Many UK families enjoy the companionship of their Staffordshire Bull Terriers, popularly known as Staffies or Staffords.
Sadly, bad press and overbreeding are to blame for the Staffordshire Bull Terriers’ decline in the last ten years. In fact, the number of registered Staffies has almost halved since 2010. As a result, fantastic Staffies end up in the care of dog shelters, throughout the UK, due to the carelessness and lack of breed understanding of their previous owners.
However, many shelter Staffies are well-behaved, friendly, lively, and thoroughly deserving of a loving family.
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To avoid making a mistake, you should think carefully before purchasing a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy from a breeder. For example, do you have sufficient resources to care for your Staffy?
These dogs require a great deal of socialisation and proper training. Because if you want your Staffy to grow up accepting other dogs and also want to allow them off-lead, then obedience is crucial.
So, how about adoption? Have you considered applying to adopt one of the thousands of Staffordshire Bull Terriers sitting in dozens of shelters around all parts of the UK?
There is a period of adjustment required between you and your new companion after adoption, and this period may last several weeks or months. Be patient; it will all work out in the end. Remember why you chose this Staffy, or why they picked you!
7 Staffy Adoption Tips
1. Make It Easier for Your Staffy to Relax at Home
After bringing them home, leaving your Staffy alone might cause a few emotional issues in the early stages. But you must persevere; it’s natural for your new dog to feel insecure after what’s happened to them.
- Practice leaving the house and frequently returning for short amounts of time. Once your dog is comfortable with small excursions, introduce some more extended departures randomly.
- Don’t make a fuss when you leave home and arrive back; keep everything low-key.
- Practice mini-departures by closing doors when you shower, using the toilet, etc.
- Try to remain calm; Staffies can sense if you’re anxious.
- Before you leave the house, give your Staffy a safe chew toy packed with treats.
2. Create Home Norms and Procedures.
If your Staffy lives with several family members, it’s vital to incorporate rules and routines that promote consistency and give your Staffy some stability and leadership.
Your dog learns faster if all family members are on the same page. Lack of structure, yelling at your dog, or worse, letting them make up their own rules will make your dog uneasy. Think about devising some simple rules that all the family can follow.
- Find a quiet place where your Staffy will eat and feed them at the same time every day.
- Walk your Staffy at least twice each day, and one should be before you leave for work.
- When you bring home your adopted Staffy, give them crate training until they become housetrained again. Living in a shelter can undo training if they had some previously.
- Use treats as rewards for good behaviour and training aids. It’s always advisable to not feed dogs table scraps.
- Teach your Staffy to ask for items by sitting calmly and waiting for you to respond, not whining or pawing.
3. Encourage Good Behaviour With Rewards.
It’s counterproductive only to pay attention to a dog when they’re doing something wrong. You’re still giving attention when you get upset with bad behaviour, encouraging your dog to continue.
As an alternative, pay attention to your dog’s good behaviour, such as lying down, playing quietly, chewing acceptable toys, acting kind to other animals and humans, or going on a leash without pulling.
When you reward your dog for positive behaviour, it must be timed to coincide with that behaviour. Your Staffy will choose to behave as you want when you reward them!
4. Teach Your Staffy How to Make Good Choices
Staffies quickly form habits, both good and negative. As a result, having additional management on hand from the start is crucial.
Every time you allow your Staffy to engage in “bad” behaviour, such as leaping on guests, you increase the likelihood that they’ll do it again. Your role is to determine what causes the behaviour, anticipate it, and stop it from happening again.
For example, you can prevent your dog from jumping on guests by keeping them in a cage, using baby gates to keep them out of the front door, or putting the dog in another room. Let your Staffy meet each guest on the lead once your guest has had a chance to sit down and relax. Treat and pet your Staffy only when they are politely welcoming people and not jumping up on them.
5. Enrol Your Staffy in Dog Obedience Classes
Take your Staffy and the rest of your family to a dog training class, and you’ll learn a fantastic amount about how your Staffy thinks, learns and behaves!
Alternatively, you can hire a dog trainer to come to your house and conduct private training sessions to improve your Staffy’s obedience. The investment will pay for itself several times throughout your dog’s life.
As a new dog owner, you will have many questions, and a good class can put you in a room with other dog owners with similar concerns.
Look for a trainer who uses “positive-reinforcement” techniques that are humane and fun, like “lure-rewarding” (using treats to lure dogs into position) and “clicker training.”
Dog trainers should provide clear directions and explanations, demonstrate each exercise, and provide personalised comments. At the same time, each student has the opportunity to practise the lesson with their own dog.
Some common language cues are taught in puppy and adult classes, such as sit, down, stand, remain, off, come, walking on a lead without pulling and a few enjoyable tricks. In general, a wide range of behavioural issues is covered as well.
6. Introducing Your Staffy to Children and Other Pets
Introducing your new Staffy to your existing pets might take weeks or months, so be sure to keep an eye on their interactions and give them time to warm up to one another.
To keep all your pets safe at the start, you may need to baby-gate specific rooms or close the doors to certain areas. Don’t forget to make a fuss about your current dog. Especially when you’re paying attention to your new Staffy, that helps to avoid jealousy and helps them get used to the newcomer.
You can let your Staffy and other pets interact with each other once you’re confident with their behaviour.
Teach your children – and your new Staffy – how to get along correctly so everyone has a good time. Any dog, including your own, needs to be supervised by an adult regarding babies and small children.
Teaching your dog basic commands like “off,” “sit,” “stay,” or “come” will pay huge dividends in the long run. If your adopted Staffy is a senior or disabled, remember they are more sensitive to fear or annoyance than younger dogs. Make it a habit for kids to be aware of their limitations and teach them to treat others with the same courtesy.
7. Ensure You Provide Sufficient Mental and Physical Stimulation
Many Staffy behaviour problems can be traced back to a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Staffies will quickly develop their own pastimes, such as inappropriate chewing or barking, resulting from excessive energy, boredom, and the tension this causes.
Playing fetch or frisbee with your Staffy is an excellent way to keep them active and engaged in the world around them. Allow yourself extra time in the mornings for physical activity before you go to work. This is crucial to tire your Staffy out before leaving them for any prolonged time.
If you can’t find sufficient time in the mornings for this, ask your neighbours or another family member or hire a dog walker to take up the slack.
Before You Adopt a Staffy
While most people believe that a dog’s breed is the essential consideration when picking which dog to rescue, even within the same breed, all dogs have unique personalities and quirks.
5 Reasons to Adopt a Staffy
- Staffies Are Good-Natured Dogs
It’s not uncommon for Staffies to be laid-back and affectionate pets. Dogs of this breed are known for their friendliness and love of attention from their owners. As a result of their calm and tolerant nature, Staffies make excellent family dogs.
Staffies are not difficult dogs to train; they can be a little stubborn sometimes, but you need to encourage them with a few treats. A Staffy’s intelligence and desire to please their owners make them a joy to bring into the family. Staffies can learn considerably more than simple orders if you give them the opportunity.
- Staffy Health
Staffies are renowned for their robust health and lack of hereditary diseases than can befall many other dog breeds.
- Grooming a Staffy Is Simple
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, they don’t come much easier than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. A good brush down once a week and a bath every three to four months is 90% of the grooming done and dusted.
- A Wonderful Family Companion
There are a lot of lively Staffies out there who live for nothing more than having fun with their family. A cuddle and a nap will follow short spurts of vigorous ball or frisbee play. Staffies are always up for a game or two.
5 Reasons NOT to Adopt a Staffy
- Exercise Needs
Staffies need rigorous exercise every day. If you don’t tire them out, they will find other ways to entertain themselves. Which typically involves chewing everything in sight.
- Separation Anxiety
Staffies don’t enjoy being left alone for extended periods. They love nothing more than being around family. Separation anxiety can be a big deal and needs dealing with.
- Existing Family Pets
Suppose you have several pets in your home and are contemplating adopting a Staffy. In that case, you might need to assess your other pets. For example, if you already have a dominant dog, choosing to bring home a Staffy might be a mistake.
- Stubborn and Headstrong
Some Staffies are stubborn and very strong-willed. This temperament means they aren’t always a good choice for first-time owners. You can offset this worry by spending plenty of time with the dog before adopting it.
Because Staffies look similar to Pit Bulls and are powerful-looking dogs, there is a perception in a particular section of the public that Staffies are aggressive and dangerous dogs. You might see this attitude expressed when you’re out walking your dog. A Staffy might not be a good choice if this behaviour upsets you.
Where to Adopt a Staffy
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Adoption UK
There are several dog rescue charities throughout the UK. Many of the shelters in the UK always have plenty of Staffies on their books. Sadly, the breed is notoriously difficult to rehome, mostly because of the various urban myths about Staffies.
One famous dog rescue charity that always has Staffies available is the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. This shelter is one of the oldest in the UK and has a fantastic reputation.
In Kidderminster in the Midlands, you’ll find the Happie Staffy Rescue. This shelter takes in and rehomes Staffies from all parts of the UK.
Staffy Adoption USA
Many rescue shelters in the United States specialise in Pit Bull rescue. However, they all include the Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
One no-kill shelter in Illinois is It’s a Pittie which deals with all Pit Bull Breeds. Another well-known Pit Bull shelter that deals with Staffies is Angel City Pit Bulls, located in Los Angeles.
One other shelter that specialises in all Pit Bull-type breeds is in Dallas, Texas, and they are The Love Pit Rescue.
Staffy Adoption Australia
Two large rescue centres in Australia can be found in New South Wales, one in Sydney and the other in Penrith; the Staffy Rescue and Saving Staffies. In Queensland, a shelter specialising in Staffies is called Queensland Staffy and Amstaff Rescue.