Because they are associated with fighting, this dog tends to attract individuals who are looking for a “macho” dog. It is important for reputable breeders to carefully place puppies so as to ensure that they go to the right homes. To do this, they will need to find individuals with experience with large dogs; people with yards that are securely fenced and who understand the responsibilities that come with caring for dogs with such a reputation.
Once the very icon of doghood in America, the tenacity, boldness and great loyal nature of this dog has been exploited by fans of dog fighting. But in the hands of loving owners and with the right amount of training, socialization, love and attention, these make for docile and affectionate family dogs. Whether your pit bull is an adult or a puppy, or from a breeder or rescue group, they will need a lot of love, as well as assurance that will make them become strong, confident leaders. If you allow a pushy kind of dog to walk all over you – they will.
Begin training your puppy from the very first day you bring him home. Even at 8 weeks old, they are able to soak up everything you are able to teach them. Avoid waiting until they are 6 months old to begin their training as you will be forced to contend with a more headstrong dog. If possible, enroll them into puppy kindergarten class by the age of 10-12 weeks old and then socialize them as much as possible. You should beware that many classes for training puppies require certain vaccines such as the kennel cough to be up to date. Many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to dogs and public places until following completion of puppy vaccines such as distemper, rabies and parvovirus. In lieu of formal training, it is possible to begin training your puppy at home, and socializing him among family and friends as you await completion of the puppy vaccines.
Daily exercise is of great importance for this dog, without which it becomes difficult to handle. The dog needs to be taken on long daily walks, jogs or runs. While out on a walk, you should make the dog heel behind or beside the person holding the lead. This will instinctively inform the dog that the leader leads the way and that the human needs to be the leader. The dog should also be taught to enter and exit doors and gateways after the human. While at the parks or on walks, you will need to keep your dog on a leash. It is a powerful dog that can be a challenge to take on walks on a leash if it has not been properly trained.
This dog requires regular training and exercise. Certain dogs that are not socialized may be dog aggressive. It is therefore important to have the dog socialized very thoroughly while still young in order to curb any tendencies towards dog aggressiveness. This breed may be difficult to housebreak. A properly socialized and trained dog makes for a great family companion.
This breed is not ideal for passive owners who have not grasped that dogs have an instinct for a pack order. Dogs need a firm, consistent and confident owner who knows how to display proper leadership. The goal of training this breed is to achieve the status of pack leader. This natural instinct to have an order in their pack transforms the humans that live with the dog into the dog’s pack. There is cooperation of the entire pack under one leader, with these lines remaining clearly defined. The only way for humans to enjoy a successful relationship with a dog is by being higher up in the order than the dog.
While not the best apartment dwellers, this dog will be happy as long as it receives plenty of outdoor exercise. A fenced yard suits them best, along with everyday games of fetch and constructive “tasks”. Bred to be both strong and swift, this dog loves to go for runs, work and play fetch. Strong for its size, this dog is able to pull very heavy objects, bite through wire and rubber, and has a high tolerance for fatigue. If you keep your dog busy and supported with a lot of positive reinforcement, their mood will remain steady and upbeat.
This dog has a medium energy level, is moderately playful, moderately affectionate and requires medium exercise. This dog requires a daily outlet for its energy, which preferably would take on the form of a long walk on a leash or a vigorous game in the backyard. It is generally shy towards other dogs and pets, but easy to train with high watchdog ability. Its ideal companions are experienced dog handlers, single people and active, sporty types. You should consider this dog breed only if you have the strength, time and know-how to socialize and train your pet.
One of the things this dog loves to do best is pulling. You may therefore want to channel this desire into a dog sport such as weight-pulling. These dogs are good performers in dog sports including agility trials, obedience trials, rally, tracking, freestyle (dancing with dogs) and drafting (pulling carts or wagons). Most enjoy retrieving and swimming. A typical terrier, this dog loves to dig and is an aggressive chewer. Be sure to protect your belongings by placing them away; and your yard by providing your dog with its own special digging area.
While there are pit bulls and dogs that resemble pit bulls that have formed friendships with cats in households, and love all the dogs that they encounter, this is not typical of the Am Staff. If you are looking for a dog that will play nicely with the rest of the pets, you should consider a different breed.
Just as dogs from other fighting backgrounds or troubled situations, this dog needs more than a little love; it requires expert evaluation and usually some rehabilitation. Unfortunately, some dogs from fighting backgrounds will need to be put down, only because they have been abused and no longer trust people, or because they are simply doing what they were trained to do. While it is possible to rehabilitate many of these dogs, they would not make an ideal choice for families consisting of young children.
Before you get one of these dogs, it is important for you to realize that there is a lot of misinformation around the natures of pit bulls, along with campaigns for outlawing this breed. Carefully check into local ordinances to confirm that it is legal to own this breed in your town. Also conduct your own research such that you are able to educate your family and friends on the advantages of owning this breed.
Purchasing homeowner’s insurance may prove difficult or even impossible when you own breeds such Am Staffs. It is a huge responsibility to own this breed – one that you cannot easily give away when you decide that this isn’t the right dog for you. Before you purchase this dog, it is important to ensure that you are making the right decision.