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Staffordshire Bull Terrier: An Owner’s Guide Alison Smith A comprehensive guide to all aspects of owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, this highly illustrated book is full of practical information and expert advice for pet owners and breeders.Staffordshire Bull Terriers are renowned for their loyalty to their owners and stability of temperament which makes them great pets. When properly socialised and trained they are playful, energetic and have a real love of people. If you are considering getting a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or are an existing owner who wants to learn more about the care of your dog then this book will be an invaluable resource.Contents include:• History of the breed• Acquiring a puppy• Socialization and training• Behaviour• Showing and obedience work• Healthcare STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER AN OWNER’S GUIDE Alison Smith Healthcare by David Taylor Dedication (#ulink_b6981149-63a1-5837-b48e-e5aeac6bffeb) To the most special people in my life, without whom I would not be what I am now: John Fletcher, Ruth and Willis Ford, my husband Syd, my babies Zara and Asher, Jayne Pashley and Dan-Dan! Also Arlene Fletcher, my Mum, who I miss beyond words. Contents Cover (#u5f0e9100-7752-50ff-ae2b-d341dc2e832d) Title Page (#u538871be-0f1b-56b9-9c3f-33c6d999a583) Dedication (#ulink_8934277e-9488-5b90-ae92-5f7af87336e9) Part 1 You and your dog (#ulink_435cd02b-d322-5b19-9205-86d0f3534a5c) Chapter 1 History of the breed (#ulink_6178afd9-8d2c-5f52-a43b-4aae2b9d18e6) Chapter 2 Acquiring a puppy (#ulink_d10db0ac-e280-508c-a4f5-7a5b405c81da) Chapter 3 Socialization and training (#litres_trial_promo) Chapter 4 Your adult dog (#litres_trial_promo) Chapter 5 Behaviour (#litres_trial_promo) Chapter 6 Showing and fun (#litres_trial_promo) Part 2 Healthcare (#litres_trial_promo) Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo) Useful information (#litres_trial_promo) Index (#litres_trial_promo) Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo) About the Authors (#litres_trial_promo) Copyright (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) PART ONE (#ulink_e3a37744-1dd1-5be4-addf-2eb8d2c94eba) YOU AND YOUR DOG (#ulink_e3a37744-1dd1-5be4-addf-2eb8d2c94eba) Owning a dog is a huge responsibility but extremely rewarding. When you decide to welcome a Staffordshire Bull Terrier into your home, you have to consider not only how he will fit into your lifestyle but also what you can offer him in return. He will need regular exercise, feeding, games and companionship as well as daily care. Chapter 1 (#ulink_7125b6b3-a084-52b3-be56-4db41b0a4881) History of the breed (#ulink_7125b6b3-a084-52b3-be56-4db41b0a4881) The history of the dog known today as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is, perhaps, one of the most well known histories of any breed. This loyal, people-loving dog still carries with him all the best traits that have been bred into him over the centuries to make him one of the most wonderful family pets imaginable. Bloodsports In the early nineteenth century, terriers of all kinds were bred for their ability to take part in what were then known as bloodsports, the two most popular being bull-baiting and cock-fighting. In the mid-1800s, bulls were brought to markets and upon by dogs. Baiting was done for two reasons: to tenderize the bull’s meat and provide entertainment for the spectators, who enjoyed nothing more than watching the specially bred dogs bring down a bull. This pastime also extended to bears and other animals. These bloodsports were very common at this time and would often take place in villages and at country fairs. The dogs would grab the bulls and be tossed around, sometimes even being hurled over a bull’s head, only to be thrown back into the action by their owners. Bred to win The secret to a winning dog’s success lay in the strength of his jaw. The ability to ‘lock’ his jaws onto another animal meant that, no matter how strong the opposition, the steely grip and weight of the dog would eventually tire the bull out and bring it down. Another trait of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was (and still is) its incredible tolerance to pain. This meant that they invariably continued to hang on, despite suffering severe injuries. These early dogs bore no resemblance to the noble breed we are used to today. They were bred not for their pleasing looks but for what was then known as their ‘gameness’ – in other words, their strength and skill against animals which were over 20 times their size. The Stafford’s fearless nature, together with his in-built resolve never to quit, are still much in evidence in the breed today, although modern breeders are also careful to breed for a good, sound temperament in their dogs, so that they will make good family pets. The loyal Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the most noble looking and wonderful dogs imaginable Origins of the breed The modern breed owes much of its physical attributes to the Bulldog. However, the Bulldog of the nineteenth century was a somewhat larger dog than the big-jawed and handsome one of today, with longer legs and a much more refined head, more reminiscent of the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Bulldog is believed to have been crossed with several other terrier breeds in a bid to attain a dog which combined great physical strength in the head and body with an agile swiftness. This was an ideal combination for a dog who was expected to fight in small areas, often known as ‘pits’. These breeds were often referred to as ‘Half-and-Halfs’, in a nod to the two distinct breeds that had produced them. The breed nowadays resembles both the Bulldog and the terrier, with evidence of the former still clearly seen in the head. The breed nowadays still shows clear signs of its Bulldog and terrier ancestry. Note the famous Stafford smile, as shown above by these two handsome dogs! The word Staffordshire relates to the part of the United Kingdom where the breed first became popular in the mid 1800s, particularly among the working classes. The Staffordshire area of the Midlands, including Birmingham, Walsall and Stoke-on-Trent, saw extensive breeding of both of this dog’s forebears – Bulldogs and terriers. The motivation was still to achieve the perfect fighting dog, and even though dog fighting was outlawed in the early 1900s, many fanciers continued to breed with the fight in mind and dogs still went head to head with each other. These clandestine fights were organized by word of mouth, culminating in a ‘game’ played out in someone’s home, backyard or a disused building. Thus the name of the breed is a tribute both to its forefathers and place of origin, making it truly British. Interestingly, whilst this breed’s aggression towards other dogs was never doubted, it is a fact that people were often to be seen handling the dogs in the fighting pits, and yet they were rarely attacked. This is a testament to the breed’s love of humans, and it is this quality that makes the Stafford such a wonderful companion to this day. The early days In 1888, the Bull Terrier Club of England was formed and subsequently the members published a Breed Standard – a blueprint for the breed. This Standard listed all the desirable physical and temperament points that any breeder should aspire to. All recognized breeds nowadays have their own Breed Standards, which are laid down by the Kennel Club and should be closely adhered to by breeders. This Stafford combines the physical strength and agility which his forebears were bred for. Staffords are always happy to display their keenness for life. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier had to wait until the 1930s before fanciers decided to try and establish it as a breed in its own right, rather than the loose blend of bull and terrier which had existed until that time. This was due partly to the fact that the abolition of dog fighting was now being strictly enforced and ‘underground fights’ were regularly stopped by the police and the organizers were punished. Illegal fighting continued, however – and, sadly, still does – albeit to a much lesser degree. Having lost their ‘sport’ to these new laws, breed enthusiasts started to think about what else they could do to show off their stock to other like-minded people. One way was to follow in the footsteps of many other dog breeds and perhaps start to compete against each other, not in the pit this time but in the show ring at a dog show. The first Standard At this point, the Stafford, as we know it now, was clearly recognizable. By cleverly breeding like to like, a very distinct and unique-looking dog was emerging. The very first Breed Standard was written by two of the Stafford’s most famous custodians and breeders, Joe Dunn and Joe Mallan. The writings were based on a dog called Jim the Dandy, which was owned by Jack Barnard. Early pictures of the breed show a dog that was taller and perhaps finer looking than the Stafford today, and possibly closer to its cousin, the Bull Terrier. In 1935, this prototype Standard was accepted at the first meeting of the newly formed Original Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club. In June of the same year, the Kennel Club (the UK’s official canine governing body) officially accepted it, too, thereby opening up a whole new world for the enthusiasts of the breed – the dog show. Popular the world over, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a happy-go-lucky companion who will be eager to try everything. Some even love water and swimming. It is perhaps unfortunate that many lovers of the breed in the mid-1930s, including people who had bred for years to create the Stafford, felt that the sport of showing was less than ideal. For them, a dog bred primarily for fighting would lose some of this trait if he was bred instead for the show ring, where a lack of ‘action’ would leave him naturally less aggressive over a period of time. Indeed, many secret fights were still going on, and some dogs continued to be bred for their prowess in a fight rather than in competition against the Standard. A year later, in 1936, the Original Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club became known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club, following some complaints from the Bull Terrier Club concerning the word ‘original’. First shows and famous winners It is widely believed that the very first appearance of the breed as an exhibit was in June 1935 at Hertfordshire Agricultural Show. The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club show was held two months later in August at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands. The records show that 60 dogs and bitches were entered. Around this time the breed was expanding rapidly in numbers and was sought after both as a pet and as a show dog. Whilst its origins were still very much to the fore, its popularity in the show ring meant that it was seen by many more people, as quite often the dog shows were held in conjunction with local agricultural shows, which attracted hundreds of visitors. Challenge Certificates (see page 88 (#litres_trial_promo)) were granted to the breed by the Kennel Club not long afterwards, and the first Stafford to be awarded this high honour was a beautiful dog called Gentleman Jim at the Birmingham National championship show, which is still held in the UK every year. In 1936, the breed was given its own class at Crufts Dog Show, and this was won by Cross Gunns Johnson, owned by Joe Dunn. In June 1946, the Southern Counties Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club held the first championship show purely for the Stafford, and breed fanciers saw an incredible entry of 300 dogs, which was testimony again to the growth in the breed’s popularity. Other dogs worthy of note at this time were Champion Gentleman Bruce, Champion Wardonion Corniche and Champion Brindle Crescendo of Wychbury. Pictures of them show a dog that had by now become much more uniform in appearance, although still perhaps a little taller than it is now. The breed internationally Nowadays the breed is very popular the world over. From America to Australia, from Russia to Argentina, the Stafford is revered as a wonderful pet and successful show dog. Sadly, however, there are some countries where the breed is the target of what is known as Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). This legislation came about because of a general confusion over the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and other breeds, namely the Pit Bull Terrier and several crosses of other breeds with the Stafford. Unfortunately, the physical similarities between these breeds can sometimes appear to be quite close to the uninitiated, although to the trained eye there are many differences. As a responsible owner, you will spend many happy hours with your well trained Stafford, walking him and playing. The German government tried to ban the breed across the European Union in September 2000, but luckily the intervention of the UK Kennel Club stopped this happening. The breed was banned in Ontario, Canada, in August 2005, and several other countries are closely watching the breed known as the Pit Bull Terrier. Therefore it is important that all Stafford owners behave very responsibly to avoid their breed being placed in the same category. The Dangerous Dogs Act As a responsible Stafford owner, the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) is extremely unlikely to affect you or your dog. Owning a pedigree Stafford is perfectly acceptable in the UK. However, you must always make sure that your dog’s pedigree and Kennel Club papers are available, as sometimes authorities with little expertise in the breed can confuse them with banned breeds. It is also worth bearing in mind that the Stafford is banned or under severe legal restriction in Germany, Israel and Canada. Legal restrictions can take the form of muzzling your dog in public, having to obtain a special licence, a ban on breeding and/or selling and, possibly, even having to take out special insurance for your dog. This owner has total control over her Stafford, who is displaying his full attention. Never allow your new dog off the lead until you have full control over him. The problem that the DDA does pose to Stafford owners in the UK is that a Stafford may physically resemble the Pit Bull Terrier to a person who is unfamiliar with the breed, which may be confusing to the uninitiated. Never allow your dog to run wild in open spaces until you are 100 per cent sure that you have full control over him, and never encourage him to display any aggression towards people or other dogs. For more information on the Dangerous Dogs Act, see page 126 (#litres_trial_promo). Breed Standard General appearance Smooth-coated, well balanced, of great strength for his size. Muscular, active and agile. Characteristics Traditionally of indomitable courage and tenacity. Highly intelligent and affectionate, especially with children. Temperament Bold, fearless and totally reliable. Head and skull Short, deep through with broad skull. Very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop, short foreface, nose black. Eyes Dark preferred but may bear some relation to coat colour. Round, of medium size, and set to look straight ahead. Eye rims dark. Ears Rose or half pricked, not large or heavy. Full, drop or pricked ears highly undesirable. Mouth Lips tight and clean. Jaws strong, teeth large, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Neck Muscular, rather short, clean in outline gradually widening towards shoulders. Forequarters Legs straight and well boned, set rather wide apart, showing no weakness at the pasterns, from which point feet turn out a little. Shoulders well laid back with no looseness at elbow. Body Close-coupled, with level topline, wide front, deep brisket, well sprung ribs; muscular and well defined. Boldness and courage are two words that are often used to describe the breed. The Stafford is a strong dog with a distinctive head and a very muscular body. Hindquarters Well muscled, hocks well let down with stifles well bent. Legs parallel when viewed from behind. Feet Well padded, strong and of medium size. Nails black in solid coloured dogs. Tail Medium length, low-set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. Should not curl much and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle. Gait/movement Free, powerful and agile with economy of effort. Legs moving parallel when viewed from front or rear. Discernible drive from hindlegs. Coat Smooth, short and close. Colour Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any one of these colours with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black and tan or liver colour highly undesirable. Size Desirable height at withers 35.5–40.5cm (14–16in), these heights being related to the weights. Weight: dogs: 12.7–17kg (28–38lb); bitches 11–15.4kg (24–34lb). Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. © The Kennel Club The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Chapter 2 (#ulink_a2a78293-1ecd-52b6-92b1-d76fac854914) Acquiring a puppy (#ulink_a2a78293-1ecd-52b6-92b1-d76fac854914) There is a saying amongst Stafford owners, which is that once you have owned a Stafford, you will never want to have another breed of dog. It is also fairly true to say that you don’t own the breed – it owns you. Such is the extent of the mark a loving Stafford can make on your life as well as your family. I make no apology for the amount of time you will read the word ‘socialized’ in this chapter. Choosing a puppy who has had the benefit of a careful breeder and early socialization is so important. Is this the breed for you? Before you buy a Stafford, ask yourself the following questions: • Are you out at work all day? • Are you a couch potato? • Do you live in a flat or bedsit with no green space? • Are you elderly, infirm or disabled? • Do you have other dogs? If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, think carefully before choosing a Stafford as your breed. These dogs thrive on company, lots of exercise, an energetic family and plenty of room to call their own. However, if you have taken this into consideration and feel that you can surmount any possible problems, then a Stafford may still make a wonderful companion for you. Why choose a Stafford? The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a breed that is noted for its loyalty and devotion, as well as its deep affection for children; for this reason, it is also known as the Nanny Dog. The Stafford is a smooth-coated dog which makes him relatively easy to care for and, as a responsible owner, you will be rewarded with a companion who lives for his family and whose reason for being will begin and end with you. This dog is extremely energetic and you must be aware that it is essential that you provide above-average exercise and establish a regular routine from an early age for your dog’s mental and physical development – if you are a couch potato, then this breed is probably not right for you. Your dog will thrive on companionship and love and is not a suitable pet if you are away from him for long periods, as this will inevitably lead to difficulty in maintaining the level-headedness required in this physically strong breed. A Stafford puppy will reward you with his fun-loving personality and deep love of humans, especially children. Make sure that you see the prospective puppies with their mother. They should always be in clean and warm surroundings and should play well together. You must also bear in mind that this cute puppy – and they are adorable – will grow into a strong and powerful animal who will require a strong arm to control him and will probably remain a juvenile in his outlook and behaviour. This breed is boisterous and friendly, and age and maturity will do little to diminish this. If you feel ready for this wonderful breed, you have taken your first step to owning a Staffordshire Bull Terrier just by buying this book. It is important to remember that the history of the Stafford means that although he is a wonderful companion, his tolerance of other dogs is low. Good breeders will keep a number of Staffords together from puppyhood, but their potential aggression towards other dogs means that socialization from an early age is essential. The first steps First things first now that you have taken the decision to look for a Stafford. There are hundreds of reputable breeders of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and, initially, you will need to make contact with several and talk to them. Lists of these breeders are readily available from the Kennel Club (see page 126 (#litres_trial_promo)) or from breed clubs countrywide and they will be only too happy to give advice and point you in the right direction. The most important thing you should remember when acquiring a puppy is that it is never a good idea to buy from certain people or places, and that the following should be avoided at all costs: • Buying over the internet • Buying from one of the free ad papers, particularly where the breeder has several different breeds on offer • Buying from a person who wants to hand the puppy over anywhere other than at their home, e.g. if they offer to meet you in a car park, supermarket or motorway service station • Buying from pet shops or supermarkets. More often than not, the above methods are used by people who may not be accustomed to breeding correctly and they might disregard certain aspects of their dogs’ welfare and health. These puppies may have had little or no early socialization, which is a recipe for trouble in a breed where this is essential. Talking to breeders and owners When you telephone breeders to make contact, don’t be offended if they ask you more questions than you ask them. They will be anxious to establish that their puppy is going to an environment where he will be happy, well cared for and brought up sensibly. This is a good opportunity for you to find out about anything that may be worrying you, so don’t be afraid to ask, no matter how silly you think it sounds. Any good breeder will always be there to offer you help and advice and even to take back a puppy if things don’t work out in his new home. It is a good idea to spend some time talking to other Stafford owners and maybe attending dog shows where you can meet the breed. Don’t just look for a local dog – you may have to venture further afield to find the right puppy for you with a good temperament so be prepared to travel several hundred miles if necessary; it will definitely be worth it. When you locate the right breeder, they may not have a suitable puppy available immediately and you might find yourself on a waiting list. If this is the case, be patient and use the time to read about the breed and prepare your home for the new arrival. Choosing a puppy When you have researched the breed and spoken to owners and breeders, you will be in a position to choose your puppy. Breeders often breed dogs whose temperament and conformation to the Breed Standard make them eligible as potential show dogs. If you feel that you may be interested in showing your dog, you must mention this to the breeder right at the start. They will then be able to make sure that you have what they consider to be a ‘show quality’ Stafford. However, no breeder is clever enough to see into the future and therefore you must not be disappointed if your showing success does not stretch to Best in Show at Crufts! This young Stafford looks a picture of health, with a shiny coat and eyes. His interest in his toy indicates a good disposition. Once you have made contact with a suitable breeder and a litter of puppies is available, you will be asked to visit the puppies at home. Be prepared to see them at about four to six weeks even though they will not be able to leave their mother until they are at least eight weeks old, or sometimes a little older. What to look for Always make sure that you are offered the opportunity to see the puppies with their mother. This will not offend a good breeder and will give you the extra peace of mind that they really are home-bred. You will also be able to use this visit to gauge the mother’s temperament, so always look for signs of a happy and very friendly dog. This is your chance to ascertain that the puppies’ environment is a loving and suitable one. Check for things like clean bedding, fresh water, toys and space for the puppies to move around in. If the litter is being kept in a kennel, make sure that it seems warm and accessible. All these factors will indicate whether the breeder is genuine and caring, which, in turn, helps create a well socialized and healthy litter of puppies. The puppies’ coats should look shiny and healthy. It is generally agreed that a wet nose and nice clear eyes are also signs of good health. Make sure that they do not look too thin – Stafford pups should have a decent covering of coat and flesh but without looking fat. Their ears should be clean with no discharge, and the puppies should not smell unpleasant. Do watch out for any signs of nervousness or aggression, particularly in the mother. Staffords are often said to smile, but be on the look-out for any baring of the teeth towards humans as this can often mean that the bitch has not been socialized properly. However, do bear in mind the natural maternal instinct of the new mum, who may be upset by strangers being too ‘full on’ with her pups. The breeder will usually be more than happy to remove a puppy from the mother for you to look at. Take your time You don’t have to choose a puppy straight away, and if there is anything you are unhappy about, just make your excuses politely and leave. Watch the pups interact with each other and ask to visit again if wished. You may easily recognize the ones within a litter who are more dominant, aggressive or shy. You may even find that a pup will end up picking you rather than the other way round. Things to bear in mind The character of the Stafford is fairly equal in both the dog and the bitch. They are – and should be – feisty, fun-loving and inquisitive. In common with puppies of any breed, however, they will require patience and time to socialize and train. This breed can tend towards dominance without some early training, making it imperative that you are prepared to donate the time and effort that are necessary to produce a really well-behaved and friendly dog who will be a credit to you. Watch puppies at play – you can often see which ones are going to be the bossy ones! A puppy who is integrated from an early age with other dogs is unlikely to pose a problem; often the older dogs will put him in his place from the beginning and harmony will be the order of the day. However, Staffords do not integrate easily with other Staffords (particularly when they are of the same sex), and this is something to bear in mind if you already have an older dog or bitch in your home. I have had two males live happily side by side, but I have also owned two bitches who would almost certainly have killed one another had they been left alone together. Never just assume that Staffords will get on – it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you do not wish to breed from your Stafford, you may wish to consider neutering. This not only prevents unwanted pregnancies in bitches but can also go some way towards preventing breast and prostate cancer. Some people believe that neutered Staffords lose some of their ‘spark, but I have never found this to be the case, although dogs can sometimes become slightly more ‘laid back’ as a result. Appearance and coat colour Staffords come in different colours and the ones that are accepted in the breed are very varied. If you intend to show your dog, check the Breed Standard before choosing a puppy. The colour that is known as black/brindle is the most common one – this is a jet black coat on which the brindle appears, ranging from a tiny fleck to the stunning ‘tiger’ brindle. Payment and papers Good Staffords are not cheap and thus you must expect to pay handsomely for a pedigree puppy – how much will largely depend on his pedigree. The pedigree certificate should show you at least the last three generations of parentage, and champion dogs may often be highlighted in red. Ask the breeder to explain the pedigree to you if you feel unclear about it. Once you have decided that you are happy with the breeder and want to buy a puppy, you may be asked to pay a deposit. This is usual practice and will secure the puppy for you. Later, on completion of the sale, you will be asked to pay the balance. Rescuing a Stafford Unfortunately, there are currently hundreds of Staffords languishing in rescue centres for a variety of reasons. They may have ended up in rescue through no fault of their own – perhaps as the result of divorce, a house move or even the arrival of a new baby in a household. Others, sadly, are there because their early socialization was inadequate and their behaviour may have become too much for their – often well meaning – owners. Rescuing a Stafford can be extremely rewarding, but do think carefully about it and speak to the breed rescues beforehand. Paperwork Now is the time to make sure that the breeder has passed over all the relevant paperwork. You should receive the following: • Your dog’s pedigree certificate This should show at least the last three generations of parentage; champion dogs may often be highlighted in red • Your dog’s registration papers The breeder will have registered the pups with the Kennel Club. If they have registered the puppies in their name, you will have to fill in a Transfer of Ownership form and send it to the Kennel Club (with a small fee), for the dog to be registered in your name. Check with the breeder, as some register the puppy in your name to save you the trouble • Insurance certificate Most puppies will come with health insurance for a free ‘limited’ period. Check this out with the breeder and renew when necessary • Vaccination diary Your Stafford should have received his first jabs by the time you get him. Make sure you take the vaccination sheet with you – your vet will need this to fill in subsequent boosters, etc. • DNA profile Some breeders have their litters DNA profiled by the Kennel Club. If this is the case, ask for the certificate. You must think carefully before you decide to rehome an adult Stafford, especially if you have no previous experience of the breed. Although these dogs are temperament tested and all of them deserve loving homes, they can sometimes be too challenging for the first-time owner and they will require 110 per cent commitment. Many rescue dogs arrive with their own patterns of behaviour, which are already inherent, and some may never have been housetrained or they may require basic obedience training. If you feel able to cope with this, contact your local rescue centre and they will talk you through the whole process of adopting one of these dogs. Having said that, I have rescued Staffords and found the experience ultimately very rewarding. Be aware that if you do decide to rescue one, it will involve a visit to your home to make sure that you – and your house – are suitable. Puppy-proofing your home Life for a Stafford puppy is one big adventure. These inquisitive babies will view almost anything they encounter as either a potential toy or food! Therefore, it is recommended that before you go ahead and welcome your new arrival into your home, you carry out the following checks inside and outside. Outside Make sure that your garden is secure. Stafford puppies have an amazing ability to squeeze through very small gaps in hedges and fencing, so mend any holes. It is also a good idea to check any gates or doors that lead into the garden, particularly at the bottom, where the gap from floor to gate should be no more than 5cm (2in). Also bear in mind that the name Terrier comes from the word ‘terrain’, which means of the ground – these dogs enjoy digging, so protect any valuable plants. Check that you don’t have any plants which are poisonous to dogs and be careful when using weed-killers and other chemicals. Cocoa mulch is also potentially dangerous if eaten. Inside You need to make the inside of your house puppy-proof, too. If you want to confine your puppy to certain rooms or the ground floor only, you could invest in a child-safety gate which can be placed in doorways or at the bottom of the stairs. Walk around your home, checking out the following: Wires Puppies adore wires, so carefully check out any places where they may have access to loose wires, cables or electrical equipment and make sure that they are secure and out of harm’s way. Harmful substances Most of us keep bleach in the downstairs toilet or floor cleaner under the sink in the kitchen. Your new puppy will be quite happy to use these products as his playthings, so it is very important to make sure that any household cleaning materials and chemicals are well out of his reach or shut away securely in cupboards. Child safety locks fitted to cupboard doors are always a good option. This puppy has plenty of room to play, as well as fresh water and toys in a secure place. Chewing Tell the whole family to start keeping things tidy and not to leave anything that they value lying around, especially on the floor. You can try telling your new puppy that the designer trainer he has just eaten cost a lot of money or that the shredded paper at his feet was, in fact, a particularly important document, but he will not understand. Puppies love chewing and there is hardly anything they will not consider, so put things away or place them out of reach. Puppies are happy to play in their crates for a while. It also gives them time to relax and sleep in their own den if they want. Essential equipment You will need to purchase some of the following items of equipment before you bring your new Stafford puppy home. Crate and bedding A crate is a metal or plastic ‘home’, and although some people think that crates are cruel prisons for dogs, this is far from the truth. When used correctly, they can help a puppy to settle into his new surroundings quickly. A crate will give him a sense of security, and it will enable you to housetrain him and make him feel secure. Most puppies soon learn that the crate is their own private place, where they can sleep peacefully and escape from family life if they want to. You can buy crates from dog shows, pet shops or via the internet. Remember that your puppy, who may fit in your hands now, will grow quickly, so buy a crate with plenty of room for your adult Stafford. Crates are great for travelling. They generally fit quite snugly in cars, and your dog will feel secure and safe. Bedding comes in a variety of types, and specially made bedding can be obtained from the same sources as your crate. You may want to consider buying waterproof bedding for a new puppy as accidents will happen. However, a good blanket or two from your bed is just as good and this will allow the puppy to use his ‘den-building’ instincts, which survive in all dogs. Playpens Another great buy, which is particularly helpful when you are housetraining your puppy, is a wire playpen (a three-sided fireguard will also do the trick). It can easily be placed against a wall and will make a great (and cheap) alternative to an indoor crate. Do make sure that the sides of the playpen can be altered, to give your puppy enough room to sleep as well as a small play area. His crate and playpen can be placed by your outside door and he should be encouraged to go outside in the garden to toilet from day one. Remember, however, that your puppy should never be left in this confined environment for long periods, although it is perfect for night-times and those times during the day when you need to know where he is and to put him where he can see you. Puppies are like toddlers, so use that as your rule of thumb. All puppies love to chew – even a cardboard tube or box can become a plaything. Toys All puppies love to chew and there is a good reason for this. Chewing is good not only for their mental wellbeing but can also physically aid the teething process. Remember that puppies are not dissimilar to babies, and the distraction of a few hard toys can avoid boredom. They also mean that your sofa and chair legs may remain intact. Staffords have a particularly strong chewing instinct, and therefore their toys should be chosen very carefully for maximum safety. Choose good-quality hard toys and try to avoid the cute furry ones, which will be demolished quickly and any fur or stuffing may be swallowed. Similarly, don’t buy squeaky toys, which can soon be dismantled and contain small parts that are potentially very dangerous. Choose good-quality toys for young puppies, who will spend many happy hours playing. Get your new puppy acquainted with a soft ‘puppy’ collar. You should be able to insert three fingers if it is fit comfortably. Collar and lead For the first few weeks, you will be advised not to take your puppy out on a lead in public places. There are two reasons for this good advice: firstly, it is sensible to make sure that he has had all his vaccinations before venturing out into public places where other dogs have been. Your vet will be able to advise you on this (see page 102 (#litres_trial_promo)). Secondly, a puppy’s body in the first few months is growing fast and damage can occur to his immature bones if exercise is too rigorous. Having said this, however, it is a good idea to get your pup acquainted with wearing a collar as soon as possible. At first, buy a soft puppy collar and lead. There are many good collars designed for puppies. Make sure that the collar is soft – nylon is ideal – and a good fit; you should be able to comfortably fit your finger between the collar and the puppy’s neck. Don’t worry if he fusses a little at first. He may try and scratch at the collar, or roll around as if trying to remove it. This is because it feels alien to him (imagine what it feels like when you wear a new hat or piece of jewellery for the first time). Leave him to it as this reaction won’t last long, sometimes only minutes. Food and food bowls Metal bowls are advisable, as plastic ones will be viewed as yet another thing to chew. Buy one for food and one for water. Some breeders recommend bowl stands (these are three- or four-legged raised containers) to prevent the puppy dipping his head to eat. Personally, I feel that normal feeding with the bowl on the floor is perfectly acceptable. Ask the breeder what food the puppy has been weaned on. Most breeders will give you a diet sheet to take with you when you collect the puppy. Make sure you have the correct food ready for when the puppy arrives. Wormers Your breeder should have kept the puppy up-to-date with his worming, and your obligation will start the moment he arrives in your care. All dogs need to be wormed regularly in the first two years of their life. Your breeder or vet will be happy to advise you. Flea prevention As with worming, flea and tick control is an essential part of caring for your puppy. There are various excellent preventatives on the market and your vet can advise you and administer flea control for a nominal fee. Bringing your puppy home The day you collect your puppy will be very exciting. Make sure that at least two people (preferably adults) drive to pick him up. Puppies can get quite car sick at first and one of you will need to hold him and make sure that he does not become distressed. Some people advise taking a cardboard box full of towels for the journey. However, although this may be a sensible precaution, I have brought a puppy home inside my coat, where the tiny creature was quite happy to sleep during the 200-mile journey. Puppy training pads These are like giant nappies that you place wherever you wish the puppy to toilet. Start by positioning one just outside his crate and then gradually move it closer to the door. He will soon associate the pad with doing his business and will ‘follow’ it to his ultimate destination… outside. Pads can also prevent too much mess on the floor. Your puppy will soon associate his crate with security and will enjoy going in there. Wearing a collar Get your puppy used to wearing a collar for the first time. Give him a couple of days to settle in first, and then introduce him to it gently. Most puppies don’t mind at all, but it will help with lead training if they grow accustomed to wearing a collar at the earliest possible age. You may want to ask the breeder for a scrap of bedding which has the scent of the puppy’s mother on it, as it can be quite soothing for him if he can still smell something familiar amongst his new surroundings. If your journey will be lengthy, remember to take a bottle of water and a small bowl with you in the car. If a toilet break becomes necessary, you can pull up somewhere well away from the traffic and stay close to your puppy until he has relieved himself. Settling in at home When you arrive home, introduce your puppy to your garden straight away. This will tell him that this is where he can relieve himself. Next stop should be his bed, which may be a crate, or a dog bed lined with old towels or blankets. Avoid fluffy bedding as your puppy will probably end up chewing most of it. Some people use sturdy cardboard boxes as first beds. These are OK, but you may find a huge pile of shredded cardboard and no bed the next morning. Leave him to settle quietly and allow him to have a potter round and explore the house. Remember that this can be quite an overwhelming experience, and even though Staffords are generally very adaptable, your puppy has just left his mother and litter mates and has entered a whole new world, all in one day. If you have children, don’t let them overwhelm him. Explain to them that he needs peace and quiet while he settles in and when he feels more confident he will probably want to play. Young dogs need plenty of sleep and, much like their human counterparts, will probably eat, sleep and toilet for the first few weeks of their life. Most puppies soon get used to wearing a collar and lead. Put them on your dog and let him trail them round the garden. House-training If done properly, house-training can be easy and stress-free for both you and your puppy. No puppy can avoid having the odd accident. He will have lived in a confined space for the first eight weeks of his life and will probably have relieved himself on newspaper. So don’t expect him to know automatically what to do straight away. You need to be patient. In the very early stages, make sure that he is able to reach some newspaper (or a training pad) the minute he leaves his bed. He will be used to doing this, and any immediate change from his usual routine may cause him undue stress. It is ideal if his crate can be positioned as near to the outside door (the one he will go out of to relieve himself) as possible. This newspaper training will teach him not only to go in the same place all the time but will also help him to associate the back door with his toilet. Always reward your puppy with praise words when he toilets outside in the garden. During the first week, try and observe the times that he needs to toilet and start pre-empting him. Most puppies relieve themselves after a meal and on waking, so start off by taking him outside first thing in the morning. Don’t worry if he has already done something on his newspaper. Stand with him and let him toilet; maybe say a special word to get him used to the routine, such as ‘Be quick’. If he performs, make a fuss of him and praise him enthusiastically before taking him back inside. He will learn that toileting outside in a particular spot is rewarding and will want to please you. Playtime A Stafford puppy is happiest when he is playing. Until he has been fully vaccinated and is happy to walk on a lead, it is best to restrict his exercise to playtime with you in the garden and around the home. Staffords love to tug things, so gentle tugs-of-war with a dog rope (available wherever dog toys can be obtained) are a good idea. Be careful with your puppy’s teeth though, and don’t be too boisterous at this stage. Let him chase toys that you throw for him and encourage him to run around the garden with you as well. If he is good, and particularly if he is gentle, reward his behaviour with a small dog treat and plenty of praise. Remember that at this age a puppy will tire very easily, so don’t expect too much from him: 10–15 minutes at a time are sufficient. After a couple of weeks, he may go to the door himself and ask to be put out. Let him out and never stop using praise as this will reinforce that what he is doing is right. At this point, start telling him it is wrong to toilet inside. However, you must remain patient and not shout at your puppy. Make sure the door is open for him whenever possible. If you see him squatting down in readiness inside the house, use a single word command, such as ‘No’ or ‘Outside’, then pick him up and carry him outside. Praise him lavishly when he does his job. This simple method will eventually produce the right result, but remember that accidents will happen occasionally, that a mixture of praise and commands will work, and that shouting will get you nowhere at all but will only frighten and confuse him. Be consistent and prepared to take your puppy outside 20 times a day if necessary, and you will soon have a dog who tells you when he needs the toilet – not the other way around. It is best at this stage to stay outside with your puppy to make sure that he is doing his business, not just sneaking out of sight and pretending he has if the weather does not quite suit him. Take advice from your breeder on feeding your Stafford puppy in the first few weeks. Feeding Your breeder will provide you with a diet sheet, so try and follow this as closely as possible as it will mirror the puppy’s early regime and avoid possible stomach upsets caused by a sudden change in his diet. If you wish to change your young Stafford’s diet for some reason, do so gradually over a couple of weeks, slowly introducing more of the new food and less of the old. It is unwise at this age to change his diet radically. Until your puppy is about 20 weeks old, I would recommend four small meals a day: breakfast, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and a final one at around 7pm. A good handful of food is a rough guide for each meal. Meals that are too large can cause your puppy to become overweight and may stretch his stomach. Ideal meals at this stage are scrambled eggs with a little grated cheese, small bite mixers and a small amount of gravy or fish (fresh or canned in oil or brine, not tomato-based sauces). Some breeders recommend feeding at different times to give the dog a good feeding ‘instinct’, whereas others advise sticking to a strict routine. I have known dogs thrive on both plans and Staffords are rarely fussy eaters, so do what works best for you and your dog. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/alison-smith/staffordshire-bull-terrier-an-owner-s-guide/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом.
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