A Stafford in Every Home?
The Stafford is sweet, gentle, loyal, and devoted. He has an easy-maintenance short coat, is small and compact, carries the nickname "the nanny dog," and is meant to live in every home, right?
Stafford puppies the sweetest things to behold. They 're active and comical. As they grow, which is very fast, they become not just bigger but stronger and require more time to keep them out of trouble. They chew longer and stronger than almost any breed I ever met. They are so smart that, left to themselves, they find things to do like pulling the threads out of the carpet, yanking the blinds down and chewing on anything in reach of those shark-sharp teeth.
In time they grow into powerful yet compact dogs. Again a sight to behold.
Many people upon seeing a well-trained Stafford say, "That is exactly what I want, a Stafford". But is it the dog they want or his training?
Countless hours go in to teaching the Stafford all the yes's and no's. Few realize that Stafford is so strong or that he has a truly thinking brain. He needs much work with his socialization and obedience training which requires lots of time.
Many would like to discount the fact that at one time these were fighting dogs, yet with extra socializing (more time spent) they live quite well in a world of many creatures. These are not passive dogs with little spirit but high-energy dogs.
The Stafford is very people-oriented. You have been to work all day and come home with a headache, and there to greet you is 38 pounds of energy, jumping, climbing, and running circles around that headache. This is no breed to say okay to lying down and waiting until later. This is no breed to spend his time alone, playing in the yard. This is no breed to care if you're wearing dress clothes while his muddy feet just jumped up to say "hello" with a big Stafford grin.
This headstrong creature has energy to burn. He wants that "one-on-one" contact with "his people," and he doesn't care what you say, he's going to get a pat -- or bust. The Stafford does not spend all day at home alone and then when his family arrives say, "Oh hi, guys, I just want to lay quietly here alone."
This dog while walking down the street and meeting another dog says, "Hey, I am the boss of this street, you know, do I need to prove it!" And he can and will if challenged.
This dog needs boundaries set early in his life and then made to follow those boundaries throughout his lifetime. This is also the dog that many see as "one of the pitbull breeds." And you fight endlessly trying to prove otherwise, for he really wants to play as the children are running and wrestling -- the same dog your neighbor is sure will eat everything and everyone in sight.
My friends who have Rotties, Poodles, and Irish Setters, to name only a few, do not believe they could live with my Staffords for all the reasons mentioned above. They love my dogs but say, "How can you live with those hyperactive mutts?" Mutts they say! None of theirs could keep up with mine. Sometimes I can't either.
So when considering a Stafford as your companion, remember 12 to 15 years is a long time to devote to a tireless dog. I tell everyone who leaves with that 8-week-old, 10-pound bundle of absolute joy, "Don't let this puppy do anything you don't want your full-grown dog doing."
For the Stafford may grow older and learn the rules, but he is still a kid at heart.
In the right home, with the right situation, a Stafford is pure joy and forever leaves a memory imprinted in your heart. In the wrong home, the opposite memory will be left and only negatives remembered.
These wonderful dogs deserve better.
So let's be sure before they leave that we are placing them in the right home for special kids. Think twice about a Stafford being right for every home.