Conditioning, Activities and Training

Staffordshire Bull Terrier is (or was) a canine athlete. For their size, you won’t find too many dogs who are capable of playing in the same league as a Gamestaff Staffordshire Bull Terrier when it comes to physical ability. Properly bred and kept, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier thrives on mental and physical stimulation. Although we do not claim to be experts in the area, we take great pride in our dog’s abilities. There are many sports and activities available in most areas that make great outlets for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and are great bonding exercises between owner and dog. Below are some pics and info about the conditioning and exercise methods we are using these days for our Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Common sense should be used when using these tools, all though spectacular feats can be done with these tools, these are most often done after time and training. Each of these can cause injury to your dog if used improperly.
Pics to follow.

Spring Pole
The Spring Pole is one of the simplest and most rewarding tools a dog owner can use. This is a one-way tug-of-war. Simply described, it is a bite surface (rope, leather, hide, rubber hose etc) attached to a spring and held or suspended from a fixed station. This exercise is a great outlet of mental energy, not to mention the back, neck and jaw strength required and worked using this tool. Every owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owes it to their dog to have a Spring Pole.

Flirt Pole
I love the Flirt Pole. This tool is the first toy our pups are introduced to after chew toys. Our homemade Flirt Poles are made from a horse Lunging Whip with a light weight bite surface attached to the end. The Flirt Pole is used to keep the bite surface out of reach of the dog while playing and letting the dog chase the lure. The whip allows for quick changes in speed, height and direction of the lure. Of course allowing the dog to catch the lure to keep interest and build confidence. This tool is a basic of ownership for this breed (and most others). It is a very rare Staffordshire Bull Terrier that does not love the Flirt Pole.

Exactly how it sounds, the A-frame is two surfaces (plywood works great) attached at the top to form an “A”. The slope of the “A” can be changed to accomodate different levels of confidence and ability. I like using the A-frame in combination with a Flirt Pole. This tool not only is a great source of excercise, but also a training tool to help build trust between dog and owner.

Sometimes called a Catmill or Spinning Jenny, the mill is a fixed pole in the ground with an arm at 90 degrees coming out to fasten the dog to with a “bait” arm also coming out positioned ahead of the dog. The idea is similar to a hot trotter used for horses with the addition of the “bait”. The dog is able to run in a circle at it’s own speed chasing the “bait”. The bait used can be anything that motivates the dog. We use a ball or tug toy most often. This tool is less common than others as it requires perminant set-up and considerable space when compared to the others.

Dogs can be trained to use an electric treadmill, but other dog-powered treadmills are available and allow for certain advantages. This is a classic tool. Easy exercise in bad weather, easily used in most living spaces and a great outlet for winter cabin fever.

I won’t tell you what is the only or best way to feed your dog. I will tell you what our experience has been and what has worked for us. We feed a variety of foods in different ways. We use commercial kibble as the bread and butter of our dog’s diet. The dogs are fed raw whole rabbits as well as parts. Whole raw chickens are fed as well as parts and partial carcases. Fresh raw fish are fed to the dogs when available. The dogs get on average one fresh raw egg a day (shell included), sometimes more. All types of wild game, beef organ meats, beef butcher scraps, beef fats, raw bones, rice, pastas and mushes are also used and much more from apples to pumpkin. Meats are fed raw and cooked, mostly raw. These are live, functional animals, not lab rats. What and how much the dogs eat depend on the season, activity level, need, accessability and ease of use.
The best advise I’ll give you is to avoid the fads that dominate the pet food industry. Take advise from those with generational, consistent success. Avoid emotional bias about feeding your dog. If it works, it’s great. if it doesn’t, it isn’t. Doesn’t matter who made it, what’s in it or how much it cost.