In episode 4 of our pet-friendly travel special, we catch up with a Pooches at Play regular, Axle the English Staffy, to get some training tips for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the British variety.

About the English Staffy

Both the English and American ‘Staffies’ are breeds that fall under the ‘Mastiff’ breed category.  The English Staffy is a courageous, highly intelligent and affectionate breed that is very human-oriented and loyal.  In short, they want to be with you all of the time!

With a short, smooth coat, they come in red, fawn, white black or blue…or any one of these colours, with white.

Lifestyle considerations

The English Staffy is  a very versatile dog who will happily join the family in anything they do.  Whether it be cuddles on the couch, a trip to the beach or park, trips to the beach, car rides…anything you are doing!   

This in turn can mean that many staffies, that are deprived of their family’s company or left alone all day, can become very anxious or destructive if not exercised adequately, or provide with the mental and physical stimulation they require. 

While known as a “nanny dog” due to their love of children, they are not well suited to families with very small children as they can knock toddlers over with their bouncy enthusiasm.

Sadly, a lot of staffies end up in shelters after a baby enters the family unit, so think ahead before choosing an English Staffy. As with all dogs, they should not be left with children unsupervised.

Training and behavioural considerations

The English Staffy is strong-willed, boisterous and courageous.   They can be completely fearless and curious, which does mean you do need to keep an eye on them to keep them safe, as they can jump from extreme heights, run through glass doors or windows, without a second glance!!

Loving and playful they are good with kids, and good with other family pets if introduced early.  They can be combative or reactive with other unfamiliar dogs outside of the family, as they are very protective of their own!

The English Staffy definitely needs a lot of exercise outside of the home.  They need a lot of environmental enrichment if left alone, otherwise they may become anxious or bored which can lead to despair or destructive behaviour, such as digging and chewing, as they find ways to entertain themselves or demonstrate separation related behaviours. 

With their strong jaw, you definitely need to invest in some very strong, staffy proof interactive and other toys to keep them busy.

The need to provide an English Staffy with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can not be under estimated.  They need a lot of long walks or jogs and family play time.

Owners must be calm but firm, consistent and able to handle a strong dog.  It is also imperative you provide an English Staffy with plenty of early and ongoing socialisation and training.

Although not known as excessive barkers (unless anxious), English Staffies are vocal: they will often be heard snoring, snorting, grunting and “singing”.

Health considerations

The English Staffy is well-known to suffer from skin conditions, so a good natural diet and sensitive skin shampoos and treatments are a must.

Puppies are prone to elongated soft palate, so taking out pet insurance as soon as you get a puppy is a good idea, so you can get them the treatment they require.

They are also prone to cataracts and PHPV – which is a congenital anomaly of the eye.

Need help training your English Staffy?

If you are looking for some help with training your English Staffy, or would  like to find out more about the NDTF Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training, find out how doing the course could help you with your own dog and training via their website.  click here.

 


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.