Raising a dog
These are some practical tips for raising your dog in the light of our many years of experience in terms of lifestyle and facts that do not usually occur in other breeds. If they do occur in other breeds, these problems will be either less or in completly other forms. Especially during the first 15 months of the American Staffordshire puppy.
Rest and good nutrition
In other breeds the normal order of importance is: A. Good nutrition and B. rest.
With the AmStaff the order is reverse.
A. Rest and B. GOOD NUTRITION (we will go into more detail regarding the diet later). In case of insufficient rest during the aforementioned period of time the pup will grow according to the model of a whippet. Long, skinny, narrow, as well the head of the dog. And finally, you are stuck with a “whippet”. Too bad.
If there has not been sufficient rest, it’s still possible to correct that at the age of 4 or 5 months. Please let us judge the pup at the age of about 5 months in person or by photo, and we can tell you if you are on the right track. We mention this because it’s a fact that this breed does not feel when the limit is reached when they are playing. The AmStaff pup continues to keep playing, instead of resting on time. In other breeds, it can be seen clearly when the puppy becomes tired, not with the AmStaff. (This has to do with the pain threshold of our breed). So please compulsory rest on time for the dog and this in a closed bench (no open wired cage) and do not walk the dog for a long time, play etc. If the puppy sleeps in the bench, please let it sleep, do not take it out every time when friends or family visit. The bench no smaller than about 1 meter long and 80 cm high and 70 cm wide. (Extra-large, varikennel deluxe.) Do not take the advice from the salesperson in the pet shop and buy a wired cage, they are useless. Ok, maybe you can use them in a car, but that´s it. A closed bench is more intimate for the dog and, moreover, it causes less litter as well because everything stays in the bench.
Amongst AmStaffs the milk teeth and especially the fangs, usually remain for too long. Inadequate intervention often results in a completely deformed denture. So please make sure you have a good vet that can interfere in time. Teeth changing starts from about 4 months. Many veterinarians often advise to wait a while, often right and often unjustified. A vet without experience with AmStaffs regularly mistakes because he knows nothing about this particular problem with our breed. He then relies on the usual common cases. All this because, in other breeds, this problem is much less common when compared to the American Staffordshire terrier. So please beware!!
At the age of 3 to 6 months the pup’s teeth change, the milk teeth change for the adult teeth. This is not always going according to plan at all!
What we often see is that at the age of about 5 months the mature fang is already coming through, while the milk teeth are still fixed in the jaw. That’s what we call a persistent milk element. It is important to act as soon as possible. Usually, the milk fang will not fall out of the jaw by itself. Often the root of this element is still fully present, the tooth is still very firmly fixed in the jaw. The major disadvantage of this all is that dental plaque and tartar, dirt and hair can accumulate between these teeth, which accordingly can cause gum inflammation. As well, we regularly see that the teeth cannot close properly because the adult canopy is set too much forward. To prevent these problems, we check the denture of the dog again at an age between 5 and 6 months. If there are still milk elements present at this age, we will remove them. This is sometimes not that easy: often there is a very long root attached to the milk element, when removing it, the vet must also be careful not to damage the permanent teeth!!
Get the vet to clean the dogs teeth every 8 months, especially between teeth and gums.
- Simply start by massaging the skin with the fingers on the outside of the cheeks at the back of the moles. This causes the salivary glands to stimulate saliva, thereby you stimulate the self-cleaning ability of the oral cavity.
- If your AmStaff allows this, you do exactly the same on the inside of the mouth, this with your bare fingers or with a gauze. All this can be done with a closed mouth, jaws closed and only on the outside of the teeth. Do not force too much and regularly let your AmStaff swallow.
- If your AmStaffs are used to the above, you can start to really brush the teeth. Again, we only brush the outside of the teeth. You can use a gauze or toothbrush, as well you can buy a special toothpaste with for example meat flavours.
- After tooth brushing, it’s very important to do something nice with your AmStaff. So that your AmStaff associates brushing it’s teeth with something positive that will make teeth care easier in the future!!
Walking stairs and cycling
Do not let your young dog run or walk any stairs. Keep an eye on their shoulders. Shoulders are very sensitive to “straying”, moving outwards. Do not let it pull on the lead, neither let it climb any dunes or mountains. Let it run in the loose sand is no problem. Not next to a bicycle If, after 15 months, you want to train the dog along the bicycle, always let it walk in a straight line, do not let it turn away obliquely because you will mess up the dogs’ movement.
Courses and ringtraining
Puppy course is “mandatory”! This followed by an obedience course, as well “mandatory”. Especially required for good socialization. And if you want to visit dog shows with your dog in a later stage. Please don’t start with giving commands to let the dog sit or lie down during the ring-training course. Please pass this on to the instructors who gives the puppy and / or obedience course. On a dog show, the dog has to STAND. Instead of lying or sitting down. Let the others on the course let their dog sit or lie down, but you need to train the dog to stand. Sitting and lying down might be fun for the students, so they can tell at home very soon that their puppy is already obeying a command. It’s not that difficult and it is good advertising for the association that gives the course. But we want our dog to stand! Understanding stacking a dog is much harder. If the instructor has no understanding of this all, then directly look for another address or just let the teacher or instructor contact us.
The first night
Do not get the puppy out of the bench the first night at it’s new home. Even if he is making noise, barking or squealing. The first night or nights you may place the bench next to your bed. First night at your home you can take it out for the last time around midnight, then first thing in the morning again at 06.00 Am. Put a newspaper in the bench and a newspaper outside the bench for a few days. The first nights a warm jug in the bench can do miracles, or a plastic bottle filled with warm water and a stocking or sock around the bottle.
If the puppy poo´s or pies outside than you need to reward it profusely, if you see that the puppy does it all inside the house, then only and directly “punish” if you have seen it yourself. If you punish it at a later stage, the puppy does not understand why he has been punished. In that case, the pup may behave as being guilty, but in real terms it does not understand why it has been punished at that time. When the puppy starts to sniff or if the puppy wakes up, then place the puppy outside immediately and reward it directly extensively as soon as the puppy has done it’s thing.
On the lead
Pup and/or an adult AmStaff NEVER loose without a leash and collar. Always on the lead! If your AmStaff is bitten by another dog and therefore will bite to defend itself, then it is more than often, the consequence that you have a dog who will not shy away of fighting with other dogs. And this is still very carefully expressed. Make sure your dog will never be attacked!! The dogs character can therefore change from one minute to the other and this in a negative sense!! Try to “disable” the attacking, usually not leashed dog, immediately!!! Your AmStaff should not be a victim from such an attack.
Should your dog run free and you get the feeling that it will end up in an unpleasant situation, call the dog back to you. It is obviously annoying if your dog does not return directly to you when you call the dog. Having said that, if finally, the dog does come back to you, then reward it and not punish it. If you punish the dog, the dog will think twice next time if returning or not. Because then the dog thinks that he will be punished again. The dog should always be happy to return to you when you call your dog back. He should think it’s always fun with the boss.
Get your puppy accustomed from the beginning to as many as new experiences as possible. Let it get used to children, to noise from cars, to other animals, to vacuumcleaner, lawnmower etc. etc. Promote social contact with other dogs!! Let the upbringing be fun, make a game of it.
Recommended literature: a. The book DOG IN HOUSE AND FAMILY by author Godfried Dols and b. The book DE AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER IN NETHERLANDS PART 2 of writer Wil de Veer and from which Old Hickory is the publisher.
Never wait with asking us questions, you can always consult us. Do not let anything be advised by others who don’t have experience with the breed. It’s a breed like no other and therefore again: contact us immediately! Also, do not forget that besides the so-called “fishing slate” there is also “dog slate” a language which is usually spoken by smart asses.