Hints & tips on how to train Staffy puppies

Written by kalyn villaneda
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Hints & tips on how to train Staffy puppies
Staffordshire bull terriers can be loyal and loving companions if they have the proper training. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Originally bred for rat killing, bull baiting and later dog fighting, the Staffordshire bull terrier, or Staffy, is a fearless dog with a stubborn personality. They are intelligent and independent. At the same time, they are affectionate toward their human owners and are an obedient breed. They are midsize dogs, weighing 10.9 to 13.6 kilos. Because of their independence and violent history, it is important to train your Staffordshire puppy from the moment you bring it home.

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Positive reinforcement

Staffordshire bull terriers are eager to please their owners. This willingness makes positive reinforcement an effective way to train Staffy puppies. It is important to keep a happy attitude while you are training. If you are excited, your puppy will be as well. Have your puppy's favourite treats on hand to use as rewards. When you reward your puppy for doing something right, you are showing it what you want it to do. When it learns what makes you happy, a Staffordshire terrier puppy will feel encouraged to keep trying.

Be consistent

It is important to reinforce your puppy's rules every day. If you allow it to break a rule once, it will get confused and you will have to spend time retraining it. Dogs that are allowed to break a rule one day will be eager to do it again. If you don't want your puppy climbing on the furniture, shoo it off every time it tries to get on. You should also be consistent with your training methods. If you use positive reinforcement, use it every time. Reward your Staffordshire puppy for good behaviour rather than punishing it for bad behaviour.

Socialise your puppy

Your puppy is part of a breed with a violent history. Bull baiting and dog fighting required dogs to display aggression. Staffordshire terriers are friendly to humans, but are genetically predisposed to show aggression to dogs and other animals. You can minimise this risk by socialising your puppy from a young age. Take it to puppy day care or classes where it will have a chance to interact with dogs its own age. Walk it around your neighbourhood, take it to dog parks and expose it to the sights and smells of the city. You should encourage your dog to encounter as many different dogs, people, sights, smells and sounds as you can. When it is exposed to unfamiliar situations, it will learn how to deal with them in a calm and polite way.

Training sessions

Hold daily training sessions with your Staffordshire puppy. These should be five to 10 minutes long. Focus on one or two commands during these sessions. Bring treats along, because the rewards will help your puppy focus and encourage it to continue trying. Keep a positive attitude during your sessions. If you start to get frustrated, or see that your puppy is getting upset or distracted, it's time to stop. Turning training into a game will make it more exciting for both of you. Don't train at the same location every day. Spend time in the house, in the garden if you have one and at the park. This will help your dog learn to obey despite the different distractions it encounters.

Exercise

The Staffordshire bull terrier is a hardy and energetic dog that requires lots of exercise. Daily walks and games of fetch help your puppy expend energy. A tired dog is a calm dog. When dogs don't get enough exercise, they can become aggressive or destructive. They are looking for a way to get rid of their pent-up energy. Take your puppy on two 15- to 20-minute walks per day. You can also take it jogging or swimming. Your dog will also enjoy active games like fetch and tug-of-war. If your dog gets enough exercise, it won't be as likely to get into mischief when you aren't around.

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