American Staffordshire Terrier Training


American Staffordshire Terrier Training: Techniques & Tips

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on July 22, 2023.

Need help training your American Staffordshire Terrier? We’ve got you covered! Learn the best techniques to get your pup on the right track with our practical and approachable tips.

Are you a proud American Staffordshire Terrier owner looking for the best way to train your pup? From potty training basics and commands like “sit” and “stay” to more advanced tricks, understanding how dogs learn is your first step in developing an effective strategy for training.

Learning key principles of dog behavior can help set your pup toward becoming a well-behaved, obedient companion.

This blog post provides essential information to help you establish good habits with your American Staffordshire Terrier. We’ll cover everything from creating positive reinforcement techniques that effectively motivate your puppy to dog training and breaking down basic obedience exercises into manageable instruction — boosting your confidence along the way!

American Staffordshire Terrier is a celebrated family dog. It is a much-loved dog because of this breed’s character and personality traits. Loyalty to the owner, friendliness with all the family members, trust, playfulness, agility, and the traits to stand guard are some of its outstanding characteristics.

But these traits do not come independently, for it takes a skillful trainer to tame and civilize this dog. This article will delve deeply into what American Staffordshire Terrier dog training takes.

We will talk about how difficult or easy it is to tame it, what should we expect from a trainer, and we will also see what to do if a Staffordshire Terrier misbehaves while in a family.

So, brace yourself, and let’s start American Staffordshire Terrier training!

American Staffordshire Terrier Training
American Staffordshire Terrier Training

Origin of American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier isn’t naturally American. Like the people of the Thirteen Colonies, the Staffordshire Terrier was brought to the United States. Staffordshire Terrier or AmStaff, generally known by this name, took its birth across the pond in the British Isles many years ago. The Englishmen of that time had a penchant for blood sports.

They loved dogs fighting dogs or dogs fighting bulls. Sometimes a dog was used as an aid in a wild boar hunting expedition. Blood sports used to be the famous spectator sports of those times.

Interested people were so consumed by these blood sports that they used to think of ingenious ways and wild breeds to win such sports. This led people to experiment with the dog species. And one such experiment yielded the much-loved American Staffordshire Terrier of today.

As it was known in Britain, Staffordshire Terrier was a cross between Bulldog and Terrier breeds. The Bulldog of 200 years ago used to be a fierce breed. And the Staffordshire Terrier was also a ferocious creature back then. Another dog of the same breed is American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Blood sports are history now, and so is the use of Staffordshire Terriers for such sports. The Terrier was brought to the United States somewhere in the mid-eighteenth century. The American breed of Staffordshire Terrier is different from its not much distant English cousin.

Americans developed two sister breeds. One is the American Staffordshire Terrier, while the other is the American Pit Bull Terrier. American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the American Staffordshire Terrier but not the American Pit Bull Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terrier Training
American Staffordshire Terrier Training

Dog Training American Staffordshire Terrier Dogs

Training a dog is a difficult thing. It needs special care and attention. It is not just about teaching your dog how to behave. It is much more than that. It also includes how you want your dog to live with you.

Dogs are animals, after all. Each act or each omission is a signal to them. They carefully watch you and read your signals. What you allow your dog to do and disallow are all signals. These are messages to your dog.

Like all the other messages we send daily, the reply will be positive if we send the right signals and deliver the right messages. If the messages and signals are wrong, the dog would behave badly and might act rogue.

How to Train American Staffordshire Terrier Dogs

The first thing is to know your dog better. First, we must talk about the American Staffordshire Terrier itself. It is a muscular and agile dog with average height. Staffordshire Terrier is a pack dog, so it comes with a pack mentality. It is full of energy.

Other than that, it can be a trustable and good family pet if it is trained well. In this section, we will talk about the dos and don’ts of American Staffordshire Terrier training.

● Early Socialization is Necessary

In the case of the American Staffordshire Terrier, dog owners need to know that early socialization is essential. This comes with logic. As explained earlier in great detail about the past and inclinations of the Staffordshire Terrier breed, early socialization would take it out of their natural inclinations.

It is a pack animal. In the pack, animals behave fiercely towards other animals. The gene pool ingrains certain character traits in dogs. If anyone needs to pet a dog, the training must begin at a very tender age when it has not socialized with its own species freely.

The other important thing to note is that the Staffordshire Terrier is bodily muscular and temperamentally aggressive. The aggression must be ended before petting it.

The Staffordshire Terrier feels threatening to children. So, it becomes extremely important that training should start early. The dog should spend time with the children as a puppy. In this way, it would feel comfortable around them.

Lastly, this breed feels insecure about other dogs and has an attacking mentality. It attacks not to defend itself but to disarm and kill the opponent. Early socialization and nearness to other pet dogs can also bring a massive behavioral change.

● Train your Dog Using Positive Reinforcements

Train your dog using positive reinforcements. Using positive reinforcements means that you are using the reward and punishment mechanism for training your dog. The dog is rewarded if it makes its trainer happy by obeying a command. It earns a punishment when it disobeys.

Positive reinforcements make it easy for your dog to understand what it is expected to do. Remember that AmStaff is an intelligent dog, and this technique works best in its case. The reward can be given as something to eat, a cuddle, or verbal praise.

If you are using verbal praise, be sure to appreciate your dog properly. Dogs get happy when they are praised. You must let your dog know that you are happy with its actions.

● Defining a Task for Your Dog

It is extremely important that you define carefully and elaborately the task for your dog. If the dog knows what is expected, it can diligently accomplish the task, earning a reward from the trainer. If the task is defined absurdly, the dog can’t understand and accomplish it.

To carefully and completely convey the message to the dog, certain techniques are used. For example, you can use a particular word to tell your dog what you expect of him. Assign only one word to each task. That way, the dog would know what you command whenever you utter that word.

Never use a different word each time for a task. That way, your dog would get confused. Hand gestures can also be used to help the dog. For example, you can indicate the dog to sit by using the gesture of your hand to command it to sit. You can call the dog by making gestures and calling it to you.

● Tell Your Dog Who is The Leader

It has repeatedly been mentioned that dogs are pack animals. And once you own it as a pet, the dog will consider your family its pack.

In a pack of dogs, only one leader is an alpha dog. In the family, that alpha person should be you. The dog must know that you are the leader of the pack. It is extremely important that you establish your leadership.

Leadership can be established in multiple ways. Firstly, you should keep the dog on a leash. Let it know that you are the one who holds its leash and that you are the leader. Alternatively, you can let other family members hold the dog’s leash so that it must know the hierarchy of its pack.

Food is important for dogs. Dogs note who is giving them food. You should personally take this responsibility. Giving it food is the most critical moment to assert your leadership. While serving, let your dog stand and wait. Don’t let it start eating until you are finished.

● Socialization With Other Pets

Staffordshire Terriers are aggressive towards other pets, especially fellow dogs. If trained early in life, it develops a peaceful attitude towards other dogs. It takes effort to civilize AmStaff towards other dogs. During the training, the Staffordshire Terrier must be taught to keep its aggression in check in the presence of other dogs.

American Staffordshire Terrier Training
American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Training

American Staffordshire Bull Terrier Training

The characteristics and traits of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are almost the same as those of the Staffordshire Terrier. They may look different, but the training techniques to pet it are similar to those used for AmStaff.

Bull Terriers are agile, muscular, and energetic like the Am Staff. Just like AmStaff, they are intelligent, making them highly trainable. The underlying technique used to train Bull Terrier is the use of positive reinforcements.

Since it is intelligent, it responds very well to rewards and punishments. Offer a reward as a cuddle, pat, or something to eat if it obeys your command and punish if it disobeys.

If the dog is an offspring of a pet dog, the training becomes easy. Living among its human pack may be difficult if the dog comes from outside. In that case, establishing leadership becomes necessary. Teach your dog that you are the leader of its new pack. All the time, it needs your invitation or acquiescence.

Adult Bull Terriers occasionally chew stuff around them. You should teach them not to damage things around them. You can also get them a chewable dog toy.

American Staffordshire Terrier Puppy Training

Training a puppy is similar to training an adult dog. Puppies, however, have different needs and require different training. First, you need to train your puppy about using the toilet. You must not allow it to do it inside the house. If you keep the dog inside a crate, let it out regularly after intervals.

The dogs have this tendency to keep the sleeping area clean. Even if it accidentally messes inside the crate, it would develop issues, and all the training would need restarted. The bladder in puppies is weak. Adult dogs can hold their bowels for a long time, while puppies are in the process of developing this ability. Hence, you must take them out of the crate. Working a routine is even better.

Puppies have the habit of chewing things. It is their way of exploring their new world. Be a step ahead and protect those things that can be damaged. Same as humans, dogs shed the first pair of their teeth. The adult pair then replace these. During this time, it is natural for your dog to excessively chew stuff.

Puppy dogs develop separation anxiety. Just as a human child does not want his parents to leave, the same goes for the puppy. The puppy has no parents or siblings. You are his family now. So, don’t let separation anxiety develop in him.

American Staffordshire Terrier Agility

American Staffordshire Terrier is a muscular, agile, and fast dog. It is full of energy and enthusiasm. And because of these outstanding characteristics, it can be a good agility dog. Agility training for a dog requires patience. It takes time and effort. The dog can get to know the obstacles it needs to clear.

Because of the physical strength and intelligence, it is expected of a Staffordshire Terrier to perform well during agility training, but there is a big problem when it comes to its agility training. AmStaff has no respect for the agility equipment. They blast the equipment and give the trainer a very hard time.

American Staffordshire Terrier Training
American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Training

But recently, many American Staffordshire Terriers have been competing in agility. The UK’s East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club annually holds agility competitions for Terrier breed dogs.

Summing Up

In summary, American Staffordshire Terriers are a great dog breed for anyone looking to bring a loyal and obedient four-legged companion into their home. However, training can only be easier if the correct approach is utilized.

By taking the right steps, dog owners can ensure they have the best relationship with their Am Staff pup! Establishing ground rules and providing consistent rules and guidelines are key to ensuring your fur baby behaves appropriately. Obtaining assistance from a professional dog trainer and teaching your pet basic obedience training will be very helpful for those new to dog ownership.

Additionally, keeping dog training sessions entertaining and rewarding their good behavior with dog treats will help keep them engaged and interested in further education.

Finally, don’t forget to have patience when teaching your furry friend – every dog may learn at different speeds, so it’s important to be empathetic to their needs and proactive in problem areas.

American Staffordshire Terrier dog training takes patience, skill, and time. The Am Staff is an intelligent dog making it trainable. Early socialization is necessary so that the dog has a higher tendency to be able to quickly learn the skills required of a family dog.

Define the task to your dog clearly and lucidly. Use positive reinforcements to train your dog. Always assume the leadership position and let your dog understand completely that you are the leader. Suppose your Am Staff has difficulty getting along with other dogs. Early socialization might help your dog.

The puppy training of the puppy is almost the same. It is only that the puppy needs proper training, additional care and consistent dog training. The additional attention concerns toilet needs and its habit of chewing stuff. The trainer must take additional care with these.

American Staffordshire Terrier is an agility dog, and the breed competes in agility worldwide. All in all, American Staffordshire Terriers make great pets – with these tips, you can successfully train your AmStaff pup and revel in the joy of being owned by one!

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, American Staffordshire Terrier Information.


  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page