The most important thing to realize about the American Staffordshire Terrier is that it bases its world on the idea of a pack order. This means that it believes that someone is going to be the leader of its life, whether that distinction is theirs or it is their owners, this is the result of training. Making sure the American Staffordshire Terrier is trained early to know that you are the authority can be a challenging task for any owner. But if you’re someone that doesn’t like to assert authority, it will be especially tricky, if not impossible to control this sort of breed.
You will need to constantly remind the American Staffordshire Terrier that they are not the ones in charge and that you are. This will take consistent discipline and commands to help monitor their progress along the way. Many owners find that some assistance in an obedience class setting can help them get this training started, but since the dog will be in your care for most of the time, you need to be willing and able to keep up the lessons.
While the American Staffordshire Terrier doesn’t necessarily need to be attended to at every moment, this is a breed that likes to interact with its master. This might include tasks in which they can do something that will please you – i.e. fetching and pulling on a chew toy. You want to give this dog a lot of praise when you are training it, so that it knows it is pleasing you. This is the best way to approach training with this particular breed as negative training can often cause the dog to become upset or even defensive. However, if the American Staffordshire Terrier does do something it’s not supposed to, you will need to be firm to assert your authority and ensure that the action does not happen again.
Though they have a reputation for being guard dogs, some of their skills will have to come from you. For example, the American Staffordshire Terrier will not naturally bark at the door or at strangers, so you may need to teach them to do this, if this is a behavior you want encouraged.
You will also need to realize that even if you aren’t overtly trying to tell your American Staffordshire Terrier something, they can often pick up on subtle cues in your behavior. For example, if you’re not firm in your training, they will not be consistent in their resulting behaviors.
A American Staffordshire Terrier that is not trained well will often bark excessively, become aggressive and overly dominant, as well as have troubles with urinating.
House training is of particular concern with this intelligent breed. If their owner is not firm about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, you can create a situation in which the dog is urinating or defecating all over the house. It will help you to be firm with the dog right from the beginning in terms of what you expect for house training. You may also want to take classes in obedience training in this area prior to your dog’s arrival in your home.
The American Staffordshire Terrier does require regular exercise in order to be healthy and happy. You will want to take this dog on frequent walks and keep them occupied with toys and other distractions. Owners that take their American Staffordshire Terrier out for an hour of walking each day report that their dogs are more content and don’t become bored or fidgety when they are then brought back indoors.
Since this is an intelligent dog, it may be a good idea to take the American Staffordshire Terrier to regular obedience classes to help them stay active as well as learn lessons of how to interact with others.
In most cases, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a hardy breed that doesn’t suffer from a lot of Health Problems, but there are some concerns that do come up with some dogs:
– Hip dysplasia: A common disorder in canines, this degenerative disease causes the hip joint to become damaged, causing pain and problems with mobility. Symptoms occur over a long period of time and can manifest in symptoms such as slower movement and problems getting up and down. Treatment options will vary, but include exercises, pain medications, and even surgery.
– Congenital Heart disease – Some American Staffordshire Terrier dogs are born with this condition and symptoms and treatments vary. Many dogs have no problems at all, while others will require monitoring and medications to make sure the heart is working properly.
– Cataracts – Caused by genetic factors, these Cataracts can cause blindness and vision disturbances. Treatments are available for severe cases and require surgery to remove the Cataracts.
– Hives – Since the coat of the American Staffordshire Terrier is so short, the skin is often exposed to the elements and the outside environment. This often creates a situation in which the skin can become irritated more easily by insects or heat, even stress, causing hives or small welts in the skin.