How To Train a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: February 1, 2022

If you’re a proud owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier then you know how affectionate this breed is. If you don’t own a Staffie, then what are you waiting for? Apart from being loving, they were born to be natural protectors. Who wouldn’t want a guard dog to patrol the house and keep your kids out of danger when you’re not around?

Aside from being protective, Staffies are also naturally obedient. Known for their intelligence and devotion to their masters, this breed is one of the easiest to train. With the proper approach and effective training methods, they can become one of the best dogs to own. Read on to find out what steps to take to teach your furry companion some good manners and simple commands.

House training strategies

It’s important to begin house training when your Staffordshire Bull Terrier is still an adorable puppy. You may wonder why. This will make it easier for both you and your pet. At this age, they are eager to learn new tricks and want to please their masters. Waiting too long to start training may not yield many benefits. Also, taking time out of your busy schedule every day is the key to success. However, before you get down and dirty, keep in mind the following useful tips.

Be prepared to go above and beyond during training sessions. Most importantly, don’t lose your patience. It may seem easy, but it’s a lot of work especially in the beginning stages.
Allow at least four to six months for your pup to master the drill.
Be sure to wait until the Staffie puppy reaches four months. This is the ideal age to begin house training.

Let’s go over the steps to get your furry companion into the groove.

Step 1: Maintain a consistent meal schedule

Food is what drives dogs (and people) to be better behaved. So why not start there? Offer your Staffie puppy three meals a day. Keeping a consistent meal schedule will help you figure out when it is time for a bathroom break. You can also set up an alarm to remember when it is time for your pup to eat.

Step 2: Take walks in the mornings

As soon as you wake up (and before your morning coffee), be sure to take your furry pet out for a walk every day. Establishing a routine will help your Staffie adjust to your schedule. You won’t have to worry about any accidents during the night or at random times. After the morning walk, it would be a good idea to take your pup out every half hour or hour. These frequent bathroom breaks are necessary. At this age, puppies are not yet capable of controlling their bladders well the same way as adult dogs. The bathroom schedule may vary every day as it will depend on the time of the first potty break.

Step 3: Go to familiar places

It’s always best to stick to a routine. Make it a habit of going to the same place every day. Your dog will eventually recognize the spot is for doing business only. Consistency is important here. Whenever you go out, your brilliant little pooch will do the math and realize that it’s time for potty. Remember to stay with your Staffie during these critical bathroom breaks. This is recommended only during the first few days of training. You want to avoid any distractions as this will only delay the completion of this crucial task.

Step 4: Avoid punishment for accidents

If your bundle of joy has an accident in the house (and this may happen at any time during training), the worst thing you can do is punish your pup. That is a no-no! Failing to recognize the signs is not your dog’s fault but your own. It would be wrong to punish your pet for this common mistake. If you do discipline your Staffie, it will be much harder for your companion to trust you. And if your punishment causes it to be afraid of you, then training will become almost impossible. Yikes!

Be mindful that shouting will not make your puppy aware of what it did wrong. Clapping your hands and staying calm would actually be more effective. This will show your Staffie that it did something bad. Take the cleaned-up mess outside with your dog to show where it is okay to do this. Eventually, your pup will learn. You just need to be patient.

Step 5: Add more bathroom breaks

A minimum of six bathroom breaks is necessary at the beginning of training. It will allow your furball to become familiar with the routine. In turn, this will speed up training. Once your Staffie gets the hang of it, these frequent breaks will no longer be needed.

Tips on following everyday commands

Your Staffie has finally mastered house training (congrats!). The next level to graduate is responding to general commands. Sit down, lie down, and stay to name a few are essential in raising an obedient Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Training your pet to walk at your heel is also a great idea. Below are the steps to help you and your little one work together as a team.

Step 1: Prepare a bag of treats and choose a quiet place

What’s the perfect reward for a dog? Treats, of course! All pets enjoy prizes that are made from food. On top of that, they are great to practice positive reinforcement. This will make it more exciting for your puppy to follow commands. Bring on the goodies!

Fill up a bag of delicious snacks that your pup will love to chow on. Make sure to place it close by so your furry companion can see it. Then, most importantly, find a quiet corner outdoors or indoors. It doesn’t matter where. It just needs to be free from distractions. These could interfere with your training. Skip the noisy parks full of chattering squirrels. You don’t want anything or anyone else getting your dog’s attention.

Step 2: Teach your Staffie to sit

With a treat in your hand, tell your pet to sit. Your puppy will come running to you for the prize. This is a good response, but don’t give in just yet. You should repeat the command a few more times. Raise the bag of goodies over your pup’s head at the same time you repeat the command.

Now notice how your pooch responds to your order. As soon as your Staffie sits down, offer the edible reward with some praise. Continue saying this command a few more times. Each time your pup sits, make sure to offer both praise and a treat.

Step 3: Teach your Staffie to lie down

Reach in the goody bag for another treat and bring it to your dog’s nose. Then, drawing an imaginary line, move the reward from your pup’s nose to the center of its paws. Next, pull both hands towards yourself. This creates the letter “L”. Your puppy should touch the floor with its elbows or back. Praise your furball and offer the prize. Continue repeating this exercise until your Staffies catches on to the command to lie down.

Step 4: Teach your Staffie to stay

Once your pet has mastered the commands to sit or lie down, you can move on to the next exercise. To teach your furry companion to stay, simply ask your Staffie to sit or lie down next to you. With the palm of your hand open and facing your pup, order your puppy to stay. Then, with your hand still open, walk in front of your pooch. Go back to stand next to your dog again. Remember to offer praise and a treat every time your furball completes the task.

Step 5: Teach your Staffie to walk at your heel

For this training, you need to invest in a front-attachment harness. Take your pet’s leash and clip it in the front ring of the harness. Next, focus on loose-leash walking outside. Let your pup walk and see what it does. When you feel that your dog is pulling the leash, don’t walk any further. When your pup turns around and looks at you, make sure to call it to return to you. Once your Staffie comes back, offer praise and a treat. Continue walking this way until your furry companion understands how to walk close to your side.

You can do this!

If training becomes too overwhelming, you can always request help from a professional dog trainer. Though, you may actually not need it. Contrary to stereotypes surrounding these beloved animals, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are amazing creatures. They are filled with nothing but love and care for their human families. Because they are obedient, calm, and playful, they pair well with children of all ages. Above all, they make excellent protection dogs. You just need to bring out their best qualities and you have the perfect dog!