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Old 02-24-2013, 01:13 AM
Catsi Catsi is offline
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Default Choosing breeds/changing preferences = confusion

Pondering my next dog which will be quite some time away, but I keep coming back to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. What I love about them -

They are such fun loving dogs. Grace is basically my dream dog. She is confident, a complete social butterfly (even with other dogs, but I chose her playmates wisely and I'm not into dog parks), her temperament around humans is faultless and she takes 'strange' situations completely within her stride.

She is so much fun to train with. She isn't always quick and I have to really make it worth her while (which to me is completely normal lol) but she is such a confident and joyful dog that my mistakes don't set us back all that much. And I make plenty! She is not overly sensitive. This can make training hard at times because she doesn't pick up on subtle cues like Abby does, but Abby will also shut down if she feels me getting even slightly frustrated. Usually it's with myself and my inability to make things clearer but it definitely doesn't make things easy when I have to be so careful. On the other hand, Grace can be pig headed. She certainly has a sense of humour and I'm sure she loves to mess with me. I can see the twinkling in her eyes lol!

I dabble in obedience, rally-o and agility with my dogs - neither of them compete - but I'd like to with a future dog. My main focus is obedience/trick training. I love the agility, but it probably wouldn't be my main focus, it would remain just the fun we have in the back yard most likely.

My main concern with getting an SBT as my next dog is that I always said that I wanted to stack the odds against getting an aggressive dog (human or dog aggression) as high as possible. Abby being the way she is - fear aggressive - I just wanted an uncomplicated dog. But I don't want a dog to take to the dog park either. I'm not the kind of dog owner that thinks all dogs should like all other dogs and that's that. I'm careful with my dogs' interactions with others and that even with Grace who has a very stable temperament and is a social butterfly.

The other things I like about Staffordshire Bull Terriers include their activity levels, their affectionate natures, their gorgeous physique and the fact that they seem a relatively healthy breed.

Grace just makes me so happy and she has this calm, confident nature that balances out my slightly anxious tendencies. I figure that I don't compete with any of my dogs now and I don't feel like I'm lacking in my enjoyment of them - we still train and have fun and I'm just learning really. If I was to get an SBT and the dog was dog aggressive to the point where I could not compete, would it really be the end of the world? I've always thought that you get a dog you can live with first and foremost. The rest is just a bonus.

Sure, I'd love to compete in obedience one day and possibly some other sports, but my dogs are companions first.

So - do I strongly consider an SBT despite the propensity to dog aggression because I love the other attributes that the breed is renowned for so much?

Or do I choose a breed with less inclination toward dog aggression?

I feel that my priorities have changed. When I was going through the worst of Abby's behaviourial issues, it was very challenging and I swore off getting a dog with a high odds of aggression. But now that I'm at the stage of managing her behaviour, I'm a lot more accepting and my priorities have seemed to have changed over time.

It's just so confusing lol. Abby is not an SBT, by the way, she is the dog in my avatar. To my knowledge she is a Chi x. I'd love to start a what breed is Abby thread actually, just for fun.

She is a wonderful dog in many ways, but my personality is not the best for her temperament. We make the most of it and we've certainly come a long way in understanding each other. She is probably the single best teacher I've had in all things dog. I adore her, but I'm probably not the best owner for her. Bless her though, she loves me regardless.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:00 AM
ruffiangirl ruffiangirl is offline
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What about researching lines of SBT that are not dog aggressive? My neighbour had one and she was a fantastic dog, lived with at least one other dog at all time, and even when we moved in next door with the Shibas she never once had an issue. He did take her to the dog park, at least weekly, he walked her several miles a day as well. She would try her hardest to come play with the Shibas, who, IMO are worse for dog on dog aggression, and the only time a fight broke out it was my Asshat Male who started it, Ginger was shocked at Tonkas reaction to her playing and tucked tail and ran home. Shibas are not dogs to take to dog parks, lol.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:25 AM
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Dizzy Dizzy is offline
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Honestly, staffies are the number one breed here, and I have met hundreds. My friend has 3 alone. I've rarely met an aggressive staffie! Very rarely. That's not to say it can't happen, but it's certainly not the norm.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:19 AM
Kilter Kilter is offline
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I say do your homework, find the right breeder, take your time, and go for it.

I've seen some nice working amstaffs and any dog you get can get into having issues, regardless of what you do or where you go. You can do everything right and something can happen you have no control over and then what? Get rid of the dog or work through it?

Stack the odds as much as you can of course, find a good breeder that does work their dogs, take lots of classes, and learn. I'm always learning.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:13 AM
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Flyinsbt Flyinsbt is offline
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Well, it probably won't come as much surprise that I suggest you just get a Stafford anyway.

If you don't want your dog to be a dog park dog, you aren't likely to have any issues. Occasionally there is one that is so hot that they aren't reliable around other dogs at all, but the vast majority do fine around other dogs, I just wouldn't trust them playing with a lot of strange dogs. They tend to lose interest in interacting with other dogs as they mature, anyway.

The one thing I'll say, when you describe your training experiences with the dogs you have, is that they are in some ways more like you describe Abby than Gracie. They tend to be really soft and handler sensitive, and will shut down if you get too frustrated. OTOH, they certainly are a confident breed overall, and recover well.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:35 PM
Catsi Catsi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyinsbt View Post
Well, it probably won't come as much surprise that I suggest you just get a Stafford anyway.

If you don't want your dog to be a dog park dog, you aren't likely to have any issues. Occasionally there is one that is so hot that they aren't reliable around other dogs at all, but the vast majority do fine around other dogs, I just wouldn't trust them playing with a lot of strange dogs. They tend to lose interest in interacting with other dogs as they mature, anyway.

The one thing I'll say, when you describe your training experiences with the dogs you have, is that they are in some ways more like you describe Abby than Gracie. They tend to be really soft and handler sensitive, and will shut down if you get too frustrated. OTOH, they certainly are a confident breed overall, and recover well.
I definitely am not interested in dog parks. Sure, I have a preference for a dog that isn't full blown dog aggressive. Grace is as close to a social butterfly as I can imagine in a dog and I still don't have her play with every dog she meets. Her playmates are limited to dogs I know and are suited to her play style. She is gentle with smaller dogs to meet and greet, but her play style is rough and too much for many individuals (large and small). Plus, I'm not comfortable without knowing dogs pretty well so I can at least gauge their interactions. I wouldn't say she is typical of her breed in the way that she is still playful at the age of 12. But she is definitely confident and bold.

That's very interesting about Staffords being soft and handler sensitive. It does make sense though. I think it's the contrast between my two that makes me so aware of the different approaches I have to take. If it were one or the other I'd probably have it sorted by now. Or possibly not. But I do know that every now and again I forget who I'm dealing with and I'm momentarily bewildered as to why we are not quite meshing together in our training. I'm certainly getting better at it though!

Thanks for the replies guys. I'm certainly not writing them off... I feel like my heart is with the staffords. I love my littlies, but I just think the stafford makes my heart sing and is probably well-suited to my lifestyle and personality. I'll just have to stack my odds in my favour by doing heaps of research. Which I'll be doing no matter what breed I get.
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