Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted November 10, 2014
I remember when we first got Pookie she was quite a small dog, very skinny, very light weight and full of energy and love. My father and I decided to get a second dog for my mother's birthday; Back then we already had a staffie bull terrier which we had already owned since 1996 (My birth) and so we thought because Tara, our Staffie Bull Terrier, was getting old, we would have her some company and all that. And so we contacted a friend with two dogs who had babies and he made us this offer with this beautiful American staffie with a white stripe on her head. I fell in love instantly, as soon as I saw her. So did my mother.
Training her was so easy back then. We lived in a nice house on the outskirts of town (in Spain) and we have a lovely backyard where our dogs ran free, we had some fences put up so they couldn't escape and they became best mates. Tara was always very protective over me as a baby and as a little girl while Pookie was a little more independant. On a night they would both sleep in my bed, they were lovely dogs to little kids and Pookie was just... A dream! She was puppy trained quite quickly and she was full of energy, it was difficult to get her to calm down sometimes but eventually she became a little more calm inside the house. In summer we would go in the pool we had in our garden while Pookie and Tara followed around the edges of the pool making sure I was alright. How clumsy are staffies? You'll only know when you have them running around the edge tiles of a swimming pool.
Pookie started to become boss over Tara, even though she was a newcomer in to the house. Tara was getting old and it was difficult for her to fight back, and so one night out of the blue, Pookie decided to fight Tara. It was rough and very scary, staffies can be quite aggressive if they put their mind to it. It frightened the life out of me but they were never a trouble to me, I knew they wouldn't hurt me or anybody else. However, Tara eventually got to 13 years old and she got poorly, so we ended up putting her down. And so it was just Pookie left.
Pookie by herself? She was alright. Quite excitable, she loved to play fetch in the garden with me as I was the only one actually playing with her by then. My parents were always working and my mother was the only one who was there to train her while I was there to play with her. She started to become more independant and aggressive to dogs who walked by, cars that drove by and people who tried entering the house.
When she was 4 years old we moved into the village centre in a small flat. It was way too cramped up for a medium sized Staffie, there was no space for her to run, no garden, no fresh air. She got stronger and tougher with other dogs and people, it was impossible for us to take her out. Due to personal circumstances my father started to not bother any more with the dog, eventually he left me and my mother and without a MALE INFLUENCE it was impossible to tame Pookie anymore.
My mother tried taking her out in a morning and on a night but she just wouldn't settle into her harness, into a collar, she would always chew up her muzzle... There was nobody there to teach her, discipline her and hold her tight when taking her out. On the odd occasion my male mates would try to help but there was no way, it was way past the point of re training her.
I loved Pookie with all my heart but after two fights with other dogs which cost us vet bills, we decided it was no longer possible for us to keep her. My mother found a couple who lived on an open farm, with chickens and other dogs. She decided to leave Pookie with them for a week and she got on so well she left her there. She regrets not having told me, as I never got to say good bye but deep down I know it was for the best. Pookie would have ended up being too aggressive and one day who knows, she might have snapped and then consecuences would have been a lot worse.
Staffordshires are lovely dogs, please don't take this review as a bad review. Honestly, my staffie Tara was the best dog my father, my mother and I had ever owned. Pookie just got to the point where there was no disciplinary skills inforced upon her. Staffies need a MALE influence, a MALE voice. Someone who can look down at them and let them know who is boss. Not a skinny little girl like me who can't shout at them!
If you think about getting a staffie, all I can say is take your time to take them on long walks and runs, be sure to tire them out whenever you can. And have some sort of a strong, deep voice within the family. Preferably, just have a man in the house.