The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is my Bully breed of choice. If you’ve read more than one of my articles you’ve probably seen me mention my Staffy Ruby. That’s her in the picture above. She’s the sweetest, funniest, little nugget in the world, and also one of the biggest chewers you’ll ever meet. Do Staffies chew a lot you ask? Well…
Do Staffies chew a lot? As a whole Staffies do chew a lot. Staffies love to chew, and this can be both a good behavior as well as a bad behavior. There is a difference between bad chewing behaviors and good ones. With proper training techniques you can ensure your Staffy can chew a lot, for the right reasons, on the right things.
In order to ensure our Staffy chewers are doing it for the right reasons, it’s important to know why your Staffy chews so much. We already know some of the bad chewing behaviors. You may have come to this post because you recently lost a pair of shoes to a Staffy’s chewing.
There are other forms of bad chewing that can be stopped or turned into good chewing habits. I also have a variety of tips and tricks to make sure your Staffy is able to enjoy themselves and not cost you a fortune in new footwear and furniture.
Do Staffies Chew A Lot?
Staffies can be notorious chewers and for some that can be a bit of a problem. Those big square heads and pronounced jaw muscles enjoy a good work out from chewing. When done in the right manner, with the right things, it has great benefits for your Staffy. When they chew in the wrong manner on the wrong things, you have a problem on your hands.
Staffy’s are smart and can be taught the difference between the right things to chew and the wrong things to chew. My Staffy Ruby was terrific at distinguishing between her chew things, and everything else from an early age. That was partly from very early and consistent training, and the fact that she is perfect in my eyes.
But no seriously I had to teach her. A lot. Every day. For months. But she eventually understood and I lost a sock and one t-shirt to her early years of chewing. Which is no big deal in the long run.
Staffy’s can also be very stubborn when they want to be. At times they are also very anxious when some of their needs aren’t being met. This can lead to more destructive chewing of things you don’t want, and behaviors that are not healthy. These can all be dealt with and corrected over time with some training.
What Age Do Staffies Stop Chewing?
Staffies will stop the big part of their chewing after about 6 – 9 months of age. Roughly when they have stopped teething. This however doesn’t mean the chewing will stop altogether. Your Staffy will chew the rest of their lives, and that is a good thing when done for the right reasons.
Puppies however are little chewing machines. This happens primarily for 2 reasons. One, they are discovering the new world around them. And for Staffy puppies, and puppies in general, this is how they learn about everything.
Textures, tastes, and what is edible. Everything goes in the mouth when you are a puppy. This sort of exploratory chewing is to be expected. Expect this will persist for the first year, but especially in the first 8 months.
The second reason is they are teething up until about 6 – 9 months of age. Chewing is one way they relieve that pain. Just like a human child cries and suffers from their teeth coming in, so does a puppy. Chewing is one of the ways they can relieve that discomfort.
It can certainly keep you on your toes trying to keep things out of their mouths. It is also a great opportunity to teach them what is theirs to chew and what is not. I have some tips and tricks coming soon, I promise.
Why Do Staffies Chew?
There are few reasons why Staffy’s chew, and they all fall under either good reasons, and not so good reasons. With one exception and that is chewing their feet or tail.
Some of the reasons that dogs chew are perfectly natural and should be encouraged. Staffies like to chew as a method of exploration and learning about new textures and tastes. This is a totally fine behavior and is great mental stimulation for your dog. Ensuring they are chewing on the right things can make this a very enjoyable activity for them and you.
Another reason why your staffy chews is purely an instinctual thing. Back to the wolves kind of instincts. All dogs chew, and especially enjoy things like bones. This is how wild dogs and wolves grind and get to the marrow of another animal where a lot of nourishing vitamins and nutritious bits of the bone could be found.
Not only is this behavior natural, but is great for keeping muscle strength in your Staffy’s jaws. It also helps keep their teeth nice and clean from plaque and tartar build up. This sort of mental stimulation can keep your Staffy busy for a while. Leaving them in a rather peaceful state afterwards.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, chewing because of teething is perfectly natural and a good method of self care for your Staffy puppy to relieve the pain. Make sure they have the right thing to chew on. They will be all the happier to take care of those little tooth pains.
Bad chewing is when your dog is exhibiting destructive, excessive, or even neurotic levels of chewing. These can not only be unhealthy for your dog but also for your wallet. Especially if you are replacing your new shoes every month. There are a few reasons why your Staffy is showing bad chewing behaviors.
Separation anxiety or stress.
Dogs can use chewing as a coping mechanism when they are feeling stressed or anxious. The chewing is a method of self soothing and calming they use when under these stresses. Separation anxiety is a big one that owners deal with when it comes to bad chewing. If you have ever left your house, only to return home to your throw pillows destroyed, or the corner of the wall chewed through, you are dealing with separation anxiety.
If your Staffy is chewing a lot regardless of if you are home or not, then they could just be extremely bored. Chewing as I mentioned is a way for a dog to entertain themselves and mentally stimulate themselves. If they are constantly chewing then you are not meeting some of their needs for fun activities.
Similarly your dog might be engaging in destructive chewing as a method of getting your attention. This all depends on how you are discipling your dog for chewing things they aren’t supposed to. They don’t always know the difference, but they do know that it will get them some attention if they do.
Scolding or yelling at your dog for chewing something they shouldn’t is generally not effective and counter productive. I’ll give some other suggestions on alternatives below.
Hunger or Stomach problems
Your Staffy might be chewing because they are just hungry. Dogs that are on a lower calories diet can seek nourishment from chewing and destroying things. Oftentimes things that taste or smell of food. Monitor your dog’s calorie intake if they are not getting enough to eat, and should be, this can be a quick fix to the chewing problems.
The chewing may also be a stomach or gastrointestinal issue. Sometimes dogs will eat non food things as a way to try and relieve some of the discomfort or to make themselves vomit. If your dog is actually eating their toys, or things they shouldn’t you consult a vet to have them checked out.
Why Do Staffies Chew Their Feet?
I mentioned at the beginning of this section there was one exception to why your Staffy chews, and that was your Staffy chewing their feet, or tails. When this is happening it can be a good indicator that your Staffy has allergies or has come into contact with something that is irritating their paws and skin.
Gnawing at the base of the tail can be an indication of a parasite such as fleas or mites, and should be looked at by your vet. Excessive chewing or licking of their feet can be atopy, a contact allergy or even a food allergy. Consult with your vet if any or all of these are happening so you can get your pup some relief.
Why Do Staffies Destroy Toys?
Staffies killing or destroying their toys can often happen for some of the mentioned reasons such as boredom, stress, anxiety, or pent up energy, but not always. Many dogs still have that prey drive in them, especially the sporting dogs, or terrier type dogs like Staffies.
See there is a reason why squeaky toys are so appealing to dogs, and I want to preface this by reassuring you that your dog is not a psycho killer, but that squeak noise is supposed to mimic the cries of a dying animal.
I know maybe too much info for this post, and you might have a tough time looking at your sweet little Staffy the same, but instinctively that noise drives dogs into that kill mode to remove that squeaker from the toy. That is one of the reasons they pull apart and destroy those sorts of toys more than others.
How Do I Get My Staffy To Stop Chewing?
In order to address some of the problem behaviors when it comes to chewing you have to ensure you are first meeting all of your Staffy’s needs. No amount of scolding or yelling is going to make a difference.
9 Tips To Stop Destructive Chewing
Giving your Staffy enough exercise can go a long way when it comes to ending some of the undesired chewing behaviors. One of the main reasons they are chewing so much or being destructive is because of boredom or pent up energy.
Your Staffy is an energetic dog and needs plenty of exercise to keep them content. Simply walking them for 30-45 minutes during the day can alleviate a fair amount of that energy and result in better chewing habits.
This goes hand and hand with exercise when it comes to curing some of your Staffy’s boredom and pent up energy. Staffies are an intelligent breed of dog and need activities that will challenge them and engage them mentally. Things like puzzle food toys, kongs, tug-of-war, and searching games based on sniffing out a toy or treat are perfect to keep that brain engaged.
Puppy Proof your house
If your Staffy puppy is getting into things they shouldn’t be, that is on you. Puppies are naturally curious and will explore everything, and I mean everything. Your best bet to avoid any unwanted chewing is to make sure your puppy doesn’t have access. This will save both your shoes, and prevent your puppy from eating something they shouldn’t and getting very sick.
Ice Cubes and Frozen stuff
For the teething puppy they are only seeking relief of those sore gums, and chewing is the only way they know how to comfort themselves. Being proactive and giving them something to gnaw on, while also applying cold relief is a win win. Something as simple as an ice cube is not only minutes of fun for a puppy, but will also help to sooth those little chompers.
One trick I used when my Staffy Ruby was a puppy that would keep her busy for a good 30 minutes was an old frozen hand towel. I would open the towel completely and line a row of treats and ice cubes along the middle fold. Then I would soak it in water, and throw it in the freezer for a few hours.
This not only gave her something nice and cool to chew on, but also provided some extra mental stimulation to get to those treats. The towel would take a good 30 minutes to thaw before the game was over, but by the end she was content and ready to nap.
Redirect with proper chew toys
If your Staffy has discovered something they shouldn’t be chewing on, or is very interested in it at least, you can pull the old switch-a-roo on them. Make one of their approved chew toys more interesting and have them focus on that one instead. This redirection works almost all the time and can help with training your Staffy on what is and isn’t theirs to chew.
Keep their toys interesting
Introducing new chew toys with different smells, textures, and shapes can keep your Staffy from becoming disinterested in the toys they currently have and seeking out new toys that they shouldn’t. Chew toys are relatively inexpensive and can keep a dog entertained for some time, so don’t worry about spending a fortune on these.
Things like a Bark Box subscription box can be an easy and convenient option to introduce all sorts of new toys and chew treats. They have one especially made for big chewers like Staffies called the Super Chewer Bark Box
Try a deterrent spray
Making a simple homemade deterrent spray of something like vinegar and lemon juice, or other non-toxic flavoring can aid in making sure your Staffy isn’t chewing something they shouldn’t.
A simple spray of the deterrent on their desired no-no chew thing can be enough to keep them from being interested once they have a smell or a taste of something bitter and unappetizing.
Making sure your dog is getting enough calories in their diet can be a good preventative measure when it comes to unwanted chewing. If the dog is hungry because of a calories restricted diet, they seek food elsewhere.
Keep your dog healthy – rule out any illness your dog might be suffering if they are not only chewing but also eating non food items. This could be their way of trying to relieve an upset stomach. Also if they are chewing on themselves, make sure they are getting regular flea treatments, and are checked for other parasites regularly.
What Do Staffies Like To Play With?
Staffies are not picky when it comes to chew toys. Just make sure they are tough enough to endure those powerful jaw muscles. I have a great resource page that I have created with all the top chew toys for aggressive chewers. Just like your Staffy. I have used many of these products myself and can’t recommend them enough.
Remember that your Staffy will outgrow the initial crazy puppy chewing phase. They will still remain a chewer the rest of their life. To ensure you and your dog can live in peace it’s important to meet all of their exercise, mental stimulation, and training needs first before the destructive behavior begins to surface.
Give your dogs the activities and entertainment they crave, and you’ll have to worry very little about your new pair of shoes being chewed to bits.