I have been a Staffy owner now for 11 years. My love for this breed started in my last years of High School when a friend of mine brought home a Staffy puppy. The personality of the Staffy is second to none. Their tenacity, affection, and energy is infectious, as well as exhausting at times.
Do Staffies ever calm down? On average Staffies begin to calm down around the age of 2 years old. The early puppy and adolescent years are extremely active times for a Staffy. Once they begin to mature this energy does begin to taper off, though every dog will be different.
There is a common joke I’ve heard amongst other Staffy owners regarding their energy. They say the first 10 years of owning a Staffy is the worst, but they calm down afterwards. This is of course a joke, but there is some truth behind it. Staffies are very energetic dogs who will be well into their adult and early senior years.
In this post I will go over my experience with my Staffy and what you can expect with yours in the years to come. It is possible to calm down a highly energetic Staffy. It does however require an action plan, patience, and a lifestyle to match. Let’s dig in!
Are Staffies Always Hyper?
As a general rule Staffies are not always hyper but this can vary from dog to dog. Overall the Staffy is a very active and energetic dog. When Staffies are not having their needs met physically, mentally, and socially they can develop problems with hyperactivity and begin to act a little crazy.
In this next section I will cover the various ways you can proactively prevent hyperactive behavior from developing. When I first brought home my Staffy puppy I couldn’t believe how much energy she had. In the beginning I need to develop a solid plan to give her what she needs to calm down.
How Do I Get My Staffy To Calm Down?
There are several ways to get a Staffy to calm down. First and foremost is the proper amount of exercise both physically as well as mentally. Establishing a good routine of activity with your Staffy will encourage better behavior and proper outlets for them to burn off this high energy.
In the sections below I will go over the tried and true ways to help calm down a Staffy. I have used these approaches with my Staffy for the past 11 years and have had tremendous success in keeping a calm, balanced, and well behaved dog. Most of the time anyways.
Give Them Physical Exercise
The most effective way to calm down a Staffy is through regular physical exercise. Bad behaviors stemming from a hyperactive, restless, or generally high energy dog can almost always be traced back to a lack of physical exercise.
Staffies need at least 60-90 minutes of exercise each and every day. Walking, running, and playing physically demanding games such as fetch need to be a regular part of your Staffy’s day. Especially in the early adolescent days when your Staffy is vibrating with energy and that Staffy zest for life.
Puppies under the age of 1 year will require exercise as well, but in shorter durations. Staffy puppies are still developing in the first year of their life and too much strenuous exercise all at once can be hard on their joints and bone development. Shorter, more frequent walks and play time will be required to keep your puppy relatively calm.
Provide A Job For Mental Stimulation
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known for their intelligence and clever nature. When a Staffy becomes bored, and under stimulated behavior problems can arise. Staffies need mental stimulation as much as they need physical exercise on a daily basis.
Exercising your Staffy’s brain can be as simple as trick training, food puzzles, and sniff and search games. I typically spend a good 30 minutes a day interacting with my Staffy to keep her mentally stimulated, and usually provide one or part of her meals in a food puzzle.
When it comes to burning off energy in a dog, mental stimulation should never be underestimated . Putting your Staffy’s brain to work will keep them happy, engaged, and calm at the end of the day.
Have A Routine
One of the first things a puppy will learn is not sit, or stay, or shake a paw. The first thing puppies learn is routine. Having a routine established with your Staffy is so important when it comes to keeping them calm throughout the day.
My Staffy is remarkable at keeping track of time. She knows exactly when it’s time for her walks, when we are set to play her games or do some training, and when it’s time for a meal. This reliance on routine keeps her calm throughout the day. She knows what to expect and when to expect it.
Staffies that have no routine in place will become restless, or perhaps even anxious. Not knowing when they will be able to exercise, engage in an activity, or interact with the family can create problems in their behavior. Establishing a routine with your Staffy will help to keep them calm in between their expected activities.
Encourage Good Behavior
Training calm behavior is an important part of any Staffy’s upbringing. Learning proper manners and how to behave is a learned behavior through positive encouragement and consistency. Staffies thrive on pleasing their owners and by praising their calm behavior you further reinforce that behavior.
Discouraging bad behaviors works the same way. When your Staffy is behaving in a hyper, or generally rambunctious manner it is vital to not encourage, praise, or even give attention to such behaviors.
When my Staffy was a puppy and early adult we worked very hard on a consistent basis to reward her calm behavior, and ignore her rowdy behavior. By ignore I don’t mean disregard, but avoid giving any attention to the behavior that might further encourage the unwanted outbursts.
A game I worked into my routine with my Staffy was what I called the “shush” game. The purpose of this game was to intentionally get my Staffy excited and then quickly shift her into a calm state through the voice command of “ssshuuuush”.
The way the game worked was generally on the couch or bed. I would engage my Staffy in play so she was jumping, diving, and rolling around. Then I would stop the playful behavior and “ssshuuush” her to a state of inactivity and general relaxed body language. Then repeat.
This was a great game for her, but it became a useful tool for me when the game was not happening, but she became a little crazy. My Staffy now understands that “ssshuuuush” means I want her to settle down, and become calm. When she does calm down she is rewarded , and praised in a calm manner.
Control Your Environment
Staffies can be triggered by things in their environment. Sitting by the window and watching neighbors, other dogs, wildlife, or delivery drivers can set a Staffy off into an excited state. Controlling your environment to prevent these excited behaviors will help you manage and maintain a calm state with your Staffy.
Other examples might include certain noises or activities in the house. One thing that used to get my Staffy excited was the vacuum. She thought this was a fun game to chase, play attack, and get the zoomies throughout the house. Cute at first, but things became too out of control when she began making a mess, knocking over things on tables, etc…
Removing my Staffy from the area of the house where I would vacuum was a solution I used to control my environment. Placing her in a quiet room away from the noise and sight of the vacuum helped her stay in a calm state, and for me to get my chores done.
Oftentimes the reason a Staffy is not calm, is because you are not calm. Staffies feed off the energy of the people in their home and environments. When you are acting in an excited and high energy level, your Staffy will respond in a similar manner.
Control yourself and present yourself as a calm leader. Your Staffy will respond well to this demeanor and their activity level will match yours in many situations. Losing your temper, getting them excited upon greeting them, or any other high energy behavior will only prevent your Staffy from staying or reaching a calm state. Check yourself when your Staffy is not calm.
Consult With Your Vet
There are some cases of health problems creating hyperactive behavior, or the inability of a Staffy to become or remain calm.
“Some underlying medical conditions, like metabolic disease associated with liver dysfunction, hyperthyroidism, and neurological conditions, can manifest as hyperactivity”– Karen Overall 1997 “The Relaxation Protocol”
Sudden changes in your dog’s behavior, or chronic hyperactivity can be an underlying health issue. Consult with your vet to rule out the possibility of any potential health problems.
In the early days of owning a Staffy it may seem like they will never calm down. Understanding the breed is something that should be done prior to owning a Staffy. You need to understand the energy level you will be dealing with. Staffy owners need to have a lifestyle that fits with the active life of a Staffy from puppy to senior.
If you are like me and have done your homework prior to bringing home your puppy, this post is for when the rubber meets the road. These tips provided are something I had to practice, develop, and remain consistent with for the past 11 years.
Granted my 11 year old Staffy is far more calm now than she was at the age of 6 months, 12, months, and 2 years, but she still has gas in the tank most days. Age will play a factor as to when your Staffy will calm down, but calm is a relative term when it comes to Staffies.
You will need to put in the work to maintain a balanced dog that is getting the proper amount of exercise, mental stimulation, consistent routine, training, and encouragement. Taking a look at your own behavior as well will lend itself to a more controlled environment and better behaved dog.
Celebrate the Staffy energy and love for life, but work to harness that energy. Find the activities and routines that work best for your dog and your lifestyle to ensure they can spend a good part of their day in a calm, relaxed, and happy state of mind.
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PIBBLES & BITS TOP PICKS
King Komb DeShedding Tool – One of the best dog brushes on the market. I use the King Komb each and every week with my Pibbles. Easy to use and even easier to clean.
Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo – Smells great, cleans great, and best of all keeps my dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling amazing. Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo keeps my Pibbles skin moisturized like no other.
Earth Rated Dog Wipes – Dog wipes are an essential to keep on hand, and nothing beats Earth Rated. Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and durable. I keep these dog wipes in the house and the car for everyday use.
Kong Extreme – Kongs are one of my most used tools to give my dogs some mental stimulation and something tough to chew. Kong Extremes are as tough as they come and will give your Pibble the entertainment they crave.
Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.
BeneBone Dog Chew – The toughest dog chew around. My dogs absolutely love the bacon flavor and peanut butter flavor BeneBone. These will keep your toughest chewers busy for weeks, if not months and years.
BarkBox Super Chewer – Variety is the spice of life, and BarkBox Super Chewer is the perfect way to keep your dog engaged. New treats, toys, and chews each and every month that your super chewer will love.
iCrate Dog Crate – The iCrate is my absolute top recommendation for dog crates. I use this for both my dogs and love the sturdy, easy to store, and versatile adjustable panel. You need the iCrate in your life.
HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.