do you know if a dog is imprinted on you?

Here are a few signs that tell you that your dog may have imprinted on you:

Eye contact

When you love another human being, you look them in the eye. It is the same for dogs, if your doggo loves you and is attached to you, they will be more than ready to look you in the eye.

Scientists have proven that eye contact between a dog owner and a dog can increase this bond and make dogs more loving and obedient. 

Check-in on you

When a doggo is imprinted on you, they will often check in on you to make sure you’re okay. Protective dogs like Pit bulls have this recurring habit, it’s honestly adorable. 

Your Pitbull will be less likely to run away from you. Even when they are faster than you, they will wait and look back to check that you’re close by. Adorable! 

They are overjoyed to see you

Picture this: You come home, and before you even open the door, your doggo is excited to see you. They can smell you and they are happy that you are finally back to them. 

They show excitement by barking or jumping up and down when they see you. 


Dogs get stressed and anxious too. However, if they are imprinted on you, they will most likely have a very relaxed time when you are around. You make them feel safe. Although this may also make it hard for them to stay alone when you’re, say, at work for most of the day.

This can be a problem, though, so make sure to check out my guide on how to leave your Pitbull alone here.

Provide a safe environment for your dog and do not expose them to a lot of stress. 

Snuggle with your personal stuff

Your smell is your doggo’s favorite thing in the world. If your dog loves you, they will want to smell you a lot. Even if it means carrying your stinky shoes around the house. 

This can sometimes be a bit annoying. No one wants their stuff misplaced all the time. Consider training your dog not to carry your personal belongings. If they are imprinted on you, they will listen. 

Listen and respond 

A well-behaved and imprinted dog will listen to your commands and respond. If you tell them to “sit”, they will sit. They will have a little conversation with you, in their own way too. 

If this happens, congrats, you have a very loving and imprinted dog. Embrace it! 

Seek attention 

This one is self-explanatory. When you love someone, you want to have some type of physical affection too. Your dog wants that too. Touching your dog and kissing them will let them know you love them. 

However, studies have shown that hugging is not a dog’s favorite act of love. It can sometimes make them feel like they are being handled, which can trigger aggression. 

How do you know if your puppy has imprinted?

Puppies are social beings. If you have welcomed a puppy to your loving home, they will probably imprint on you. 

Your puppy will show that in their own adorable way; they will rest their head on you, yawn when you do, snuggle with your personal stuff, are expressive, and make eye contact with you. 

Related Questions 

What age does a dog imprint?

Imprinting is highly connected to brain development. A dog imprints on humans from the age of 7 weeks up to 12 weeks. This is when they are most impressionable. 

It is crucial to provide a good example of behavior during that time. It will make your life much easier. Happy dog, happy life! 

Helpful Resources

What does it mean when a dog imprints?.

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