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Rehoming a rescue staffi cross?

(30 Posts)
whatismyusername Mon 03-Nov-14 12:22:28

We have today been to see a lovely staffie cross at a local rescue centre. Have had my eye on him for ages. He is about 3 years old and they don't know much about his as the dog warden had to force entry to get him from a house as he was constantly being left alone. Have had dogs before, but never a staffie.
I have a 12 year old DS and he came to see him and they got on well.

Just a little bit nervous as don't know the breed well and know they are given a bad name by some idiots who had them. But he could of been owned by one of these idiots we don't know

Just a little scared and wondered if any stories to share on rescue staffies?

Totesnamechanged Mon 03-Nov-14 12:33:25

I had a staffie, or rather exp did and he moved in wth us.

He was lovely, bonkers, soft as muck and would inhale his food.

He was such a lovely character and got on well with other dogs, even strange ones, really well.
I miss him sad

Totesnamechanged Mon 03-Nov-14 12:34:31

Sorry, he wasn't a rescue staffie but had been living with a relative of exp who didn't walk socialise him at all.

So he kind of was rescued in a sense

sparechange Mon 03-Nov-14 13:01:51

I've had two rescue staffies (not at the same time) and would definitely get another one.

It is hard to generalise too much, espeically as yours is also a cross, but they were both the most loving and laid back dogs I've had (and I've currently got the world's most chilled out labrador!)

I know a couple with a staffie cross, and the typical staffie traits of being very people-focussed and loyal come through very strongly, as does her ambivalence towards other dogs.
Staffies aren't generally dogs who love the company of other dogs. If you take them to the park, they aren't usually the ones that run up to other dogs wanting to play, but aren't dog aggressive.

Both mine were laid back to the point of lazy, and wouldn't go out for a walk if it was raining, but at the same time, needed to burn a bit of energy off!

The only downside of having staffies is the looks other people give you, and constantly hearing 'well I wouldn't have one around MY children'. You do soon learn the staffie sales pitch, and I all my friends were converted after meeting them.

They are pretty easy to train, because they love pleasing their owners, and mine were always very laid back in the house, with their default position being 'asleep on the sofa cuddling someone'. They can be quite needy dogs, so you need to manage separation to prevent anxiety.

There is also something very rewarding about rescuing them, knowing that all the centres are full to the rafters with them. Good luck with whatever you decide

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 03-Nov-14 13:46:54

I'm sitting here with my 9 week old staffy (possibly cross but at the mo she looks pure staff!) snoring next to me... Got her from Dogs Trust at the weekend. We had to rescue a pup as we already have cats, but if I was catless I wouldn't have hesitated to rescue an adult staff...

She is my third staffy and umptieth bull terrier. They are amazing dogs - most people who have one will never go back to another breed, as they are so full of character and fun.

I'd go through the home checks, form filling in etc and then reserve him if you still feel the same way after another visit or two.

They're intelligent (there have been staffy obedience champions and some do well doing agility/flyball training) and hopefully won't be the chav dog of choice for much longer. (They seem to be moving onto huskies/malamutes) as however 'tough' they look they are usually daft as brushes.

Looking for our rescue staff we went to a couple of rescues and I looked at many more online. And chatting to people in rescue, it seems they could fill most rescues twice over with staffies alone. Idiots get them as status dogs then discover they are not what they'd expected. Plus they're overbred by backstreet breeders. Instead of Dangerous Dog legislation we should have a government willing to clamp down on dog breeders, especially people out to sell pups on Gumtree, etc. I knew when my old bull terrier died I'd probably get a staffy, and wanted a rescue for obvious reasons. Dogs Trust put us on their waiting list for pups and I guessed that most litters they get are staffs or staffy crosses. Don't think I was far wrong... As her's was the second litter in a couple of months, and both were staffy crosses (the first were crossed with a Shar Pei which I didn't want to risk...)

Can the rescue's vet/staff take an educated guess what this lad is crossed with? That may be a factor. If he's adult, it is easier to tell. Is he larger than the old fashioned kind of squat staff? Smaller? For me say staff crossed with an American Bull Dog would be a dealbreaker. Most other crosses... fine. If he has been personality tested by the rescue and they feel he is OK, that's good - maybe there is someone there who can give you more detailed info on him?

whatismyusername Mon 03-Nov-14 14:30:55

thanks for your replies

They did say they think that he is crossed with some type of bull dog but I can't remember what with all the excitement of meeting him!! I will check when I go back tomorrow

had a good chat with the rescue centre (they are a small local one) and not a charity

he really was so well behaved. excellent recall and droppped the beloved ball when i requested (well on third request but he is ball mad)..... Happily, he is now reserved and will be coming to this home soon on trial smile

whatismyusername Mon 03-Nov-14 14:39:09

Ok, they said possibly tad of English bull in him.

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 03-Nov-14 15:49:08

Aw - I went to see a staffy/english bulldog cross who was a fantastic dog - friendly, clever, beautiful. But the same day we had the call from another rescue that some staffy pups had finally come in so we went to see both before deciding to go for puppy. (The only reason being our cats and our neighbour's elderly dog makes having a pup less worrying).

whatismyusername Mon 03-Nov-14 20:39:58

He's coming here on trial tomorrow as it fits in with my work as I will be at home for a week. I'm suddenly really nervous!!!

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 03-Nov-14 21:49:32

Good luck! And easier said than done but - enjoy! The fact you're a bit nervous is good as it shows what a great dog-owner you will be! I think one of the best things about getting a rescue dog is all the support and advice you can access, that people who buy from a breeder never truly can. Help is at the end of the phone and from experienced folk like behaviourists, who aren't just there to sell you a dog and convince you they're the best but actually have the dog's interests at heart. Your's too. They wouldn't let you have a trial run if they didn't think you're potentially a good match.

whatismyusername Mon 03-Nov-14 22:30:33

Thanks. Was having a little panic earlier! Read one of the earlier staffi rescue posts on here which put me back on track. Thank goodness for Amazon prime one day delivery have some nice toys arriving for him, a clean bed has been loaned (we will buy new if we keep him) and stair gates, water bowls, poo bags and plenty of balls all ready to go! Fingers crossed

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 04-Nov-14 21:41:07

whatis I just came back to see if you've updated how you're getting on - and realised I misread your "English bull" as "English bulldog".... If you mean EBT... I've had them since I was a child (interspersed with staffies). Just ask away if you have any questions. As they are... er... characters. Brilliant, brilliant dogs.

But I just wanted to say, check out this book which is about training breeds like EBTs, SBTs and hounds:

triballeader Wed 05-Nov-14 09:10:14

I have a Staffy/English Bull terrier cross. She is a rescued dog who was very badly treated.

Her temprament is super, from experience staffy and english bullys live in the hope of the next someone being nice to them with a willingness to pay back any love and kindness shown to them in spadefuls. A good rescue will never knowingly rehome a dog who is nasty.

Mine thanks to her breed mix is a bit too playful for me to think homing with a toddler would be wise, not because she is nasty but because her tail never stops wagging and its like being hit by a stick. She loves other dogs, other people and lets the local small kids pet her if they get to her before I tell them to say hallo and stroke her rather than pat her hard. She has taken well to the Kennel Clubs good citizenship scheme. She does need about two hours of good walking per day and lives for playing fetch with a kong airball.
My 18 & 16 year old roll round on the floor with her and I have yet to work out who is the daftest amongst them.
I do recommend the staffy forums if you have any breed specific questions.

I did spend a lot of time going backwards and forwards with my teens to the dogs home to get to know her and be as sure as we could be we would all rub along well together. She was at the time one of their long stay dogs. The dogs home was her home where people had nursed her back to health, played with her, fed her and given her a safe place to sleep. She knew all the staff as family. Whilst it was a bit tricky to make the time to do that it was well worth it as she settled in our home very quickly because she had already started to know us before we took her home.

I also asked the staff who knew her lots and lots of questions about her before we finally bought her home. Currently she is on my arm chair legs akimbo snoring her head off after spending her morning 'see the kids out the door and off to school' before another snooze.

whatismyusername Wed 05-Nov-14 12:59:45

Hi Joff - yes its EBT, but they said that is only their guess! I am going to get that book, only a fiver for kindle too!

Tribal - good to hear such a great success story smile

Well its been nearly 24 hours he has been here now. He was understandably anxious coming out of kennels, and in the car. Took him for a walk which was pretty horrendous to be honest as he pulled and pulled and pulled - I was a wimp and didn't want to tell him off as he was clearly still anxious. Got back in the house and after a sniff around showed him his bed - oh the joy! He LOVED it! Rolled round and squirmed about on it - then scratched his belly across the carpet with sheer joy! He is an absolute star in the house. WAits to be invited to go through stair gate out of kitchen, goes out for a wee when asked, no house accidents and he was perfect over night. He is so loving and friendly and waggy but also just chilled and enjoying being in the house with us - we just love him!!

This mornings walk was somewhat better pulling wise (he has a harness and a half choke which the rescue place gave me). I tried to keep him away from dogs as he was clearly keen to get to them. However, a large dog approached us (despite me warning owner he was a rescue and I didn't know what he would be like iwth other dogs)... and oh my goodness he just lunged and went for this dog. Scared the shit out of me. The woman got hold of her dog and got him away. I am speaking to someone from rescue place about it tomorrow (they on leave today) as I need help with it now as I would not be able to cope with that everyday. Plus I know if I get scared he will feel it and be worse. He is such an amazing boy just want to keep him!

triballeader Wed 05-Nov-14 16:49:21

Some staffy/bullys get on well with other dogs, some will tolerate them by sight and if they are polite dogs whilst some just hate being near other dogs. Most EBT dislike other dogs in their space mine has the staffy love of fun so is an exception as she seems to think every dog she meets wants to play silly dog games.

If you can do not walk him again tomorrow- he will still be buzzing with adrenalin and be liable to lunge at any other dog he meets again. Most love a good game of chase the ball/fetch and you can wear even a bully out playing games where they are allowedto vent that terrier need to chase. You will need some hefty rubber balls- boomers have a reputation of withstanding the hardest of bull terriers. Make his little brain work learning new things and obeidence and he will be as tired as a long walk.This URL has more indepth suggestions you can try

Choke chains are not so good. Bull terriers tend to have thin hair round their necks and they can quickly abrade and their skin becomes very sore. A decent padded collar such as an Ezydog or Three Peaks one will help. Buy a hefty padded training lead [ for your poor hands] so you can walk using both a padded harness and a collar for better control until the dog starts to trust you to keep him safe outside.

After 24-48 hours when he is chilled aim for a short [10min] walk and stop whilst its all still fun. Distract him with a drinks bottle with pebbles rattled, clicker or simply be more fun, brighter,louder and far intresting than anything else then and go home. Yes I am that owner who can be found waving my arms about like a windmill whilst brightly and repeatedly calling 'come' in the middle of a field whilst numpty tries to climb trees after that bull terrier nemesis - squirrals. It takes time but its worth it as your dog works out you might do something even more fun, far less scary than whatever has caught their attention or un-nerved them.

You did warn he is a rescue and you do not know him well enough to know how he will react. Keep him on a lead whilst you continue to build a bond and be aware he may need a bit more space than you think around other dogs until he is more used to walking with you. Most get there in the end with only some needing to be walked clear wearing 'Yellow dog' be-awares.

The Dogs Trust advice on learning to walk on a lead using the treat lure and follow steps works well with stubborn EBT tendancies.

Mitzi50 Wed 05-Nov-14 18:11:40

I have had a rescue staffie cross since July. So far she is nearly perfect - very affectionate and intelligent. Great pals with my nervous greyhound and friendly and sociable with every dog or person she meets. I've been taking her to agility (to try and wear her out) and she a bit of a star (proud mum boast grin) - quick to learn and really fast. Her only "faults" are she has boundless energy and gets anxious if I am out for too long - resulting in a chewed skirting board on one occasion.

I would take advice from the rescue staff - I told them about our lifestyle and what we wanted from a dog and asked them to pick a suitable dog as I didn't care about looks or age.

Nanadookdookdook Wed 05-Nov-14 18:20:39

Friends have a rescue staffy cross - he likes some dogs but would kill others imo, can't be let off lead, would kill cats or sheep given the chance.
Lovely otherwise but I couldn't cope with the worry of owning a dog like that.

SpicyBear Wed 05-Nov-14 19:21:18

Has he been tested with other dogs by the rescue? Dog aggression isn't a breed thing, it's an individual dog thing and therefore should come up in a proper assessment of that dog. What did they say about how he gets on with other dogs on and off lead?

I have to say walking him on a half choke if he pulls is not a good idea. The pressure on his throat is likely to wind him up more and make him uncomfortable. A better option would be a harness and double ended lead attached to the back and front clip.

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 05-Nov-14 19:36:09

Work your way through the Flying Pigs book and you'll get to a point you can walk him with a slack lead. ;o) Clicker training worked well with our last staffy.

My late, lamented mini bull was trained before I got her, and walked perfectly. Dogs Trust gave us a lovely DVD about training which has a section on walking with a loose lead, too. Not sure but these may be online?

Sounds like the bull breed magic is working on you, whatis. I'm made up for you!

whatismyusername Wed 05-Nov-14 21:57:49

I did phone the rescue centre to ask what he was like with other dogs (I realise now I should have asked it before, but I suppose never having had a dog that had problems with other dogs it never crossed my mind) - they said no, they don't socialise them there. I find that a bit strange

They also told me that he could be left for up to 4 hours, which I need because of work. Have left him twice for 5 and 10 mins and just listened in and the poor lad just paces and scratches the door. Tomorrow going to do half hour and build up but Monday is supposed to be first 4 hour. I think my house may be wrecked.

I suppose it is my own fault of ignorance of this breed but I really wasn't expecting his aggresssion outdoors. He does look like he is poised to kill sad I would have thought the rescue centre would have asked me if I had staffis before - or something along those lines. I am rather a small person - just think they must know what he is like out and would realise I might well have problems!!

Bloody fireworks tonight. He doesn't like them at all but it means he gets to go on the sofa smile where he is currently snoring away

As much as I love this little chap I can't help feeling I am not the right owner for him sad

SpicyBear Wed 05-Nov-14 22:09:12

OP I'm sorry to hear that - it doesn't sound like they have very good assessment procedures. You shouldn't have had to ask specifically (although it is important to find out) as they should have been able to tell you about reactivity around other dogs prior to rehoming. Is it a rescue or rather a pound that rehomes dogs? There is a big difference and it makes me cross when poor rehoming leads to someone having a bad experience of rescue and/or a particular breed.

I said in my previous post that it's not a breed thing because I was worried that this is what would happen - you have now come away with the view that this aggression is a staffie thing when it isn't. Some staffies are not good around other dogs. But that goes for a proportion of all types of dogs. They are first and foremost individuals. I have a staffie x here that is excellent with other dogs.

Without seeing the behaviour it's hard to tell, but for many dogs it is just a display to make other dogs go away as they are frightened. Some though may for one reason or another be motivated to actually go for other dogs.

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 05-Nov-14 23:12:29

That does sound odd because they should have done reams of assessment on him - especially if he's been there longterm? Not only testing him out with other dogs, but seeing what motivates him because those are the things you need to know, to be able to train him effectively if he does have issues on the lead.

Have they a behaviourist/trainer you can speak to, for some general advice and support? You seem to be looking at two different issues here - separation anxiety and aggression with other dogs. Bull terriers generally - staffs and EBTs - are not pre-programmed to be dog aggressive - but many that end up in rescue have had rubbish, status-dog owners. And it is that person's damage you're undoing, sadly.

It could be that the person you got on the phone was useless and there will be someone there who could give you clearer info if you ring again tomorrow? It's not your ignorance of the breed to blame, though. Any dog could have those issues and whatever happens, you have come to this with the best motives.

As SpicyBear says, there is a difference between a pound and a rescue - a rescue would have aftercare, and support you for the life of the dog with any questions you may have or help you may need. They would also match you to the dog. Some of the best ones sit you down and find out about your life and then direct you to the right dog for you. If that didn't happen, maybe they are not great at what they do?

Have you got a baby gate? That's a good way to confine dog to a room that you feel is your most dog-proof. A crate covered with a blanket is a good 'den' where he can feel safe. You can spend a few minutes the other side of the baby gate with the door open so he can see where you're at, leaving him with his favourite treat - and build it from there.

FlatCapAndAWhippet Thu 06-Nov-14 07:04:42

Could you borrow a crate from the rescue centre? I've not read all the thread so apologies if you've already discussed this. A lot of dogs like the security of a crate, their own space and it would save any wreckage of your home.
As for his aggressive behaviour towards the other dog, he perhaps needs gentle introduction and assessment with other dogs, my staffi cross is a gentle and kind boy generally but can show aggressive behaviour towards certain bigger dogs, others he's happy to play with. But if he's just out of rescue the world is an intimidating place, especially as literally everything for him with you is new. He'll be very cautious. Do hope it works out for you all.

whatismyusername Thu 06-Nov-14 07:07:43

Firstly, just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has posted on and particularly Joff and Spicy

The little man is in wonderful spirits this morning, no doubt pleased those fireworks are gone! He is currently tucking into one of those rawhide chew things. I gave it to him on his first day and he was very pleased with it but just carried it around. Today he's loving it!

The place I got him from is a boarding kennels and a rescue. They are not a charity. I filled out a form and no questions asked. They did not do a home check but they said this was unusual and was only really because I am off work this week and therefore was the ideal time for me to take him and settle him. They might call in on the weekend though.

The manager is back in today and she seemed pretty good. I am going to ask her what testing etc they have done with him and also ask about if he was tested for being left alone, as when I first enquired it was my first question about him as unfortunately going to work is essential!!

They have got someone re behaviour and I have also contacted a charity down here that prepares dogs with issues so they can be rehomed. I have asked if they will help as if I can' manage him out he will end up going back. Fingers crossed!

BTW I think you are right re status dog, just piecing bits together it seems to fit. I mean the way some of those idiots walk along with their dogs straining at the leash to look 'hard' - thats the way we walk along sad

I will update after spoken to rescue and this mornings walk smile I have a long leash and a boomer ball arriving today so those should help

whatismyusername Thu 06-Nov-14 07:23:15

Just added couple of pics of him to my profile - hope they've worked! :D

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