Before you buy a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy it is wise to ensure that this is the correct dog for you and your family. The Stafford is renowned for its affinity with humans and is particularly good with children. He is therefore a dog who is more comfortable sharing your home or indeed your lap, than spending long periods of time on his own in a kennel.
It should be borne in mind that the cute little puppy you first brought home will mature into a powerful and muscular animal and the males particularly, require a strong arm to control the lead. Stafford's love human contact and will often be boisterous with visitors - you have to be prepared for the fact that not all your friends will appreciate this. Having a dog is a lot of extra work and responsibility and you need to be sure that you wish to commit yourself to your dog's welfare for its lifespan, which on average is between 10 -12 years.
Because of its close relationship with humans the Stafford does not make a good guard dog and is not suited to being left for long periods without outside stimulation. The Stafford has a colourful history and it is to be remembered that whilst they love people, they will react if challenged by another dog. For this reason you must always be a responsible owner and never take your dog into a public place unless he is on a collar and lead or preferably a harness, as this is much more comfortable for your dog and will not do any damage to their neck.
Always ensure the harness/ collar and lead is of sufficient strength to withstand the wear and tear to which it will be subjected (leather or nylon webbing are ideal) The collar if you choose this method should be of sufficient width so as not to cut into your dog’s neck, and neither uncomfortably tight nor so loose as to pull over his head in one of those 'stubborn' moments. In addition, you must ensure that your garden is secure and 'dog-proof; Stafford's have no fear of traffic and all too often become road accident victims.
Puppies require a lot of time and patience and raising two will require double the effort and twice the patience. It is recommended that where there are two or more Stafford's in a household, that they are separated if left unattended for any length of time. Of course there are many positive virtues owning a Stafford - he is a dog with special qualities which makes him an ideal family dog.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is well suited to a close living relationship with its human companions - he is highly intelligent and thrives on a one-to-one basis, being ever eager to please and he will give you a lifetime of devotion. You will find it helpful to maintain a good relationship with the breeders through photographs and regular updates and they, in turn, will be able to provide you with help and advice as your puppy grows.
You should take advice from your puppy's breeder, but the following is a guide to some aspects of looking after your puppy:-
A young puppy will initially be on four meals a day, breakfast / lunch / dinner / supper,. As a guide you can reduce your puppy's meals by omitting lunch at around 4 months, then supper at 6 months until by 9 months he is on one main meal, usually fed in the evening. In addition, fresh drinking water should be available at all times.
When puppy is teething he will want something to chew and if left unattended for any length of time he will become bored and your skirting board or chair leg will become the object of his attentions. This can be minimised by providing toys (not too small and not containing metal pieces that could be swallowed as the toy breaks up), and of course by giving him time and attention.
In addition, when used properly, dog cages can be helpful at this time, as the confine the puppy whilst you are out and until you can be there to supervise him. Dogs are not meant to be kept cooped up in cages for long periods of time, or in cages that are not sufficiently large enough to allow free movement. Therefore if you do use a cage - please don't abuse it.
The breeder may have already begun basic training of your puppy by allowing him to differentiate between the 'bed' for sleeping and the newspaper placed in the run for his toilet. Patience is required when toilet training your puppy - always take him to the door following feeding and allow him to go into the garden, praise him when he has done well and he will soon get the idea. During the night it is best to place newspaper near to the back door which minimises the mess and encourages him to go to the door when he wants to do his business.
Your puppy will thrive on play time but don't give him anything too hard to chew whilst he has milk teeth as this could cause damage, and don't allow him to hang off a rubber ring when young, as his bones are still very flexible. If you have children please ensure that they realise that th s is a living animal with feeling and not a toy; they should be taught to respect the dog. Don't let them wake him when he is sleeping or constantly handle him when he is awake. It is unwise to leave Children of any age unsupervised with a young puppy. A puppy's milk teeth are razor sharp and he should be discourage from biting as it can be very painful. Stafford's are very sensitive and if chastisement is necessary let them know by the firm tone of your voice that is all that should be required.
Don't be tempted to subject your puppy to too much rigorous exercise. Prior to six months of age he will only require light exercise with free running and light lead work and no intensive roadwork. During this time a puppy's bones are soft and 'too much too young' can result in malformed limbs. Exercise should gradually be increased so that by around 12 months he will be able to accompany you on long walks without distress.
The information contained in these notes is not meant to be exhaustive, but we hope they provide helpful guidance on the purchasing and early stages of raising your new Stafford. Congratulations on selecting this wonderful breed of dog. I am sure you will find in him a true companion and life-long friend, you will have lots of fun together and your life will undoubtedly never be quite the same again. Remember: You’re never alone with a Stafford!